A Travellerspoint blog

April 4, 2021

Easter Day

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP

Prelude: Trumpet Voluntary: The Prince of Denmark's March Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707)

HYMN: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Let us pray. O God, our King, by the resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ, on the first day of the week, you conquered sin, put death to flight, and gave us the hope of everlasting life: Redeem all our days by this victory; forgive what is past, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will; and steel us to wait for the triumph of your Kingdom. Amen.

A Reading from the letter of Paul to the church at Corinth Reader: Fran Cobb

I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you--unless you have come to believe in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them--though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. (15:1-11)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 118:14-17, 22-24

The LORD is my strength and my song, *
and he has become my salvation.

There is a sound of exultation and victory *
in the tents of the righteous:

"The right hand of the LORD has triumphed! *
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!

I shall not die, but live, *
and declare the works of the LORD.

The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the LORD'S doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

On this day the LORD has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

A Reading from the Gospel of John Reader: Carol Barry

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (20:1-18)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

“Mary stood weeping outside the tomb…”

Don’t you wonder why Mary went back to the tomb? After all, she had watched Jesus breathe his last. Did she expect to find Jesus there, find that it had all been a big mistake, a horrible dream? Was she hoping against hope that maybe he had recovered and maybe she would see him again? Did she come to assure herself that he was really gone, that the horror of it all was true?

Or did she come to the tomb as we all go to such places to remember and to cry, to be as close as you can to the one you love, even though it is never never close enough? You go, knowing that there is nothing you can do. You have buried your fondest hopes and deepest loves. Yet even knowing this you go to the dead place, to mourn and to remember what it was like when he was still alive, when she was your shining dream, when he, when she, still fit in your arms. I see people coming like this to church cemeteries, some visiting those who are interred there, others coming because there is no other place where they can go to mourn. Cemeteries are not dead places; they are filled with the living seeking comfort, reassurance, connection, seeking hope that death is not all there is.

But this story of Mary going to the tomb is not told to us as a little illustration of what to do when a loved one dies. We know how to do that. This story is a bigger one; a story of what to do when we find Jesus dead, or at least dead to us, entombed in church or buried in the stories of our childhood.

I don’t think many of you would claim to have had visions of the Lord or to have heard God’s voice, but I think you have, and I think that is why many of you are here. I think that once upon a time you had an experience when Jesus walked with you and talked with you and told you that you were his own, and it’s hard to remember, and sometimes you wonder if it really happened, but for a fleeting moment you recall the day when a prayer seemed to be spoken within you, in words you hardly knew, or you recall a morning when you came to receive Holy Communion and expected it to be a pro forma thing, but your heart was strangely warmed and something was different, and God was there, really there inside you. Or maybe it was not a religious event; maybe it happened at home in the midst of a family battle. And you felt righteous and right and you had the upper hand – but somehow you understood that being in relationship was more important than being right, and you offered peace where there had been conflict, and it seemed like God was in the middle of it all for that sort of thing would have been impossible for you, possible only for God. Or maybe you watched a sun rise or heard the ocean roar and felt for a moment like God was there, like it was the beginning of creation? So you come here today, we come here today, like Mary came, hoping to find the Lord again, hoping that life isn’t just more of the same old same old, that maybe Easter means something, that maybe our view is too small, too limited. Maybe as with Mary, the Risen Christ is all around us and we do not see him because we suppose him to be the gardener.

I was once told a story of limited vision like this, the story of a schoolteacher who taught children in a large city hospital. She had been assigned to a boy in fifth grade and asked to work on grammar. It wasn't until the visiting teacher got outside the boy's room that she realized that she was in the hospital's burn unit. No one had prepared her to find a young boy horribly scarred and in great pain. The teacher knew that she couldn't just turn around and leave. And so she prayed – or at least she said, ‘Good God, help me’ - and then she stammered awkwardly, "I'm the hospital teacher, and I’m here to help you with your lessons. We’ll be working on verbs and adverbs today." The boy was in so much pain that he barely responded. The young teacher hurried through the session, ashamed of putting him through such a senseless exercise.

The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" and before the teacher could finish her outburst of apologies, the nurse interrupted her: "You don't understand. We've been very worried about him. But ever since you came yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back; he's responding to treatment. It's as if he has decided to live."

The boy later described what had happened. He had given up hope, he said, he hurt too much to fight anymore until he figured out that, "They wouldn't send a teacher to work on verbs and adverbs with a boy who was dying, now would they?" The boy felt hopeless until he met someone who believed for him what was too hard for him to believe himself.

It was the same for Mary Magdalene. Mary certainly did not believe that Jesus could rise again. Even when he stood right beside her, she thought he was a gardener. All of us give up hope and settle for too little, all of us get small in our thinking until the Easter dawn rises and we hear Jesus call our name, until we hear the trumpet sound and hear the words Jesus Christ IS Risen Today. Not just 2000 years ago but now, today, there is hope.

For if God can conquer death and roll away the stone, then maybe, just maybe God can enter the tombs of our lives and bring light into our darkness, and maybe, just maybe, God can roll away the heavy stones of prejudice and fear and greed that keep our world in darkness. Just maybe God can turn weeping into dancing. Just maybe God can call us to a task that will turn our life around.

Without Easter, we can’t do much. Our vision is small, and our paltry powers too few and too weak to change the world. But Easter comes to enlarge our vision beyond our wildest imagining. Easter comes to proclaim God with us. He is risen from the dead. Wow! We have seen the Lord. Amen! Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Prayers

On this Easter feast of hope and joy, let us bring before God the needs of our world with confidence, for the Lord is risen and walks among us!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who live in fear of terrorism and racism, for all who struggle for freedom and peace, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for the rulers of the nations, that they may govern with equity and justice, and work together for the common good, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for ourselves, that through holiness of life and generosity of spirit we may reveal the vastness of your love, and that through the diversity of our belief and practice, we may witness to our unity under one Lord, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who suffer, for the lonely and depressed, the hungry and homeless, the unemployed and impoverished, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who mourn, trusting that God will wipe away their tears and fill their hearts with the promise of life eternal, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who have died trusting that the dead shall live, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Lord of life, we thank you for the mystery of life sprung from death and hope risen from despair. Bless us with the grace and will to care for the earth and for each other, and with the faith of Mary Magdalene to hear your voice whenever you call. Amen.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three gather in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

Go now in the name of God, and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.

HYMN: He Is Risen

Postlude: Trumpet Tune Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707)

Officiant: The Reverend William J. Eakins
Preacher: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
Piano: Arnold Amstutz
Trumpet: Ryan Yacos
Usher: Phil Reynolds
Flowers: Carol Barry

An Easter Gift

Many months ago, the Christmas angels were delayed in delivering their gifts because of Covid, and they had to put their packages in quarantine. God was sad that there were no Lessons read and Carolssung - and no gifts, so God sent the Wise Men along to help the angels bring the presents to Duncaster. But alas, we were still unable to worship when the Magi arrived on Epiphany. Our loving God has tried again. So after singing He Is Risen, please wait as ushers pass Easter gifts to the congregation. Choose an Easter gift and feel to trade with each other; exchange is part of the fun.

The following exuberant poem, Easter, by Gerard Manley Hopkins is offered to us by Dianne Jones

Break the box and shed the nard;
Stop not now to count the cost;
Hither bring pearl, opal, sard;
Reck not what the poor have lost;
Upon Christ throw all away:
Know ye, this is Easter Day.
Build His church and deck His shrine,
Empty though it be on earth;
Ye have kept your choicest wine—
Let it flow for heavenly mirth;
Pluck the harp and breathe the horn:
Know ye not 'tis Easter morn?
Gather gladness from the skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter's robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.
Beauty now for ashes wear,
Perfumes for the garb of woe,
Chaplets for dishevelled hair,
Dances for sad footsteps slow;
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.
Seek God's house in happy throng;
Crowded let His table be;
Mingle praises, prayer, and song,
Singing to the Trinity.
Henceforth let your souls always
Make each morn an Easter Day..

Posted by HopeEakins 19:19 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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