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Worship Sheet for Sunday 4 April, Easter Sunday – Easter changes things

Easter offers hope, it always has, and in one sense this year is no different. Yet, we need to remember that just as the first Easter wasn’t a fulfilment of people’s expectations, Easter 2021 shouldn’t be seen as offering a hope of a return to “normal”. That is unlikely even in everyday matters, it certainly isn’t spiritually – for Jesus came to take us forward to a new beginning, a new hope, not for us to cling to the past.
Call: Jesus was dead, laid in a tomb. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! Morning has broken, tomb now empty. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! A new day has come, life not undone. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! Come and worship, the Lord is here! All: Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : Lord, we rejoice that we can celebrate Easter again, and even that some can be in Church in person. Yet, the restrictions persist, and we are not yet allowed to sing, We’re still limited to how we can gather and what is open. Folks are still getting ill, are in hospital and dying though certainly things are much improved, and for that we are grateful. Are we asking too much? Are we wrong to hope for more? We long for freedom to be able to live openly, to mix safely and share socially with friends and family as we’d like. Not yet! We can understand, we’d hate to set things back, to make our loved ones ill but it doesn’t prevent us living in hope. Help us to have that kind of hope for a better world too – for love and grace to replace selfishness and greed. Help us not to cling to the past and simply make the best of a bad job. Fill us with new life, awaken us to the possibilities of faith and love which Jesus died and rose to share. Enable us to lay down our sin, all that holds us back; forgive us and give us grace to live as risen people, raised to new life in your dear Son who taught us to pray together saying: Our Father…

Todays Bible reading - Listen by clicking on the image or using the sound bar below
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John 20:1-18 Jesus is alive.
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Thought- It is hard for us to imagine the range of emotions felt by the women who went to the tomb and the first disciples that first Easter Day – fear and faith intertwined, hope against hopelessness. Yet, their hope got the better of their fears and slowly the good news that Jesus was alive began to dawn on them. As he had promised, his death was not the end - and here he was risen on the third day. What lay ahead? Jesus had spoken of that too – new life in fellowship with God, sins forgiven, lives restored and a way of life that was good and positive – freedom to live as God intended. Not, as many had imagined, free from sorrow and conflict; not the immediate solution to all their problems – but a new beginning of faith, forgiveness, and hope. And Jesus offers us that too. Easter 2021 offers not a return to how things were; not instant from covid and all the harm it has caused personally, socially, economically and so on; not the overnight resolution to world poverty, racism, violence, all manner of injustice and climate issues but a future that changes hearts and minds for the better and places love, grace and forgiveness to the fore – enabling us to address all these big issues and many more. Mary was told not to cling to Jesus. It wasn’t a no touch ban, it wasn’t a two metre distancing rule – but a reminder that things wouldn’t be back to how they were – they were to change, big time. Jesus was to return to his heavenly Father. He would be with them (and us) always – but in a different way. Celebrating Easter and Jesus’ resurrection is great, even if muted for now. I look forward to the time we can belt out “Jesus Christ is risen today” in Church with gusto – and I intend to have it on the hymn list again long before next Easter but there is a lesson here – Easter is not about clinging on to the past. We need to go forward into God’s future with faith and hope in Jesus.

Praise: Hymn CH4 410 Jesus Christ is risen today Alleluia v 1-3.
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: Lord, in the midst of a still very troubled world where so many live in fear and with little hope, help us not only to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and evil but to be ready to walk with him into a new future filled with love and grace, aimed at bringing the love and grace of God to a world so much in need. Help us not to cling to outmoded thoughts and practices but to choose the new life Jesus offers; give us the grace to walk his way, into his future – for the world’s sake, for your sake. We commit to you those we know who’ve been hard hit in the last year, and for all of us who in our different ways have struggled or missed out; bless the world as a whole with all the ongoing challenges we face – not just of covid but hatred, violence, poverty, racism and so much more. Open the way for folk to respond to Jesus’ promise of new life and to come to know his peace which passes all understanding. In our prayer walk we remember those who live or work in Whinfield Road. SILENCE

Lord hear our prayers spoken and unspoken and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.