EASTER DAY 12/4/20

The Cross Country Parishes

On this page 
Sermon, readings, prayers and hymns for EASTER DAY

10.00am Sing Resurrection
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland are encouraging Christians to sing Thine be the Glory  and Jesus Christ is risen today in their gardens, from their doorsteps, balconies, or anywhere else they can be heard at 10.00 am on Easter Day.  Accompaniment and words can be found at the bottom of this page

8.00pm Bishop Keith has called for us to pray for the Diocese and for the World every Sunday evening by lighting a candle. 

On line  
6.35 am BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a Sunrise Service.

8.10am BBC Radio 4 a Service lead by The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover, +Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

10.00am Bishop Keith is livestreaming an Easter Eucharist via the Cathedral's streaming site at: https://www.youtube.com/chestercathedralchoirandorgan

11.00am BBC 1 is broadcasting The Pope's Easter Message followed by an Easter Service from Bangor Cathedral at 11.25 am.

A Sermon for Easter Day 12 April 2020
Psalm 137: 1 – 6; John 20: 1 – 18

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

It is not so easy to proclaim the Easter Greeting this Easter Day as we as we remain together apart.  However loudly and confidently we proclaim the truth of Jesus’ resurrection in our own homes, it simply does not sound as triumphant as it does when we are gathered together in our churches.
Yet that is the least of our challenges on this most unusual Easter Day when many will feel the resurrection is a long way off.  The C of E Bishops, advising clergy on Holy Week and Easter, have described this challenging period as a prolonged Holy Saturday.  I wonder if many in this country, and many, many more around the world, would not prefer to think of it as a prolonged Good Friday. 
And yet, today is still Easter Day.  Christ is risen.  Death is conquered, however closely it continues to lurk.  So how can we sing our resurrection song in a strange land?  The Psalmist asked a similar question in Psalm 137; a Psalm made familiar by the 1970s hit By the Rivers of Babylon by Bony M. 
Finding themselves exiled in Babylon, removed from the Temple, and all that was familiar about their religion and faith in Jerusalem, the People of God asked “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”  It was easier to hang their harps on the willows and sit down and weep by the Euphrates, the Tigris and their tributaries. 
With the help of the prophets, the Israelites learned to settle and establish life and worship in Babylon.  Isaiah, especially, gave the people encouragement; describing how the faithful would return to Zion along a great highway with singing and gladness.  A prophecy which was fulfilled when most of the People of God did return eventually to Jerusalem.
So how can we follow the example of the Israelites, and sing a resurrection song in a strange land, even as it feels more appropriate, to remain in Good Friday and Holy Saturday?
If we are to proclaim the resurrection and to sing our resurrection songs with integrity this year, there are two things we need to be mindful of.  The first is to be confident in the truth that Jesus is alive.  Christ has risen; the tomb is empty; whatever our circumstances.  The second is to face the reality of Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
It has become less and less fashionable for Christians to spend time at the foot of the cross on Good Friday, meditating on the depth of love expressed by Jesus on the cross, and the true cost of that love.  Holy Saturday has always been a day which the Protestant tradition of the Anglican Church has struggled to observe meaningfully.  Yet it has much to teach us about waiting, especially if we can enter into the reality of the disciples on that first Holy Saturday, when they had no idea they were waiting, much less what they were waiting for.
This year, as we continue to wrestle with the all too real consequences of life and death in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been opportunity for those who are not keyworkers, to spend more time than usual entering into the isolation and cost of the crucifixion, and the lonely in-between waiting of Holy Saturday.
Meditating and entering into the depths of Good Friday and Holy Saturday will equip us well, as we proclaim our alleluias and sing our resurrection song on this strangest of Easter Days.  Having entered more deeply into Good Friday, we will be able to enter more deeply into the resurrection too.
For resurrection is not simply an opportunity to sing joyous hymns with a larger than usual congregation, wonderful as that is.  Resurrection is about the reality of the resurrected Christ who is alive and present in the whole of life.  It is about the resurrected Jesus who is alive and present in the difficult and painful parts of life as well as when life is good.
This year, we celebrate the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death, even as our world tilts on its access, and we begin to be aware that the life to which we return will be changed in ways we cannot know or imagine.  Yet we can face those uncertainties confident that the risen Jesus is present with us.  Confident that whatever is to come, the future can be transformed by the presence of the risen Jesus.  
However challenging, however inadequate it sounds, much less feels, we can sing our resurrection song in a strange land with confidence, and join our Alleluias to those of Christians around the world.  Confident that, even as we continue to search for signs of the resurrection in our own lives and in the life of the world around us, the resurrection is nonetheless both real and true.
I want to end with a poem written by Ruth Burgess.  Ruth is a writer, editor and member of the Iona Community.  She edits the collections which my creative work is published in.  When I sent her my Triduum for Covid-19 last week, she sent this poem and photograph in return, and has given permission to share it with you.

Resurrection will come.
This year it may not come
for us on Easter Sunday,
but we can wait…
You are locked down with us
Jesus on this strange journey.
Help us to trust you to bring us
safe home

© Ruth Burgess

Anne Lawson
11 April 2020

Prayers for Easter Day

The Collect for Easter Day

Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.  Amen.

Post Communion Prayer
God of Life,
who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son
to death o the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Blessed are you, Lord God our Father,
by whose power our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
We rejoice and celebrate that he who was dead is alive,
that he who was buried is risen.
Death is conquered, we are free,
Christ has won the victory.
Lord make us aware of the presence of the Risen Christ in our lives.
Let the church proclaim the good news, ‘He is risen!’
In the power of the risen Lord, let us lead people out of darkness into light.
Christ Jesus, risen in glory,
scatter the darkness from our hearts and from your world.

Lord Jesus, as we rejoice this day,
we remember your words to the disciples,
‘Peace be unto you.’
We pray for peace in all our world,
that we may rise above all that would cause strife and conflict,
that your victory over the powers of evil 
may be allowed to work in your world.
Christ Jesus, risen in glory,
scatter the darkness of our hearts and from your world.
Risen Lord, as you appeared to Mary in the garden,
to the disciples in the Upper Room,
to the travellers on the road to Emmaus,
be born among us.
Christ be in our homes, our work and our journeying.
Risen Lord, let us walk in your presence and peace.
Christ Jesus, risen in glory,
scatter the darkness from our hearts and from your world.

We rejoice in the glory of our Risen Lord
and of all your saints who have shared in your triumph 
over the grave and death.
We give thanks today for our loved ones departed,
that they may rejoice in the glory of your presence.
Christ Jesus, risen in glory,
scatter the darkness from our hearts and from your world.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

© David Adam 1998
Resurrection for COVID-19

Easter Day 2020

How can we sing a resurrection song 
in a strange land?
Together apart;
our churches locked;
secure as the garden tomb?

Yet life burst out
of the garden tomb.

Christ is risen,
even as we weep with Mary
searching for hope
in the cold first light
of an Easter Dawn.

© S Anne Lawson
Easter 2020

Hymns you might like to join in with or listen too are:
Jesus Christ is risen today!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6sj9ljVsfk
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U1MuOCHon4