Prayers, Readings and Reflection for Easter Day

12th April 2020

This is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life. Throughout the world Christians celebrate the awesome power of God. As we hear his word and proclaim all that God has done, we can be confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him for ever. A candle is lit. May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds. The light of Christ. Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia. Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: he has given us new life and hope by raising Jesus from the dead. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Prayer for the day:

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Old Testament Reading:
Jeremiah 31: 1-6
Psalm:
Psalm 118: 14-24
New Testament Reading:
Acts 10: 34-43
Gospel Reading:
Matthew 28: 1-10

Reflection for Easter Day 2020 by the Revd Ian Monks, Curate

“Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia”

Having taught Modern Languages during my teaching career, including German Literature to pre-university students, one very simple but very thought-provoking sentence has stayed with me over many years “What has once been thought, cannot be taken back.”

However much we might wish to go back to the perfect world of God’s creation, we can’t, because the human race has sinned. We might long for the idealised pre-industrialised world of the 16th and 17th centuries but we can’t reach it, because time only moves in one direction. I can remember the dropping of the bomb in 1945, but we can’t go back to the comfort of that pre-nuclear age, desirable as it might be.

And Easter also points us forwards, rather than backwards, forwards to the New Life found in the Risen Christ, who has endured the worst that humanity could throw at Him, come out victorious, desperately trying to bring us all along as well.

When we look for depth, we often miss simple truths staring us in the face. We usually enter a church from the West, which reflects the setting of the sun and the dying of the old day. Which means when we enter, we‘re looking East. towards the start of a New Dawn and the altar on which are offered the Bread and the Wine of Holy Communion. This put me into my mind the last two lines of John Betjeman’s very well-known Christmas Poem:-

“That God was man in Palestine And lives again in Bread and Wine”.

“Was” is a past tense it is something that happened 2000 years ago, but contrast it with the final line, “lives” that is present, the perpetual presence of Jesus with us now in these difficult times through which we are all living.

Just as we cannot go back to the times before the flood or the times before the “communications revolution” through which we have lived, we need to accept, that when this emergency is over, we won’t be able to go back to the days before the Coronavirus epidemic struck, so much has changed. It is easy to despair, in tight corners, and blind one’s self to signs of hope. The cross of Jesus was a very tight corner indeed.

Many of us know the words from Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted on the Cross. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, which will resonate with many who have lost, or are losing loved ones at this present time. We are less likely to see the link between the later words of the psalm and Isaiah’s picture of the Suffering Servant. Towards the end the whole mood of the Psalm changes, from despair, to hope, from a picture of pain and suffering, both physical and mental, which engulfs us today, to what one hymn writer called “bright hopes for tomorrow”.

“future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.”

“Future generations” indicate New Life. Of all the Easter Symbols, the “egg” showing the bursting forth of a New Life, is something all can understand. So too, the knowledge the dawn must break, makes the darkest of nights something we can survive.

The Easter Anthems

1 Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us: so let us celebrate the feast, 2 not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5: 7b, 8 3 Christ once raised from the dead dies no more: death has no more dominion over him. 4 In dying he died to sin once for all: in living he lives to God. 5 See yourselves therefore as dead to sin: and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6: 9-11 6 Christ has been raised from the dead: the first fruits of those who sleep. 7 For as by man came death: by man has come also the resurrection of the dead; 8 for as in Adam all die: even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22 Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. 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 nations. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us. Jesus, bread of life, give food to the hungry. and nourish us all with your word. 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 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 lived and believed in you. Raise us with them to eternal life. Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us. accept our prayers, and be with us always. Amen.

Blessing

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, make us perfect in every good work to do his will; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen. Remain in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.