CALL TO WORSHIP - 1 Corinthians 15:20
Join together with the video below for our opening song:
Let us pray -
Father God, in these demanding times we ask that you would remind us at this EASTER time that the evil of all Hell being let loose on Friday and the misery of awesome silent unknowing of Saturday was followed by Resurrection Morn.
We rejoice that, though we are physically separated, nothing can separate us from Your love in Jesus.
So we pray:-
For all frontline workers; doctors, nurses, care staff, cleaners etc. that they would know that they are valued. May we commit to valuing them when this crisis time is passed
For all those who are infected. Especially we pray for our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and………include all those known to you
For those who are struggling with the isolation, particularly those who live alone with no family to contact them. Name those known personally
For the families who have lost loved ones to this virus…or other causes
Name those you know before God
For victims of domestic violence. May they be able to find refuge and to know that they are precious in Your sight Remember any you know and commit to contacting them
For ourselves as individuals and as a Fellowship as we seek to respond to these changing times, and to offer the hope of You who never change to any we know who are finding life difficult. Pray for any known to you now, and phone them when you conclude this time of worship
We ask and offer all our prayers in the Name of Him whose resurrection life makes all things possible.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Easter Musings, 2020
It was Easter Day, 1960. William Sangster, the great Methodist writer and preacher was dying of cancer of the throat. His son, Paul, came to visit him and his father whispered, “Paul, it’s Easter Sunday morning and I can’t shout Hallelujah; but what a tragedy it would be if I did have a voice and couldn’t shout Hallelujah.
Well, this Easter we will not be able to gather together to shout, sing or even whisper Hallelujah in unison, BUT THAT IS NO REASON WHY THERE CANNOT BE A ‘HALLELUJAH’ IN OUR HEARTS. May we each be able to testify, “In my soul an Easter Morning, I am Christ’s and Christ is mine”
For most of us this will be the first time in our experience when we have not been able to unite together for Easter Worship. For me it is not.
I was privileged to be one of the team of four Salvation Army Officers to minister, in God’s Name, to the service personnel during the First Gulf War.
That war ended just before Easter and all the equipment was gathered together at Al Jubail where Operation Sonrise, as the Team had chosen to call ourselves was based.
No act of worship was made available to us so, a little before sunrise, I made my way to the vehicle park, surrounded by tanks, armoured personnel carriers, rocket launchers etc. Literally millions of pounds worth of military hardware, enough weapons of warfare to obliterate West Yorkshire. BUT IT DID NOT STOP THE SUN RISING!
That year no Hallelujahs echoed around that vehicle park; there was no rousing singing of the Easter Hymn, but that Easter will live in my heart as one of the most (if not THE most) memorable Easters that I have ever celebrated.
All the political and military infrastructure proved impotent.
So it had been almost 2000 years earlier. The Jewish hierarchy, from puppet King to High Priest conspired, wittingly or unwittingly with Pontius Pilate, the craven representative of the most powerful Empire that the world had seen to that date, to rid themselves of One who had the temerity, simply by who and what He was to oppose them. He said that they did not belong to themselves but to God. What He was threatened what they were. So He had to die.
A rigged trial (held as illegally as hurriedly by night) with bribed witnesses; a ‘hearing’ before a Governor who was more concerned about his own reputation than justice found the accused ‘Not Guilty’ ….and condemned Him to death. They even put a guard on His tomb. BUT THEY COULD NOT STOP THE SON RISING.
“Why are you looking amongst the dead for One who is alive?” the women were asked.
That question has echoed down the centuries.
You can try to bury Him in materialistic activity, in the busyness of frantic worship, in the pursuit of power, influence or anything else. BUT HE WILL BREAK OUT OF ANY TOMB MEN TRY TO IMPRISON HIM IN.
The truth is that Christ has risen. He will come where you expect Him, and where you don’t; He will come invited or uninvited; He will come where He is wanted AND where He is not.
“See the wounded God go walking down the world’s eternal way, for His task is never done”
Never done? Well, not this side of Eternity.
So where do we fit into all that? We have had to rethink much over the past few weeks but the one central issue is just as it
has ever been: “What will you do with Jesus?”
So, I finish with a challenge from the pen of Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy
There’s an Army thronging round Him as He takes the road tonight.
Can’t you see your sons and brothers lined before Him left and right
Can’t you hear their voices calling you to join with them and fight
For the God who marches on?
Now, ring someone up and share The Grace with them!
Thank you for reading
Written by Major Alan H
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