Explanation of the Service Outline: –
In the first part of our service today we will break up the events of the first Easter Sunday into seven scenes. We will introduce each scene by lighting a candle. We will read the relevant passage, explore the actions of the people involved and the implications and applications for us today, follow with a prayer or a poem and conclude with a hymn.
We light the first candle
The terrified guards at the Tomb
Matthew 28: 1 to 4, and Luke 24: 10
1 After the Sabbath, as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, along with some other women who had travelled with Jesus on the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, went to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared so as to anoint the body of Jesus. 2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake; an angel of the LORD came down from Heaven, rolled the stone away and sat upon it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards who had been assigned by Pilate, at the instigation of the Chief Priests, to ensure that no-one entered the sealed tomb to steal the body of Jesus, were so afraid at what they had seen that they trembled and became like dead men.
God made His presence known to those who were present at the tomb through an earthquake, just as He had done centuries before at Mt Sinai during the Exodus journey (Exodus 18: 19) and as He had done so recently at Calvary (Matthew 27: 51) .
There was the very visible appearance of an angel of God, who had a twofold task. As was the normal practice, a stone had been rolled across the entrance to the tomb to seal it. To ensure that no-one could gain entry to the tomb so as to steal the body of Jesus, the Chief Priests requested that Pilate assign some guards to remain at the entrance to the tomb.
“The guards trembled and became like dead men” Matthew 28: 4
In rolling the stone away from the entrance to the tomb, the angel was not just demonstrating extraordinary strength but was also displaying to all who were present that God acts how He wills and when He wills, unhindered by Human endeavours. In sitting upon the stone, the angel was not just demonstrating extraordinary agility and dexterity, but was demonstrating that God was ridiculing the futile efforts of the enemies of Jesus to confine him to the tomb.
The guards, though experienced in facing temporal Earthly opposition, were unable to face the very presence of God. At the earthquake and the appearance of the angel, they fell to the ground as if they were unconscious or comatose. It was not just that their training did not prepare them for such a circumstance, but that them coming face-to-face with the divine holiness of God resulted in physical, mental and spiritual shock. They were terrified.
We experience the very presence of God when we gather for worship, but we do so rejoicing and expressing our adoration and praise of God.
Darius, King of the Medes and the Persians, wrote to all the peoples of his Empire concerning the God of the Israelites, saying:
“I command that throughout my empire everyone should fear and respect Daniel’s God. He is a living God, and He will rule forever. His Kingdom will never be destroyed, and His power will never come to an end. He saves and rescues; He performs wonders and miracles in Heaven and on Earth.” (Daniel 6: 26 & 27)
Hymn: ‘God of all power and truth and love’ TiS567 AHB477 MHB562
We light the second candle
The revelation to the women
Luke 24: 2 to 7
2 The women found the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, 3 so they went in; but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They stood there puzzled about this, when suddenly two men in bright shining clothes stood by them. 5 Full of fear, the women bowed down to the ground, as the men said to them, “Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? 6 He is not here: he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was in Galilee:
7 ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, be crucified, and three days later rise to life?’”
The women at the empty tomb
The angels in revealing the emptiness of the tomb were also revealing the foolishness of people seeking to keep Jesus inside the tomb. The body of Jesus which the women had expected to see inside the tomb was not there. The women were, not surprisingly, puzzled. To add to their confusion, the angels then asked them:
“Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive?”
Of course, the women would have replied:
“But we watched him die. We watched him being taken down from the cross and placed inside this very tomb. If he was placed here so recently, why is he no longer here?’
It was then that the angels said to them:
“Remember what he said to you while he was in Galilee:
‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, be crucified, and three days later rise to life?’”
Some puzzling thing that Jesus had previously said has now taken on a fuller meaning. In the correct context, what Jesus had said now made sense. Where moments before the women were filled with fear before the angels, now they were full of understanding. Jesus was not dead and buried, but, in some extraordinary way, is alive and has been raised out of the sealed tomb.
The revelation of the raised Christ changed the outlook of the women. So, too, does the risen Christ change our outlook.
(from Invocations and Benedictions pp158, 160 & 161)
Praise to you, Almighty God, for you raised up you son, our Saviour, from the dead and gave him glory, giving us faith and hope in you.
Praise be to you, O Christ, for by your glorious resurrection you brought life and light to a waiting and wanting World.
Praise to you, Holy Spirit, for you insert the love of Christ into the hearts and minds of people, and make us rejoice in the certainty of sins forgiven and of a restored relationship with God.
Praise to you, Almighty God, for by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have opened our eyes to see the magnitude of your love and grace, you have opened for us the gate to eternal life.
By the power of your Spirit, make us into the likeness of your son, in loving compassion, in humble service and in obedient lives, delighting in your presence with us. To your glory and honour, amen.
“Up from the grave he arose” MHB211
We light the third candle
The deceit of the High Priests and the guards
Matthew 28: 11 to 15
11 While the women went on their way, some of the soldiers guarding the tomb went back to the City and told the Chief Priests everything that had happened. 12 The Chief Priests met with the Elders and made their plan: they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “You are to say that his disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep. 14 And if the Governor should hear of this, we will convince him that you are innocent, and you will have nothing to worry about.” 15 The guards took the money and did what they were told to do. And, so, that is the report spread around by the Jews to this very day.
“The Chief Priests met with the Elders and made their plan” (Matthew 28: 12)
The women who ventured to the tomb early that Sunday morning, recognised that God was at work in the World and stopped to listen to the Word of God.
The guards, too, saw the angels, but, in contrast, they refused to submit to the authority and person of God and went to seek the advice of men.
The women heard the Word of God and recognised the truth of what God’s messengers were conveying to them.
The guards heard the words of the Chief Priests and the Elders and submitted to live out a lie and a rejection of what was so obvious to anyone and everyone who was there when the stone was rolled away from the sealed tomb to reveal that the tomb was now empty.
The women rejoiced at the sight of the empty tomb and upon receiving the good news of the risen Christ.
The guards were fearful lest they be accused of a dereliction of duty. They sought comfort only in meeting their physical and emotional needs, for to consider their supernatural needs was too frightening. (Michael Wilcock in The Message of Luke p207)
The women celebrated with a clear conscience.
The guards cowered behind their deceit, and, for the rest of their lives, their guilt and their lies would have weighed down and burdened their consciences.
It is so easy to deny the Truth of the Word of God and of the love and grace of God evident in the actions of God in the World, but at the cost of peace of mind and of spirit.
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you and against our neighbour. You love us but we have not loved you with the whole of our heart and soul and mind and strength.
You call to us, but we have not listened. You show us the way to light and life, but we prefer to walk in darkness.
We confess to blindness that is not even aware of sinning,
of pride that dares not admit that it is wrong,
of selfishness that can see nothing but its own will,
of righteousness that knows no fault,
of callousness that has ceased to care,
of defiance that does not regret its own sins,
of evasion that always tries to make excuses,
of a coldness of heart that hesitates to repent.
Please help us to face up to ourselves.
Merciful God, forgive our sins, cleanse us and renew us, that from now onwards, we may serve you in newness and peace of life, to your glory and honour, amen.
Assurance of forgiveness
(from 2 Corinthians 5: 18 to 21)
The Apostle Paul reminds the Church in Corinth that God took the initiative, and reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. He who was without sin was made to be sin for us, so that we might become righteous in him. Let us rest on this assurance, trusting that God has heard our prayer and has acted by forgiving our sins and cleansing us in his sight.
Thanks be to God.
Hymn: ‘Holy Spirit pity me’ MHB296
[This YouTube clip has music only. It is for the hymn ‘Time is earnest, passing by’ so disregard the words.]
[It only goes for three verses, so you will need to play it through twice.]
Verse 1 of 6
Holy Spirt, pity me,
Pierced with grief for grieving Thee;
Present, though I mourn apart,
Listen to a wailing heart.
Verse 2 of 6
Sins unnumbered I confess,
Of exceeding sinfulness;
Pride, when God is passing by,
Sloth, when souls in darkness die.
Verse 3 of 6
Deafness to your whispered calls,
Rashness midst remembered falls,
Sins like these my heart deceive
You, who only knows them, grieve.
Verse 4 of 6
Worldly cares at worship time,
Grovelling aims in works sublime,
At the fountains of the skies
Craving creaturely supplies
Verse 5 of 6
O how lightly have I slept
With my daily wrongs unwept,
Sought your chidings to defer,
Shunned the wounded Comforter.
Verse 6 of 6
O be merciful to me,
Now, in penitence to Thee,
Father, pardon through you Son
Sins against your Spirit done.
We light the fourth candle
The Disciples reject the news
Luke 24: 8, 9 and 11
8 Then the women remembered the words of Jesus, 9 and returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven Disciples and to all the rest. 11 But the Disciples thought that what the women said was nonsense, and they did not believe them.
“the women remembered the words of Jesus” Luke 24: 8
The women, who ventured to the tomb early that Sunday morning, were the first people in History to share the good news of the risen Christ. Douglas Hare writes that “this story is cherished by the first century faith community in which women played an indispensable role as witnesses to the power of God.” (Douglas Hare in Matthew p331)
They had been shown the empty tomb by the angels. They had been told of the risen Christ be the angels. They had been reminded by the angels of the very words that Jesus had spoken of all that he would suffer and of all that would take place in Jerusalem during the Passover festival. Following this revelation, the women returned quickly and joyfully to the house where the Disciples and the other followers of Jesus were staying, to share the good news of the risen Christ.
Incredulously, their joyful message was not readily accepted by the Disciples who “thought that what the women said was nonsense”, “the babbling of an unsound mind”, as William Barclay writes. (William Barclay in The Gospel of Luke p305)
Is this a reflection of what Bible commentators refer to as the cultural norm for first century Jewish males to be hesitant in accepting the testimony of a female as true and trustworthy? (Craig Keener in The Gospel of Matthew p698) Is this a reflection of the despondency shared by the Disciples because all of their hopes for the future were dashed upon the cross on Calvary?
Or, is it that the Disciples, who, too, had seen Jesus die upon the cross, could not accept the seemingly unbelievable news that Jesus was now alive? After the experience of Calvary, on face value, such a statement by the women would have been considered as nonsense.
Yet, the Disciples were rejecting the testimony of the women without considering the source of their news. If God had spoken to them through the angels, on what basis then could they possibly reject what is ,in fact, the very words of God. Yet, today, the good news of Jesus Christ is just as readily rejected by Humanity as “nonsense”. People, today, as they have done for centuries, are quick to reject the Word of God without considering the source of the Good News of the Gospel.
Many people today still look for Jesus among the dead, writing of Jesus as a good man and a role model for ethical living and harmonious relationships, but they will not consider that he is a living presence today. Many people today study the words of Jesus so as to analyse the truths about which he spoke. But, as William Barclay writes, “Jesus is not only someone to be studied, but someone to be met and lived with each day.” (William Barclay in The Gospel of Luke p306)
We pray, O God, for forgiveness when we have lived as if Christ were not alive, when we
shared our faith in timid tones rather than in robust and victorious voices. Give us clean, obedient hearts that we may follow you as long as we live. Instil in us a sure and firm trust in you, so that we may be immovable in our faith, and be assured that you do not promise anything that you cannot accomplish.
(from Invocations and Benedictions p160 and Amish Prayers p132 & 133)
Hymn: ‘Thine be the Glory’ TiS380 AHB303 MHB213
Edmond Budry, translated by Richard Hoyle
We light the fifth candle
Peter is puzzled
Luke 24: 12
12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; he bent down and saw the grave cloths but nothing else. Then he went back home wondering at what he had seen.
Peter and John at the empty tomb
Peter has a reputation for acting and speaking impulsively, and only considering the consequences afterwards. Consider the nonsense he spoke on the mount of Transfiguration about erecting three tents (Luke 19: 33) , or how he struck out with his sword at those who had come to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, recklessly and needlessly cutting off the ear of Malchus. (John 18: 10)
In this verse we again see this impulsiveness in Peter. Did he ask questions of the women
so as to clarify the what, the who and the when? No he did not, for we read that, acting on an impulse, Peter got up and ran to the tomb to have a look for himself. (G Coleman Luck in Luke The Gospel of the Son p121)
Did he then reflect on what the women had just said? No he did not.
Did he remember and reflect on what Jesus had previously told him, on at least three
occasions, about all that he would face in Jerusalem and of his impending death and resurrection? No he did not. (Luke 9: 21 & 22, 9: 43b to 45, 18: 31 to 34)
Did Peter respond to viewing the empty tomb with understanding and joy as had the women? No he did not. We are told that Peter “went back home wondering at what he had seen”.
What was it that was stopping Peter from taking that extra step towards belief? What was it that was keeping Peter in a state of puzzlement and uncertainty?
Do we not see the same hindrance among people today, unwilling to move beyond wondering about Jesus Christ as a first century Jewish prophet to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of Humanity. We must move beyond a wonder about the empty tomb to an acceptance that it was empty because Christ had risen.
Poem: ‘An Easter Promise’
by Helen Steiner Rice
If we but had the eyes to see God’s face in every cloud,
If we but had the ears to hear His voice above the crowd,
If we could feel His gentle touch In every Springtime breeze
And find haven in His arms ‘neath sheltering, leafy trees,
If we could just lift up our hearts like flowers to the Sun
And trust His Easter Promise and pray, “Thy will be done.”,
We’d find the peace we’re seeking, the kind no man can give,
The peace that comes from knowing, he died so we might live!
(from Loving Thoughts from Helen Steiner Rice pp68 & 69)
Hymn: ‘Behold me standing at the door’ MHB331[This hymn is sung to the tune Winchester New – the same tune as ‘On jordan’s bank’]
Verse 1 of 5
Behold me standing at the door,
And hear me pleading evermore,
With gentle voice: O heart of sin,
May I come in? May I come in?
Verse 2 of 5
I bore the cruel nails for thee,
I waited long and patiently:
Say, weary heart, oppressed with sin,
May I come in? May I come in?
Verse 3 of 5
I would not plead with you in vain;
Remember all my grief and pain!
I died to ransom you from sin,
May I come in? May I come in?
Verse 4 of 5
I bring you joy from Heaven above,
I bring you pardon, peace and love;
Say, weary heart oppressed with sin,
May I come in? May I come in?
Verse 5 of 5
Behold me standing at the door,
And hear me pleading evermore:
Say, weary heart, oppressed with sin,
May I come in? May I come in?
Francis van Alstyne
We light the sixth candle
Jesus appears to his followers
Luke 24: 36 to 45
36 While Cleopas and his companion were telling the followers of Jesus what had happened on the road to Emmaus, suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
37 They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost. 38 But he said to them,
“Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.”
40 He said this and showed them his hands and his feet. 41 They still could not believe, they were so full joy and wonder; so he asked them,
“Do you have anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of cooked fish, 43 which he took and ate in their presence. 44 Then he said to them,
“These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Writings of the Prophets, and the Psalms had to come true.”
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
“suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them” Luke 24: 3
There must have been some smouldering tension in the house in Jerusalem where the followers of Jesus had been staying. (Michael Wilcock The Message of Luke p211)
The women who had ventured to the tomb at dawn, would have been muttering amongst themselves about the ‘thick-headed’ men who had refused to believe what they had claimed they had seen and heard early that day.
The Disciples were at an impasse. The empty tomb was there for all to see, but what did it all mean? What did it indicate? Could what the women have said really be true? But, if so, had anyone else seen Jesus since the morning?
As if on cue, “suddenly the Lord himself stood among them”. Jesus was there, among them. The inference from the passage is that Jesus didn’t enter through the door, but had suddenly appeared, unhindered by physical barriers such as doors and walls, in the same manner as he had left the sealed tomb.
Jesus was standing there in person. Surely those present in the room needed no further evidence that Jesus had risen from death, resurrected by the power and will of God. But that was not the case. As Michael Wilcock has written, “His coming found them believing and unbelieving, startled and joyful and afraid all at once. Emotionally, they were thoroughly confused.” (Michael Wilcock The Message of Luke p211)
Jesus meets the evening’s confusion in the Upper Room by doing four things.
The first thing was his greeting to them: “Peace be with you.” God’s peace was the essence of the message of Jesus throughout his ministry, it was what he sought for everyone with whom he dealt. What better way to make it clear to everyone who it who was talking to them than to greet them as he had always greeted them.
The risen Christ was no phantom or ghost or hallucination. Christianity was not founded on the dreaming of men’s disordered minds, or the visions of fevered eyes, but on one who in actual historical fact conquered death and was raised to life.” (William Barclay in The Gospel of Luke p311) How did Jesus demonstrate this to those in the upper Room?
The second thing that Jesus did was to say to them:
“Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.” Jesus had the evidence on his hands and his feet that he was the same person who was crucified and died on the cross.
The third thing that Jesus did was to say to them:
“Do you have anything here to eat?”. And, before their eyes he ate some cooked fish. Someone who is real flesh and bones and who is alive eats food. Jesus proved that he was alive by eating food.
The fourth thing that Jesus did was to “open their minds to understand the Scriptures”. In expounding the Scriptures to them, he was unfolding the future as well as the past. Jesus was giving them Biblical theology to give them an understanding of God’s Plan for salvation and the coming of His Kingdom. (Michael Wilcock The Message of Luke p213)
While the cross appeared to annul the Messiahship of Jesus, the resurrection confirms it. (Douglas Hare in Matthew p329)
The cross was not forced on God. It was not an emergency measure when all else had failed and when the scheme of things had gone wrong. It was part of the plan of God, for the cross is the one place on Earth, where, in a moment of time, we see the eternal love of God. (William Barclay in The Gospel of Luke p312)
Poem: ‘Why should He die for such as I’
by Helen Steiner Rice
In everything both great and small
We see the hand of God in all,
And in the miracles of Spring
When everywhere in everything
His handiwork is all around
And every lovely sight and sound
Proclaims the God of Earth and sky
I ask myself, “Just who am I?’
That God should send His only Son
That my salvation should be won
Upon a cross by a sinless man
To bring fulfillment to God’s Plan
For Jesus suffered, bled and died
That sinners might be sanctified
And to grant God’s children such as I
Eternal life in that home on high.
(from God’s Garden of Grace by Helen Steiner Rice pp 62 & 63)
Hymn: “We sing the praise of Him who died” TiS347 AHB262 MHB196
We light the seventh candle
Equipped to serve
Luke 24: 46 to 49
46 Jesus said to them, “This is what is written:
‘The Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, 47 and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all Nations, beginning in Jerusalem.’ 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the City until the power from above comes down upon you.”
“’The Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later” Luke 24: 46
There is now belief among those in the Upper Room that Jesus Christ has been raised to life. The followers of Jesus could not progress unless they were in a committed relationship with the risen Christ. There is a clarity in an understanding from Scripture of why the Messiah would suffer, die and be raised. There is a clarity in an understanding of God’s Plan for repentance and the forgiveness of sins.
It is only then that Jesus confirms that they are “witnesses of these things”, and that Jesus commands them that “in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all Nations, beginning in Jerusalem”.
They have been equipped to serve God. The Word of salvation brings a plan and a purpose for God’s people.
The Church was not left to live forever in the Upper room, it was sent out into the World.
(William Barclay in The Gospel of Luke p312)
How vital is it for us as well. Firstly, we , too, must individually know and experience the reality of the risen Christ. For how can we share the reality of Jesus Christ unless he is real to us. Secondly, we, too, must be diligent in developing a real understanding of Jesus Christ as the Messiah through prayer and Bible study. For how can we share the reality of repentance and the forgiveness of sins unless we have a real understanding of God’s plan and purpose for His people.
The Church today is not to spend its time within the four walls of its buildings. We have been sent out into the World as witnesses to God’s love and grace for all people.
Poem: ‘An Easter Meditation’
by Helen Steiner RiceIn the glorious Easter Story
A troubled World can find
And enduring peace of mind,
For though we grow discouraged
In this world we’re living in,
There is comfort just in knowing
That God triumphed over sin,
For our Saviour’s resurrection
Was God’s way of telling men
That in Christ we are eternal
And in Him we live again,
And to know life in unending
And God’s love is endless too,
Makes our daily tasks and burdens
So much easier to do,
And our Earthly trials and problems
Are but guideposts on the way
To the love and life eternal
That God promised Easter Day.
(in Loving Thoughts from Helen Steiner Rice p71)
Hymn: ‘Christ the Lord is risen again’ TiS365 AHB282 MHB207
[This hymn is sung to the tune Monkland – the same tune as ‘Let us with a gladsome mind’.
Christ the Lord is risen again;
Christ has broken every chain;
Hark, the angels shout for joy,
Sing “Hallelujah!” on high.
Verse 2 of 5
He who bore all pain and loss
Comfortless upon the cross
Lives in glory now on high,
Pleads for us, and hears our cry.
Verse 3 of 5
He who slumbered in the grave
Is exalted now to save;
Now through all the Church it rings
That the Lamb is King of kings.
Verse 4 of 5
Now he bids us tell abroad
How the lost may be restored,
How the penitent forgiven,
How we too may enter Heaven.
Verse 5 of 5
Christ, our paschal Lamb indeed,
Christ, your ransomed people feed.
At the end of Earthly strife
Raise us, Lord, to endless life.
translated by Catherine Winkworth
We light the Christ candle
“For the life that you have given” TiS774
[This YouTube clip is for another hymn so disregard the words – only the one verse is needed.]
For the life that you have given,
For the love in Christ made known,
With these fruits of time and labour,
With these gifts that are your own:
Here we offer, Lord, our praises;
Heart and mind and strength we bring;
Give us grace to love and serve you,
Living what we pray and sing.
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Prayers for Others
Let us come before God with our cares and our concerns.
We pray for the leaders of nations and for the leadership of different races and peoples, that they will stop following the false gods of this age, the gods of power, of prestige, of finance, of ideology, of class and status, of culture, and of pragmatism, and that you will open their hearts and minds to the truth of the resurrection of your son, Jesus, and the implications of this in terms of your will for us to live in a right relationship with you and with our neighbours far and close, and of seeking to be guided by what is pure and good and just and kind.
As you had bridged the divide between yourself and Humanity 2000 years ago, we pray that, in like manner, your will inspire And equip people to bridge the divisions and the differences within our families, within our neighbourhoods, within our cities and our regions, and between nations. We pray for true repentance for wrongs committed and true forgiveness for wrongs experienced.
We pray for your comfort and reassurance for those who are distressed because of illness or injury, for those who Are troubled in mind and spirit, for those who suffer through discrimination, or oppression or unfair work practices, for those who experience physical or emotional abuse, for those who have suffered loss and experienced hardship as a result of natural disasters and economic or political or social upheavals.
We pray that you will guide your Church to be a clear and simple witness to the truth of your Word, the Bible, and to the sure promise of sins forgiven and forgotten. We pray that the Church will move beyond the comfort of the four walls of its buildings to the challenge of conversing with those who have never ventured into a church. We pray for an end to divisions within the church family, and for a real endeavour to forge constructive pathways for reconciliation and cooperation I mission and ministry and caring for the needy.
(from Raymond Chapman in Leading Intercessions pp20 & 21, and David Hostetter in Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People Year C p88)
‘An Easter Prayer for Peace’
by Helen Steiner Rice
Our Father, up in Heaven, hear this Easter prayer,
May the peoples of all Nations be united in your care,
For Earth’s peace and our salvation can come only by your grace
And not through bombs and missiles and our quest for Outer space.
For until all people recognise that the battle is the Lord’s
And peace on Earth cannot be won with strategy and swords,
We will go on vainly fighting, as we have in ages past,
Finding only empty victories and a peace that cannot last.
But we’ve grown so rich and mighty and so arrogantly strong,
We no longer ask in humbleness, “God, show us where we’re wrong?”
We have come to trust completely in the power of man-made things,
Unmindful of God’s mighty power and that He is ‘King of kings’.
We have turned our eyes from Him to go our selfish way,
And money, power and pleasure are the gods we serve today.
And the good green Earth God gave us to peacefully enjoy,
Through greed and fear and hatred we are seeking to destroy.
Oh Father, up in /heaven, stir and wake our sleeping souls,
Renew our faith and lift us up and give us higher goals,
And grant us Heavenly guidance as Easter comes again,
For, more than guided missiles, all the World needs guided men.
(from Loving Thoughts from Helen Steiner Rice pp66 & 67)
Loving God, we bring these prayers to you, trusting in your compassion and care. To your glory we pray.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come,
your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
Hymn: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives’ TiS376 AHB299 MHB235[This hymn is sung to the tune Church Triumphant – a verse is played as an introduction.]
Verse 1 of 4
I know that my redeemer lives –
What joy the blest assurance gives!
He live, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my everlasting Head.
Verse 2 of 4
He lives, to bless me with his love;
He lives, to plead for me above;
He lives, my hungry soul to feed;
He lives, to help in time of need.
Verse 3 of 4
He lives, and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives, my mansion to prepare;
He lives, to lead me safely there.
Verse 4 of 4
He lives, all glory to his name;
He lives, my Saviour, still the same;
What joy the blest assurance gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives.
‘A wonderful joy’
by Henry Bosch
A wonderful joy is now flooding my heart
Giving assurance that will not depart
My Saviour is living and reigning above
Life has rich meaning because of His love.
(in Our daily Bread March April May 2006 8 April)
And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
“Now to Him who love us, gave us” TiS771
[This hymn is sung to the tune Triumph – the same tune as ‘Look ye saints the sight is glorious’]
[ only the one verse is needed.]
Now to him who loved us, gave us
Every pledge that love could give,
Freely shed his blood to save us,
Gave his life that we might live,
Be the Kingdom
And the glory evermore.