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READINGS, REFLECTIONS,PRAYERS EASTER SUNDAY

 

A Service of Readings, Reflection and Prayer for Easter Sunday, the Sunday of all Sundays.

The Gathering

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

He has raised Jesus from the dead.

God has claimed us as his own. He has brought us out of darkness. He has made us light to the world.

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

A reading from Matthew chapter 28

The Resurrection of Jesus

28 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, "He has been raised from the dead,[b] and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him." This is my message for you.’ 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

Reflection

Good morning everyone. My name is Jonathan Ruhumuliza, the new Team vicar. My wife Asnath and I thank you all for the warm welcome. Soon we will see you face to face.

It is our joy to wish each and every one of you a very happy and blessed Easter, and all the blessings of this season of new life and hope!

"He is risen! He is risen indeed."

Today we are celebrating Easter but in our homes because of a Pandemic, the like of which none of us has ever experienced before. Church buildings are closed but the Church is not closed. The Church is us the disciples of Jesus, who died and rose and made us the

Resurrection people. We are to remain open! Open for resurrection business! Our reflection this morning is based on the today’s Gospel reading.

Corona virus is a wakeup call and an eye opener to the Church. We are locked down in our homes to stay safe. As individuals, couples or households we have time to reflect on our lives privately, how we have been living our spiritual lives – our encounters with God. It is time to reflect, review, and reconnect. It is a time of testing, like the forty-day Lockdown that Jesus spent in the desert. That is what Lent is all about, preparing for Easter.

When Mary Magdalene stood by the empty tomb on the first Easter morning, she was confused. An empty tomb? Where had they taken Her Lord? She wept. Then she heard her name, ‘Mary’. The familiar voice. That was all she needed. ‘Mary’. It was enough. She had received her marching order for a marching mission: ‘Go and tell my brothers - ‘I have seen the Lord’ (v18).

These words are very demanding but to those disciples on that Easter morning they were confusing. The call to a personal encounter with the risen Lord is always confusing, sometimes frightening and always challenging as frightening and challenging as Coronavirus feels to us all today. But so often in the Bible God’s call comes amid the turmoil. Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah, Paul, all taken out of their comfort zones. It is a fearsome thing to meet the living God, a fearsome challenge for it is no less than a marching order and a marching mission to reconcile the World to himself.

The cross was not the obvious way to save humankind. But all other ways God attempted to rescue humankind did not work. And as God always made the first step and took the initiative to seek the lost human beings, he finally made the choice of coming and dying in his Son on the cross – God’s incarnation.

The Resurrection story is the Good News of Easter. It showed that the way to reconciliation is open. That is the good news that was entrusted to Mary Magdalene by the puzzling stranger at the tomb. She was told to go and share it with the ‘brothers’, his sceptical disciples who had betrayed him, denied him and abandoned him to a bloody execution. As they later found out, the risen Christ is, unbelievably’ so often revealed amid the most challenging and frightening events of our lives. And that is the basis for the hope we can still celebrate this Easter Day amid this profound threat to life as we know it.

One person wrote recently, "…there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad. Corona virus is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another."

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to seize the opportunity and be reconciled with God. We can’t continue silencing the voice of our conscience and remain indifferent to how God is

offering his salvation through these terrible and frightening events surrounding us on all sides. In the courage and selflessness that see, whether on our local streets or our smart phones, the love of His costly resurrection is revealed in all what we do, in our daily lives.

Let us keep our trust in God and pray to Him to heal us, protect us and all who are fighting this horrible pandemic on our behalf.

Stay home. Keep safe. Enjoy our Risen Lord and best friend Jesus. AMEN.

Prayers

We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity.

Jesus, light of the world, bring the light and peace of your gospel to the peoples of the earth we pray. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, bread of life, give food to all who are in need this day and sustain those who are seeking to bring assistance to the most vulnerable in our world. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life, be with us and all who follow you in the way. Deepen our appreciation of your truth and fill us with your life. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep, recover the straggler, bind up the injured, strengthen the sick, uphold those who serve us in our hospitals and in our communities, and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy hear us.

Jesus, the resurrection and the life, we give you thanks for all who have died and believed in you. We remember today all those who have died during this pandemic and their loved ones. Raise us with them to eternal life. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

The Lord’s Prayer

With Christians north and south, east and west, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic, as our saviour taught us so we pray.

Please join me in praying the Lord’s Prayer in its traditional form.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

We are raised to new life with Christ. Let us continue in our pilgrimage in his peace. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia.


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