EASTER DAY 2020 SERVICE

How to use this order of service:
This service makes use of pre-recorded materials enabling you to make use of it at whatever time of day, and at whatever pace, suits you. Don’t immediately print it off, rather keep it on your screen so that you may access the hymns at the click of a mouse. When you click on any of the links you’ll be taken to the appropriate video on Youtube; once you are there simply press play. You are then free to listen or join in as you see fit. After each video ends simply switch back to the order of service and pick up where you left off.

Call to worship
Surprising events.
He is not here!
The stone has been rolled.
He is not here!
The tomb, it lies empty.
He is not here!
The women have told us.
He is not here!
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!

HYMN 413 Jesus Christ is risen today, alleluia!

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:

God of grace,
we come before you in difficult times
when we should be rejoicing.
We turn to you, seeking your help, that we may praise you.
Help us turn from Good Friday images of Christ on the Crossto those of the empty tomb, and resurrection.
Show us how to turn from the troubles of this world
to fix our hearts and minds upon you.
Let us see Christ, seated at your right hand
That we may rejoice this Easter Day.
God of truth,
Remind us of Scripture, and the truth it contains.
Help us to see you in their promises.
Help us join with them in praising you.
In them may we find our future,
born in your love for us,
and made complete in the victory of Jesus over the grave.
Merciful God,
You see us not as we were or are, but as we may be.
When we stray, guide us on your paths.
When we forget, remind us of your love.
When we turn away, call us back by your love.
God of love, assure us of your care,
assure us of your presence.
Listening God,
today take our words and our song,
take our thoughts and our actions,
take our fears and our hopes,
and remake them in your love
that in your love we may be renewed.
This prayer we bring, in the name of the risen Jesus.
Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Scriptures

Acts 10: 34-43

Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to
appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins
through his name.’

John 20: 1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and
believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

HYMN 417 Now the green blade riseth

A reflection for Easter Day 2020.

Numbers, numbers, everywhere, but where may hope be found?
This may be the strangest Easter service with which we have ever been involved. It’s strange because circumstances mean that we are not worshipping together but scattered in time and place. It’s Easter, a time of celebration and joy, a time of relaxation and holiday; well, usually it is. This year Easter is a time of anxiety, a time of fear, a time of confusion. In some ways that is also true of the first Easter! Despite the teaching of Jesus, the disciples had not understood what was going on. It was now three days since their beloved leader had been brutally killed. Now, the women of the group had reported that the tomb was empty. Understandably the disciples were anxious, fearful, and confused.

Today our lives are dominated by numbers. We are forever recorded and measured. Numbers show our age, our potential lifespan, our health. Numbers show our productivity, our perceived usefulness, and our value. This Easter numbers show us the estimated figures of those infected, seriously ill, or who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Today, it seems, numbers serve only to bring us down. But could numbers lift us up?
In our reading from Acts chapter 10, Peter stated clearly that Jesus rose from death on the third day. That number would have resonated with his original hearers. It was on the third day of his journey that Abraham prepared to sacrifice his Isaac, his son. It was on the third day that Moses began to ascend mount Sinai to meet face to face with God and receive the
commandments. To the original hearers of the story of Jesus the number three would have meant promises of new life, life from death, and encounter with God. Is this what theGospel was trying to share – a message of new life, and meeting with the ultimate reality that is God?

When we read from John’s Gospel, and the 20 th chapter, we learn that Mary journeyed to the tomb of Jesus, doing so early on the first day of the week. This is no incidental reference to what we now call Sunday, rather this was a deliberate pointer to another truth. It was a pointer to light. Again, returning to the original hearers, reference to the first day would
have drawn their imaginations to the story of creation. It was on the first day of creation that, as the book of Genesis says, “darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘let there be light; and there was light’.” The first day – light out of darkness – hope – potential – life.

Numbers in Biblical texts are often significant. The numbers before us today in our Easter readings offer us something to enable us to look up and forward. They offer us promise and gift. The disciples, anxious, fearful, and confused, were able to build on these meanings and be transformed. In faith, trust, they grew to become people who were able to reach out across their world with a transformative message of hope. The events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus caused them to re-evaluate their understanding of life; the events led to them finding new meaning; the events led them to have new values. Could the events of now cause us to do the same? Could we draw on the challenges of the current crisis and re-
evaluate our own lives and practices?

The disciples, and after them the early church, reached out with the offer of new life, light, and encounter with God. Today, are these not things that we, too, also need?

Amen.

Prayers for the World


Let us pray.

Holy God,
in your love we know ourselves to be truly blessed.
The beauty of creation calls out to us:
through the complexity of life;in the rhythms and patterns of nature
we see your hand at work;
in the brilliance of colour,
in the songs and calls of living creatures,
and the beauty and fragility of flowers,
we see signs of your wonder
and give you thanks.
We pray for your church throughout the world:
may the body of the risen Christ reflect his humility;
may it be a place of compassion and hope.
God of mercy,
we bring to You
the suffering of the world.
We think of those broken by life events:
by hardships, illness, selfishness or abuse.
Especially we pray for those who are anxious or grieving
at this difficult time.
We pray for all who work in caring professions:
for those who seek to heal
the sicknesses of body, mind or spirit.
In this time of crisis we particularly call to mind
all who work in the NHS.
We remember, too, the other emergency services,
and all who work to care in homes and houses
across our land.
Bless our country,our Queen, and her ministers,
political leaders at Westminster and Holyrood;
guide all who shape our common life.
Guide especially, those whose role is to guide us
through this current crisis.
God of Eternity,
surrounded by that great cloud of witnesses,
we give thanks for our loved ones departed,
mindful that Your Church is one,
for this life and always.
These prayers we offer in Jesus’ Name.
Amen.

HYMN 419 Thine be the glory

Sending Out

Mary told Peter,
Jesus is alive!
Peter told the disciples
Jesus is alive!
The disciples told their families
Jesus is alive!
We can tell our families,
we can tell our neighbours
Jesus is alive!
It’s Easter morning,
Jesus is with us.
Jesus is alive!

Copyright Information
Spill the Beans’ for Call to Worship, and Sending Out
Rev’d. Scott McKenna – provided the basis for the prayers of intercession
Scripture readings courtesy of:
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.