Virtual Services

Easter Sunday – April 4th 2021

Welcome

Alleluia, Christ is Risen

He is risen indeed, Alleluia

Good Morning Everyone and a very warm welcome to you all, Easter Sunday Morning,  

It is a bit of a surprise as we find ourselves once again unable to meet together on Sunday  morning but I am thankful for all of you who have gathered to join us on Zoom over the week or who are joining us via the website.

During our Holy week services we have been following the Easter Story using the Play Mobile characters. If you would like to watch this in its entirety you can see it below (We will be using the part relating to Easter day later in this service)…

We begin our service this morning with the lighting of the Easter Candle, a visual reminder that Jesus is the light of the world that he is with us. If you are watching this via the website then I encourage to find a candle and light it as you pray and share in this service.

As the Easter Light is lit,

Eternal God,
who made this most holy day
to shine with the brightness of your one true light,
set us aflame with the fire of your love,
and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen
He is risen indeed, Alleluia

Worship

Go Get: Can you find the following items
• A Rock
• A white cloth
• Perfume
• Running Shoes

Where do these items fit into our story this morning?

I wonder who we can tell the wonderful news that Jesus is alive

An Easter Affirmation -This is the Good News

This is the Good News –
The grave is empty,
Christ is risen.

Hallelujah

This is the Good News –
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never put it out.

Hallelujah!

This is the Good News –
Once we were no people,
now we are God’s people.

Hallelujah!

Christ is our peace,
the indestructible peace
we now share with each other.

© 2004 Ruth Burgiss and C Polhill, Eggs and Ashes: Practical & Liturgical Resources for Lent and Holy Week. Wild Goose Publications

Word

Jesus has risen

16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”’

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

 

Mark 16
1-8

We have just read how some women went as soon as they could to buy the things they needed to complete the tasks associated with the burial of the dead.

Over the last four years it has been my painfully sad privilege to read the eulogy at the funeral of several family members and friends. Regardless of their faith I have ended each talk by turning to face the coffin , naming the individual and saying these words “until we meet again may God bless you and keep you. “Why have I done this? Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives me assurance that no matter what we are destined to face in this short earthly life there is a better eternal life to follow in the presence of our Lord. Today resurrection Sunday we celebrate the fact that Christ rose from the dead on the third day exactly as he had told his followers he would. This awe-inspiring event is the foundation of our Christian faith.

Without the resurrection Jesus of Nazareth is just another dead historical philosopher whose teaching has had a long lasting influence on the world.  If Christ has not been raised from the dead then my faith is in vain, his crucifixion has not brought the forgiveness of my transgressions, I am separated from God. The dead are dead, this is all there is, there is no eternal life and the notion of trying to live a life of devotion to God and service to others in the present is absurd. I am wasting my time I may as well   live a hedonistic life eating, drinking and being merry for tomorrow we die

But Christ did rise from the dead on the first working day of the week. Something unimaginable happened that was witnessed by followers of Jesus. Something which inspired and enabled them even in the face of persecution to travel around Judea and then on into the wider known world to publicly proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In the book of Acts we read how Peter stood up in Jerusalem and shouted to the crowd “God raised Jesus from the dead and we are all witnesses to this”. Again in the Temple “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact”. In front of the council of all rulers and elders and teachers of religious law Who were intent on having Peter and John killed because they were   teaching that through Jesus there is resurrection of the dead Peter responds to questioning with “the man was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.” Wherever they went it was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that they proclaimed. Men and women who had followed Jesus for a number of years witnessing signs and wonders, hearing him teach but not fully grasping the truth of his identity or the vital importance of what he was teaching until the moment when they realised that the tomb was empty and Jesus not only appeared amongst them but they could touch him, he ate with them, although his body now enabled him to appear and disappear at a moment’s notice and he appeared to over 500 people at a single time.

His resurrection confirms Jesus of Nazareth’s identity as the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah. Christ had stated that His resurrection would prove His power over death, and thus His deity and ability to forgive transgressions and remove their penalties. His resurrection was the “sign from heaven” that authenticated His ministry. He had promised that he would give new life to all who believed in him. This fervent hope was the distinctive feature of the attitude to life of those first Christians. They lived in times which were far harder than our present era, times when early death from illness, accident or violence was always likely. However, the resurrection of Christ empowered them to live the selfless Christian life.  They were able to endure the trials and troubles they faced in this life because they remained focused on what lay beyond this life.  They expected that those who believe in Jesus Christ would personally experience resurrection, death had been defeated and they looked forward to living with him forever. As Peter writes in his first letter

“All praise to God Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation and we have a priceless inheritance, an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

This is the confident hope I have when I say at funerals “until we meet again may the Lord bless you and keep you”. I find it a source of comfort to me particularly in distressing times. It does not change the circumstances that I face but the grace of God somehow gives me the wherewithal to cope.

In all the troubles that we face Christians understand that we should not put our trust for the future in ourselves but in God’s ability to bring new life. Beginning with Jesus’ resurrection, God is in the process of setting things right and making all things new. We trust in the resurrection power of God. In these uncertain times when the world is struggling to come to terms with the effects of global warming and the pandemic has bought the reality of our own mortality to the forefront of people’s minds. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that gives us inestimable hope for the future and comfort in the present. It also inspires and enables us to try and live a life of service and selfless love for our fellow human beings which is an attitude needed more than ever as the entire world confronts these two global issues.

But sadly, we live in a culture that has largely turned away and forgotten God and so the good news of Jesus has little relevance to the majority of people. Do we really testify to the resurrection of Christ and the hope we have because of it by simply wishing people Happy Easter? Those two words do not say anything about the fact that Christ has risen from the dead. We hide behind the name of a pagan god of fertility assuming people know what we are talking about instead of making the clear connection with Christ’s resurrection and what that means for humanity. Be in no doubt, for the majority of people in Britain today Easter means nothing more than a long weekend at the beginning of spring spent with family and friends overindulging in food and chocolate. There is no connection with or understanding of the resurrection of Jesus, instead he remains buried under a mound of consumerism.

The apostles did not hide the truth of what happened on the greatest day in history   they shouted it to the crowds. They did not keep the good news to themselves they told people what Christ’s resurrection meant for them. If we know and believe all this to be true surely on resurrection Sunday as well as giving thanks to God it is incumbent upon us to pass on the good news that today we celebrate the fact that death has been defeated, we have been forgiven and now no matter how flawed and undeserving we may feel it is possible for us to know God and his love for us.

What does Christ’s resurrection actually mean for you? Don’t keep it to yourself, tell someone else because their future life depends on it. Share your experience, arouse their curiosity, nudge them on their way to finding out for themselves more about the abundant, redeemed life Jesus of Nazareth offers. Then they can at least make an informed decision about who to put there hope in, because Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified has risen from the dead. He lives! He has defeated death, and turned our sorrow into joy, he does have the words of eternal life. God be praised

 

 

Bible References

Jesus predicts his resurrection

John 2:18-22

Matthew 16:21,   Luke 9 21-22 Mark 8:31-32

Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43 -45 Mark9 :30-32

Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34 Mark 10:32-34

Matthew 27:63

 

The resurrection was the sign from heaven

Matthew 12:39-40

The resurrection proves Jesus’ identity and authority

Romans1:4

John 10 :17-18

Jesus promises resurrection and eternal life

John 11:25

1John2:25

John 5:21-29

John 3;36

John 10:10

 

Jesus’ appearances

John 20:19-29

Luke 24:36-46

Matthew 28:9

1 Corinthians 15:6

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Act of commissioning (to use if you wish)

Those who are baptized are called to worship and serve God.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you persevere in resisting evil,
and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you proclaim by word and example
the good news of God in Christ?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all people,
loving your neighbour as yourself?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you acknowledge Christ’s authority over human society,
by prayer for the world and its leaders,
by defending the weak, and by seeking peace and justice?

With the help of God, I will.

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith,
that you may be rooted and grounded in love
and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.

Amen.

Witness

Prayers of Intercession

Resurrection God, to you this Easter Day we bring our prayers for those whose lives touch ours however constantly or fleetingly, for all are your children and for all of them you gave your life and this day give your rising.

We, with the world’s people, have travelled a tough and painful pandemic year, sharing burdens, pains, fears, confusion, anger and death, and through it all you have walked with us. For all those who have not felt your presence, who do not feel your presence, did not feel your guiding hand, the warmth of your breath, the calming of your words, the sureness of your step,

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For those who have struggled with journeys:
– actual journeys that have had to be made, for health and well-being, for escape and survival.

– faith journeys that have been sorely tested, with familiarity of surroundings changed, with companionship parted, new worship methods explored.

– spiritual journeys and encounters that have inspired lives or taken them way beyond their comfort zone.

– relationship journeys of loving or being loved, of not loving or not being loved, of changed roles and responsibilities.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For those who have struggled to simply hold life together, emotionally or financially. For those who have been on furlough, laid off, made jobless, those who have had to work longer, harder, deeper.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For those who have worked tirelessly through the year to provide us with the care we need across the health services and beyond. For scientists and doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff, porter, cooks, cleaners, admin staff.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For all those who are grieving the loss of family or friends whether through Covid or not. The pain of loss compounded by the pain of restrictions and isolation.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

As we have read of political decisions that send Jesus to the cross, so we think of political decisions taken here, near and far away. In a global world of wealth and poverty, greed and generosity, may politicians be helped and supported, guided and strengthened to think not just of their own needs but the many needs of the wider world.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For countries torn apart by war and violence, insurrection, exploitation, natural disaster and deliberate destruction, for all their people caught up in events and conclusions way beyond their control. We think especially at this time of Myanmar and Mozambique and all their peoples.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For all people of faith, especially at this Eastertide, striving for peace and companionship, striving for harmony and meaning.

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For those who we wish we could share with on this Easter Day, for our family members and friends who find themselves, once again, home alone with no-one to crack open the Easter egg with, with no one to marvel at the spring flowers and transforming butterflies with, with no one to laugh with as they watch gambolling lambs and sweet chirruping chicks

For them all in this moment:

Resurrection God, we pray.

For this is Easter and you are our risen God and in you we trust,
into your care we recommit ourselves and all those on our hearts day.

Halleluijah, Halleluia, Amen.

© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2021.
Reproduced with permission.

Close

Blessing

May Christ
who out of defeat brings new hope and a new future,
fill you with his new life;
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you all, now and forever.
Amen.

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church