Reflection – Easter Sunday

Here’s Martin’s reflection for Easter Sunday

If you’d like to join in our online worship follow this Zoom link. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85061262911?pwd=SjFoODcvOVdFZUhTengxRVRkNzJPUT09

Martin is preaching this week – our worship session starts at 11.00 British Summer Time and includes Communion.

Mark

London Road Congregational Church Reflection 4/4

I feel your pain, I share your joy.

Call to worship:

“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:5-6

Let us pray

Father let us have this time together to recognise just who you are what you mean to us. Help us to refocus our lives on you as the source and purpose of all things. Let this time be one of blessing for each other and for you.  We thank you that we can have this time and want to worship you. Amen

Let us say together the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Hymn: Reckless love of God.

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99
And I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99
And I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it, still You give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Readings:

Matthew 27:37 – 28:10

The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus

Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace, and the whole company gathered around him. They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand; then they knelt before him and made fun of him. “Long live the King of the Jews!” they said. They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head. When they had finished making fun of him, they took the robe off and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Jesus Is Crucified

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. They came to a place called Golgotha, which means, “The Place of the Skull.” There they offered Jesus wine mixed with a bitter substance; but after tasting it, he would not drink it.

They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. After that they sat there and watched him. Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then they crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.

People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Save yourself if you are God’s Son! Come on down from the cross!”

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders made fun of him: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Isn’t he the king of Israel? If he will come down off the cross now, we will believe inhim! He trusts in God and claims to be God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!”

Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”

Some of the people standing there heard him and said, “He is calling for Elijah!” One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make him drink it.

But the others said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!”

Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them.

When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee.

The Burial of Jesus

When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus. He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, facing the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

The next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘I will be raised to life three days later.’ Give orders, then, for his tomb to be carefully guarded until the third day, so that his disciples will not be able to go and steal the body, and then tell the people that he was raised from death. This last lie would be even worse than the first one.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate told them; “go and make the tomb as secure as you can.”

So they left and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and leaving the guard on watch.

The Resurrection

After the Sabbath, as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake; an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat on it.His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid that they trembled and became like dead men.

The angel spoke to the women. “You must not be afraid,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has been raised, just as he said. Come here and see the place where he was lying. Go quickly now, and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from death, and now he is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him!’ Remember what I have told you.”

So they left the tomb in a hurry, afraid and yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Peace be with you.” They came up to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus said to them. “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Reflection

I don’t intend to say a lot this Sunday, but I want to leave you with 3 seeds that I hope will sit, germinate and begin to flourish in your soul.

The first thing about Easter, is that we are reminded that we don’t worship a distant and removed God. We have read about a God who has taken on human flesh, lived a life of a real person and suffered unjustly, dying and then raising from the dead. Throughout the years there have been various groups who have tried to either day that Jesus wasn’t fully God or fully human, but we profess a faith that proclaims that Jesus was God incarnate. How, is a mystery for us to understand at some point. But nevertheless, it is an article of faith.

The second thing is the potency of the cross. When Jesus was crucified, died and then was raised from the dead, our atonement was finished. We cannot add to it or take away. We may have our personal battles in our faith, but the war has been won. Sin no longer is held over us. We are forgiven.

The third thing is that our humanity is now redeemed and sits with God in heaven. Jesus is the first of many and is the sign of our hope. Our faith is not based on vain hope but certain truth. What Jesus left us as a way of living is a foretaste of what we have in store for us.

Communion

Before we begin this part of the service, I’d like us to pause. I’d like us to reflect why we are doing it and to search our own hearts. Is there an element of this that is just because we always do it on the first Sunday? Is there an element of familiarity that overlooks the extent of Jesus’ sacrifice. Let us just pause and collect ourselves.

We remember the stories that Jesus friends tell,
stories of bread broken and shared, feeding a multitude,
stories of being gathered together, enemy and friend, around tables,
stories of unlikely guests revealing the face of the sacred.

They say that that it was on a night of both celebration and betrayal
that he took the bread leftover on the table,
blessed it and broke it;
reminding them that it is in the breaking that we become whole,
in losing our lives that we find them, in serving that we are served.
As the grain scattered becomes one in the loaf,
when we eat this bread, we become one with one another.

They say that he took the cup also leftover on the table, poured out and sharing,
remembering with them, the life-giving breath even now pounding a rhythm through our veins,
the breath of life from whence we come the breath that precedes and follows all that we can see – at the very beginning God breathed life into us, when Jesus breathes his last breath he breathed new life and a hope of new life into the world.
As the grapes find life in the vine, when we drink this cup,
we become at one with the source of life itself.

Blessing:


And so we pray:
Come, holy Spirit, come.
Bless this bread and bless this fruit of the vine.
Bless all of us in our eating and drinking that our eyes might be open,
that we might recognize the risen Christ in our midst,
indeed in one another.
Come, holy Spirit, come.

We eat this bread and remember Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us.

We drink this cup together to remember the price Jesus had to pay.

Prayer of Thanksgiving/Dedication

Holy God, we came to this table
tempted to deny the pain of life,
scarred from too many broken dreams,
knowing that we are not immune to evil’s lure.

And you met us at this table;
embracing us I our brokenness,
naming us “beloved”,
claiming us for an eternity.
We thank you, living, loving God.

Hymn: In Christ Alone

I’ve chosen this hymn because as we close this time together I want us to reflect and remember why we are here.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Blessing.

One thought on “Reflection – Easter Sunday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.