Sunday Guided Tour - Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
Here is the link to the U - Tube worship service
Read the text below at your leisure or follow along with Rev. Jim and and Rick Young - Music Director
You can also access this at Facebook : Friends of TrinityUnitedChurchThorold.
It is the Lord, in the dawning
in the renewal,
in the arrival,
in the new day.
It is the Lord, in the crowd,
in the church,
in the home,
in the conversation,
in the meditation,
in the prayer,
in the crisis.
It is the Lord, in our joys,
in our sorrows,
in our separation,
in our sickness,
in our health.
It is the Lord, in the stable,
in the humble,
in the stranger,
in the hopeful,
in the hungry,
in the poor.
It is the Lord, risen and returned,
alive for evermore,
giving us new life,
saving us in strife,
It is the Lord.
(after David Adam, England (based on John 20:1-18))
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today. Hymn #155
Our Prayer together, in heart and soul and spirit:
In our prayer, and joined in spirit, we sing to you, God of grace and love. We sing to you, God of Creation, sovereign over all the earth. You surprise us in your resurrection power: at work in Jesus’ life and death, bringing new beginnings, showing up in unexpected places. You surprise us in your resurrection power: at work in our lives and our deaths - the places where we have given up and do not expect you to act in any way that matters. You surprise us in your resurrection power: calling us by name, giving us each other - a family of friends and faith, your new community of grace and truth and hope and love. Now, in our praise, in our trusting and our waiting, we pray you enter our lives again. Enter our lives with power for newness, with courage to love each other and your world, with hope and peace and joy that we might be your new Creation in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen. (after Christine Jerrett, Church House, Toronto)
Today we hear and celebrate the story of Easter morning as it’s told to us by John. The story is one that is utterly familiar to so many. It is a constant to the faith and to the faithful; it’s a known; it’s a touchstone of the true and the dependable in a time when so much is unsure and unpredictable. In our faith, we are assured. And in the Psalm, the psalmist expresses the faith and strong assurance that is ours in God, a promise not just to us, but all the world.
Prayer for Illumination:
Gracious Holy Spirit, by your love we see more clearly, and in the heartbeat of your love, our souls are restored. Be with us now, we pray, and guide us in the possibilities and promise of community and healing and relationships made new. We pray in Jesus’ name, a Risen Son, and Saviour. Amen.
Congregational Reading: from Psalm 118 (after The Message)
God is my strength and my song
One: We thank you, God, because you are good,
because your love never quits.
All: As people of faith, O God, we tell the world,
“Your love never quits.”
We proclaim, “You are my strength;
you are also my song;
and now you are my salvation.
One: Do you hear the shouts, the triumph songs
in the camp of the saved?
“The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the tide!”
I didn’t die. I lived!
All: And now I’m telling the world what you did.
O God, it was as though I was being tested,
being pushed hard,
but I was not handed over to death.
One: Swing wide the city gates - the righteous gates!
We’ll walk right through and give our thanks to God!
All: This Temple Gate belongs to God,
so all of us, together victors, can enter and praise!
One: Thank you for responding to us, O God;
You are truly our salvation!
All: The stone the builders rejected has become
the cornerstone of our lives!
One: This is God’s work.
All: We rub our eyes - we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted -
let’s celebrate and be festive!
Sung Response: #169 (Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing), v. 3
Praise we in songs of victory
that love, that life which cannot die,
and sing with hearts uplifted high:
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
Gospel Reading: John 20:1-18 (The Message)
Love assured, and lives restored
1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew the Scripture promise that he would be raised from death. The disciples then went back home.
11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb, weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where you laid him so I can care for him.”
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”
17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.
The Day of Resurrection. Hymn #164
Reflection for Easter
The Bible readings we hear this morning are among the most traditional readings for Easter Sunday. The psalmist speaks words of faith not only to the faithful - the faithful individual - but to the whole community, apeople, and, really,to the world.
We tell the world, the psalmist says, your love never quits; you are our strength, our song; and now you’re our salvation.
The psalmist takes the words of one, and declares them to the world!
The hand of God has turned the tide! The hand of God is raised in victory!
I didn’t die. I lived! And now I’m telling the world what you did.
O God, it was as though I was being tested, being pushed hard,
but I was not handed over to death.
The early Christians were especially attentive to the words the psalmist spoke not only to the promise of their own lives, but to their sudden understanding of the life and work of Jesus:
The stone the builders rejected, says the psalmist, has become the cornerstone of our lives!
Indeed, the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone of life for all the world, and life fulfilled!
The gospel-writer’s message is the same.
In the tale he tells of Mary Magdalene, John reveals the[promise of the God whose love never quits; a God who is the strength of Mary Magdalene, her song, and her salvation ..
Upon the death of Jesus, her master and her teacher, the One who loved her and who honoured and upheld her, Mary’s life was over. It had ended. The only thing that she could hope to do was see him and say good-bye, and maybe hold him one last time. She was disheartened, abandoned and alone, and almost lifeless; and her seeking, so it seemed, was doomed. The One she loved was gone. He wasn’t even there inside the tomb. Despite the question proffered by the angels, no encouragement was hers. Her life was over.
Then the seeming gardener asked exactly the same question:
“Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
And Mary Magdalene, not recognizing who he was in resurrection, said:
“Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where you laid him so I can care for him.”
And Jesus, in the way she’d always known, said, “Mary ..”
And in that instant, she was changed.
In that instant, in that moment, her whole life was restored;
and more than that, it was made new!
The darkness and the weight and worry were all lifted,and she was made alive!
“Rabboni!” she exclaimed!
And you can see her almost leap to hold him as he says, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”
And then John tells us: Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.
In her dying in this life, Mary Magdalene was raised to life.
She was restored, renewed, and strengthened ina way she could hardly have imagined.
It’s our story and our promise to the world this very day.
By God’s resurrection power, Mary Magdalene was raised to life!
God’s resurrection power assures it’s life, and never death, that has the final word.
God’s resurrection power assures that we have the spirit, the strength, to work through days of darkness, and endure and sacrifice, in order to provide a better day.
And in Jesus raised from death we know that Christ is with us, loving us, and holding us, assuring us, and leading us in love and into life, and life for all the world.
This is the promise that is Easter!
This is the gift of Christian people to the world!
Thanks be to God!
This Joyful Eastertide. Hymn #177
Commissioning and Benediction:
As people of the faith,
we live our lives together with the risen Christ!
We pray that we can share our faith in words and ways, and ways of living,
that the wonder that is life renewed and life made new
might be known in all the world!
And may the grace of Christ attend us, and the love of God surround us,
and the Holy Spirit keep us, this day, and forevermore.
Easter Postlude (as selected by Rick Young)
A Prayer for Easter Sunday
(with reference to an Easter prayer by the Very Right Rev. David Arnott, Church of Scotland)
God of love and life and life redeemed from death, today, together as your people ‘round the world, we join our voices all as one and sing out, “Hallelujah!”
“Hallelujah!”, despite the darkness and the fear, the grief, the loss, the separation, the hurts and the unknowns that serve to keep us from each other, and try to force us to not care. Today, we dare to speak our “Hallelujah” in the face and midst of all that works to keep us silent. In you, there is the light of life and love, a holy promise that the darkness cannot overcome. And we sing out together, “Hallelujah!”
On that first Easter morning, the gravestone of the tomb should have smothered every hope. And yet, the stone had been rolled away:
the stone of despair and hopelessness -
that the light of Christ was freed to shine
into the darkness and
bring joy and warmth again, for evermore.
The stone had been rolled away:
for those still stuck at Good Friday;
those whose strength is failing through ill-health;
whose spirits are flagging through depression;
whose determination is being sapped through addiction.
Lord God, the stone was rolled away
that we might better see the path stretching out before us -
a path unused except for your footprints
etched out in the morning dew.
In the light and the glory of the resurrection
We pray for our world:
for regions of violence and hostility;
for lands where famine and disease are rife;
for peoples who look in vain for the rains to come to guarantee a harvest;
for all those who today would struggle to find joy in the resurrection story.
Bless our leaders everywhere, who work for justice and for truth, for peace and healing, and the recognition that to care for one another is a sacred trust.
Bless the ministry we share at Trinity here in Thorold; and bless the work of every faith tradition and all people of goodwill, that we may constantly serve faithfully the cause of life and love for all.
On this Easter Day, we pray you hear our own prayers in silence as we remember before you those nearest and dearest to our own hearts confident that you care and that you hear the prayer of every earnest heart ….
We offer these prayers to you Lord God always mindful of the great company who compass you about, the beloved of life and living through the ages. As ones inspired by their living, may we continue so to do till the day of our coming home to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.