Uniting together, Caring for all, Seeking God

Easter Sunday 12.04.2020 Service Sheet

Uniting Church Sketty ‘Worship from Home’ for Easter Sunday 2020

Prepared with you in my thoughts, by Rev Leslie

You may like to have to hand a small cup of juice and a small piece of bread (or perhaps a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate!?).  This isn’t Holy Communion as such, but a recognition that God comes to us in the ordinary things of everyday life.

Call to worship

As we come to worship, you might like to have a time of silence and light a candle.  Then join with millions around the world with these words of exclamation:

Christ is risen, he is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Hymn StF 298 Christ the Lord is risen today

Prayer

Resurrection God, you offer life overcoming death, love overcoming emptiness, light overcoming darkness.

I give you thanks for the hundred small and powerful ways I experience resurrection every day.

Thank you for Jesus, who shows us how to live as a resurrection people, putting to death the self-centredness, apathy, destructiveness and cynicism that is so often within us.

For those times when I have failed to challenge the things of death, the political systems, relationships, selfish desires, I am sorry.

For those times when I have failed to resist death and ignored your call to live the life you have given me, I am sorry.

I trust that you forgive me, I hear your forgiveness and I am so grateful that you have come to show me your face.  Amen

Reading:  Matthew 28: 1-10

A short reflection on the reading

It seems that every year, one thing I try to make abundantly clear, is that the resurrection is more than a historical event that happened to Jesus 2000 years ago.  We miss the point, I think, when we make the resurrection an intellectual exercise which focuses only on details and questions of evidence.

Because Easter Sunday is so much more than that.  Perhaps this year, that is even more clear to us than it ever has been before.

Whilst we are surrounded by death (with the numbers dying of Covid-19 predicted to peak this Easter weekend), we are nonetheless called to live with hope and trust.  We are called to live as Easter People.  Whilst we cannot come together in church, we are called to be the church, witnessing to the message of Easter.  And what is that message?

At its heart, Easter is a message of protest against all that that would bring death and destruction, against all that would seek to suppress life.

Easter is the doctor working selflessly and tirelessly in intensive care to treat patients sick with coronavirus, risking his own life, separated from his wife and young children for fear of infecting them.  That is Easter.  It is generous life in the face of death.

Easter is a young journalist from Northern Ireland, shot dead by terrorists but whose message of inclusion for the LGBTQI+ community continues to echo after her death. That is Easter, it is passionate.

Easter is the welcome we offer refugees who leave behind their home, fleeing violence and conflict.  Easter is the projects and shelters that support the vulnerable and the homeless.  That is Easter, it is the open arms of welcome.

Easter is the force of climate change protestors, trying to alert us all to the climate catastrophe about to happen, being arrested in their pursuit of the truth. That is Easter, it recognises truth.

It is crucial that Easter Sunday is not allowed to become just an interesting academic exercise.  Easter is in our midst, in every community, and in every life, even as we struggle with death.  For the beauty of resurrection is that death is not so much destroyed but transformed.

And so, as we celebrate resurrection this Sunday, we are also called to live resurrection in our own lives.  This means that God is challenging us to face the death within us – the self-centredness, apathy, destructiveness and cynicism that keep others from life – and allow it to be transformed into life.

It also means that we be prepared to bring life to others wherever we can through our compassion, hospitality, listening, giving, friendship and involvement.  When we become aware of how our actions bring life and death to others, we will find ourselves making different choices.

It is these choices that make us Easter People.  It is these choices that mean we can say with our lives and not just our lips:  Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Hymn StF 313 Thine be the glory

Pause and be still for a few moments in prayer

  • Consider what Jesus’ outstretched arms might be saying to YOU.
  • Bring to mind people and situations known to you, and offer your thoughts to God.

Your response

As part of your response to the resurrection, to the gospel reading, to the prayers and thoughts we’ve shared together (although apart), you might like to:

  • Complete your Holy Week Prayer Doodle, by filling the cross with words and images of hope and beauty.
  • Partake of the juice and bread or tea and chocolate (or whatever), remembering all the times that you have celebrated Holy Communion on Easter Sunday, and recall for yourself, the central story of our faith, with the knowledge that God is to be found in the ordinary and every day.  And pray that you will have eyes to see and hears to hear!

Final Prayer

At a time like this, when the triumph of death seems inevitable and the suffering around us makes us want to turn away, we commit to resurrection.

Lord of life, you walk this journey with us and through us.  Lead us to risk, to grow, and to tread the path you have opened for us.

In your resurrected glory,

May we know the power of your life;

May we turn away from death;

And may we become agents of resurrection,

Where ever we find ourselves.  Amen