Reflection – Easter Sunday

Here is our weekly reflection for Easter Sunday.

This morning we remember that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ went to the cross on Good Friday and was murdered. He suffered and died so that all of us would be reunited with our heavenly Father. He bought our forgiveness with his own blood and suffering. It was a horrific, painful, awful day when man murdered the son of the creator of the universe.

Then on the third day, as predicted in the Gospel, the Lord raised his son from the dead and restored him to life. The price was paid, the cost to Jesus was a terrible suffering death. He was the true Messiah and the one who paid the price of our Eternal Life through his own death.

Hallelujah! – Christ has risen. We are now forgiven of our sins bought by the precious blood of Christ.

A Prayer
Living God

We thank you for this day of praise and celebration,

a day of hope after despair, joy after sorrow,

life after death, a day to lift up our hearts

and to offer you our praise.

 

Loving God

We remember today all you have done for us

and for all the world, your greatest victory over sin and death

your triumphs over everything that keeps us from you

and prevents us living the life you want us to lead.

 

Saving God

We join as one with your church in every age,

to bring our Easter worship,

to acknowledge you as the God of love and power, to welcome Christ as our Living Lord.

 

Sovereign God

Breathe new life into our hearts this day.

Fire us with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.

Fill us with resurrection power,

and grant that we might meet and walk with Christ,

offering our joyful faithful service

this day and every day

for his namesake.

Amen

 

The Lord’s Prayer (The prayer Jesus taught us).

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 that 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

 

This morning we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Why do we do this? Well the answer is simple – if we read John 3 v16 it tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus suffered an horrific death so that man’s relationship with our Heavenly Father could be restored. This was God’s plan to reclaim his children who he loves so deeply and to give us a promise and certainty of eternal life after death.

The gospel readings below if studied will take you through Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday – the blackest day in human history when mankind murdered and killed the Son of the living God. However, the story goes beyond that because we know and believe that on the third day, he rose again proving that death was now defeated and that our relationship with our Heavenly Father is restored.

The events of Good Friday have been the subject of many films. The Passion of Christ being so horrific in the torture and pain of our saviour that it is difficult to watch or comprehend. Jesus died for each one of us so that we would have eternal life and our sins would be forgiven and forgotten.

However, this morning I wish to talk to you about what Jesus Christ wants from us after his crucifixion and resurrection.

 

Gospel Readings

John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus is Crucified

Mark chapter 15;  Matthew 17:22-23; Mark 14:1-2

 Luke 22:1-2; John 11:45-53

            The Burial of Jesus 

            Mark 15:42-47

The Resurrection – Jesus Is Risen! 

Mark chapter 16; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10

   The Promise

Matthew 28:16-20

The Empty Tomb

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! This simple statement of fact is the bold confession of our Christian faith. Jesus’ empty tomb stands in contrast to the graves of everyone else. Kings and leaders throughout history have been laid to rest in their tombs. There they are to this very day. The pyramids stand as a testimony to the mortality of those who once considered themselves to be gods. There was no escape for those mortals. They returned to the dust from which they were made. Today, every Sunday, yes, even every day we celebrate the fact that the tomb of Jesus is empty. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Jesus’ resurrection is our living hope.

People came to the empty tomb of Jesus expecting to find mortal remains. The government sealed the tomb and posted the guard. Man could not and cannot stop God’s plans and power. To this day the tomb of Christ is powerfully empty. This is the greatest power – to be able to bring someone back to life. Man is not able to perform this miracle. Only the creating power of the Lord God Almighty can restore life, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead”(Ephesians 1:19-20a). Such is the powerful testimony of the empty tomb of Jesus. Jesus lives. Jesus lives in us. The power of God that raised his Son from the dead He is alive and well and working in us. All of this by faith through grace.

The fact that Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us with his Heavenly Father made possible eternal life for all people who accepted Jesus as their saviour. This is wonderful great news. However, there is a second and important change that is required of people if they truly want to be a disciple of Christ.

Jesus wants us now to follow his recorded lifestyle. He wants us to be humble, he wants us to be compassionate. Jesus wants us to love the Lord our God with all our heart soul and mind. He also states we should love one another as much as we love ourselves. There are many theologies to ministers who put this in very simple language we should walk in the footsteps of Christ.

On my personal Bible cover there is a poem called footprints which describes when someone asked God where were you when I looked in the sand and all I saw was one set of footprints and I was in pain and suffering. The explanation is I was there with you but there is only my footprints because at that time I was carrying you. Another writer states that the Ideal situation is when we follow in Christ’s footsteps so closely that our footsteps will not be seen as they are hidden in the footprint of the Lord.

Let us consider Matthew 14:27-29 when Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water and came towards Jesus. Some writers say that Peter was able to walk on water because he was focusing on the Lord Jesus, he was not aware of the state of the sea. He was literally walking in the footsteps of Christ. Then as you remember he lost his focus on Christ and started to sink. This is a wonderful example of how when we follow in Christ’s footsteps and focus on Christ alone then we will be safe and protected and following a lifestyle that our saviour would wish.

Richard Burridge Dean of King’s College London argues that “the imitation of Christ, by which he means living out Jesus’s teachings and emulating his examples, is the essence of what it means to be a disciple, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. People living in reality are God’s, truly strive to imitate Jesus by living his teachings and following his examples, then an inclusive and diverse missionary community arises and takes form, because the people of all kinds will come to follow and live like Jesus”

This is the core, the heart of discipleship, Jesus said. A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master, it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave the master. (Matthew 10:24 – 25), Peter walking on water was not a show of magic or razzle-dazzle. Peter walking on water is about Peter becoming like Jesus, doing what Jesus was doing, participating in God’s mission in the world, becoming the hands and feet the heart and the face of Jesus.

St Teresa of Avila said this:

 

“Christ has no body but yours,

no hands no feet on earth but yours,

yours are the eyes with which he looks

with compassion on the world,

your feet with which he walks to do good,

yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.

We celebrate this morning the resurrection recognising the marvellous gift that Jesus brought for us all by dying on that cross that our sins would be forgiven and that we would be restored closely to our Heavenly Father. His ministry on earth was the other inheritance which Jesus left for all people. It was simply this: that he wants all people to walk in his footsteps, to follow his examples of lifestyle shown in his ministry. To love Our Heavenly Father with all their heart soul and mind. We must also love others as we love ourselves. The great commission set out in Matthew 28 also tells us what Christ wishes us to do in our lives to bring God’s glory to this earth.

We live in a difficult world particularly with the virus striking across the world killing people and causing great distress to all societies. In Matthew’s gospel we see two dimensions to discipleship. We become disciples by following in the footsteps of Jesus and becoming Jesus’s hands and feet in the world. At the same time we become increasingly aware of where Jesus might be calling us to serve him in the world. The parable of the last judgement in the 25th chapter of Matthew points where we can find our Lords present in a world beyond our hands and feet. Jesus said just as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me (Matthew 25:40).

In the cry of human need, in the ache of the human heart, in the faces of those downcast and in the lives of those outcast by any human decree or agency, there is the brother, there is the sister. We behold the face and hear the voice of Jesus. We must search and respond to Jesus’s command to be there for them to support them and be Christ-like.

Then let us go forth as witnesses to the remarkable reconciling love of God that we know in Christ Jesus. Let us go therefore and witness to the justice and the compassion and the forgiveness of God. Let us go therefore and help God to end the nightmare this world shows us and help us realise, God’s dream. Go therefore and become the hands, the feet, the face, the embracing arms, of our Lord Jesus Christ in this world.

Amen

Let us pray

Heavenly Father we pray this morning for all people who are serving the community in so many important ways. The difficult times we are passing through have brought us together as a community. Volunteers are carrying out many different tasks to make life more bearable during this time of isolation.

We are sad and humbled by those who have given their life as carers and doctors working in hospitals and in the Health Service trying to save lives. Their names can be found at the end of this reflection. We pray that you will protect all people working in this area and guide them so that they will remain safe while carrying out the compassionate and loving care they are providing for the sick. We pray that the government will provide protective equipment for workers and that progress will be made on testing equipment necessary to end the virus expanding its grip on society.

We give thanks for those who are developing new equipment and pray that essential equipment such as ventilators will be readily available as soon as possible.

Lord be with the families who have relatives currently receiving treatment may they find peace and may you give them a healing. The families who have lost someone so dear to them we beg that you may give them comfort and support.

We think particularly of people who are suffering from financial pressures unsure of their future unsure of their income. We think of the homeless, the hungry, those who are traumatised by the experience of life as it is at this time.

Lord Jesus remind us through the Holy Spirit to pray daily for our community and our family and our friends. Guide us to think about people in other countries not known to us particularly those whose practical situation is even more difficult than the one we are experiencing in this country.

Let us work together as disciples of Christ by keeping in touch, by reading the Gospel, and praying to our Heavenly Father. May we always feel your presence may we always show your compassion. May we spread Jesus’s love to all people and may we be worthy of following Jesus’s lifestyle. May we continue to walk alongside all the people in our community regardless of faith or lack of it. We pray that you will guide us in our efforts to use technology to keep in touch and have small services using the Internet.

This we ask in the blessed name of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen

We remember the sacrifice shown by the following NHS staff who have died while caring for patients with the virus. In humility we thank their families and assure them of our love and prayers for them in this terrible time. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Mr Alagos, Glen Corbin, Liz Gloniter, Areena Nasreen, Lynsay Coventry, Dr Alfa Sa’adu, Thomas Harvey, Amged El Hawrani, Dr Habib Zaidi, Dr Adil el Tayar

 

A Hymn of Hope    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TenfBnDDxGY

My Jesus, my Saviour,

Lord there is no one like you.

All of my days I want to praise

the wonders of your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,

tower of refuge and strength,

let every breath, all that I am,

never cease to worship you.

Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing

power and majesty, praise to the king.

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar

at the sound of your name.

I sing for joy at the work of your hand,

for ever I’ll love you forever I’ll stand.

Nothing compares the promise I have in you.

My Jesus, my Saviour,

Lord there is no one like you.

All of my days I want to praise

the wonders of your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,

tower of refuge and strength,

let every breath, all that I am,

never cease to worship you.

Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing

power and majesty, praise to the king.

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar

at the sound of your name.

I sing for joy at the work of your hand,

for ever I’ll love you forever I’ll stand.

Nothing compares the promise I have in you.

Also see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA9R6e4fBhc

He Arose (Advent Harmony Choir )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

(The Lord is my Shepherd Townend )

Final Prayer

God of life

May the promise of the sunrise

be echoed in our minds.

May the warmth of the midday sun

flow through our hearts.

May the peace of the sunset

touch our souls

and when life seems dark

teach us to remember even then you are with us,

and that we will again see your light

And now may the peace and love  of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit remain with you and your family and all who you love  through these difficult weeks. May the love of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit strengthen us in our daily living.

This we ask in Jesus name Amen

And so we say;

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

be with us all

ever more.

Hallelujah

Take 5 minutes now to listen to Gods voice.

Rev Ken Hague BA (hons)

01724 343702  Mobile 07985480800

 

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