The first week of the Easter Season
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Great is the mystery of faith.
Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!
Greetings and I wish you joy and blessings for this Eastertide.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! are the opening words come from the start of our Eastertide worship and an affirmation of the faith. The words ‘Great is the mystery of faith’ and ‘Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!’ are also part our affirmation of faith but it also recognises there is a mysterious element to our faith and by its very nature means we don’t have all the answers.
In celebrating the joy of Easter, we cannot, however, escape the fact that Jesus died. I remember being asked to conduct a funeral, I met with a few family members. One of the family members asked if I would not use the word ‘died’ or ‘dead’. I tried to explain that it would be very difficult because it was the death of their loved one that had brought us together. There are many euphemisms around death, some funny, some not, generally they mask the harshness of death, so we have ‘passed away’, ‘passed’ or ‘lost’. To keep it simple Jesus died or rather he was killed, brutally killed. But in the mystery of Easter Jesus rose from that death. I think most of us like a good mystery whether it be in film, video or book. The resurrection is such a mystery but a lot more, it is not something we can easily explain, it does not appear rational but across the millennia stories of encounters with the risen Jesus have fuelled faith, changed lives and have given people purpose to their lives.
The Easter season is, however, about more than Jesus walking out of the tomb where waited for three days. It is about a very personal a story for today and every day. A story about how we can be transformed and know new life. It’s an affirmation of God’s love for humanity, a statement where we are all invited into relationship with the Lord and to become followers of Jesus.
During the next 50 days, Eastertide, there will be a weekly reflection which will include a short period of daily prayers for the season and a Gospel verse(s) for each day.
I also suggest that you read through the Acts of the Apostle during the 50 days of Easter. Read at your pace, re-read verses if you wish, just slowly engage with the story of the early Church and how the Good News, the Easter story, was shared.
At the end of the daily prayers there are suggested readings from Acts for the week. I have used the Revised Common Lectionary as a source
Moments of stillness, reflection and prayers
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen
O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.
If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also. Psalm 139:7
Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with him.
Yesterday I was dead with Christ; today I am sharing in his resurrection.
Yesterday I was buried with him; today I am waking with him from the sleep of death.
(Gregory of Nazianzus (389))
Words from Psalm 117
Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever. Amen
Alleluia, alleluia, read and hear words from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Slowly read these words, let them become special words for today.
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.2So 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.’
God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb.
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
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 round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ 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.’16Jesus 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.
Lord, you have promised to hear those who pray to you in faith:
Lord, hear now the prayers we offer…
God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Intercessions may be offered for friends and family, our church and for the leaders of Church and nation.
God of love and light,
in this time of fear, give us your peace.
In this time of isolation, give us your presence.
In this time of sickness, give us your healing.
In this time of uncertainty, give us your wisdom.
In this time of darkness, shine your light upon us all.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of 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.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven…
May God fill us all with hope, joy, patience and enthusiasm this Easter season so we can continue to be a follower of Jesus who has suffered, died and has risen..
Every blessings to you and your families!
May the souls of departed through the mercy of God rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.
Alleluia. Christ is risen He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Easter Readings from Acts – The 50 days of Easter
Easter Day (1) Acts 10.34-43
Monday (2) Acts 2.14,22-32
Tuesday (3) Acts 2.36-41
Wednesday (4) Acts 3.1-10
Thursday (5) Acts 3.11- end
Friday (6) Acts 4.1-12
Saturday (7) Acts 4.13-21
Sunday (8) Acts 4.32-35
Monday (9) Acts 4.23-31
Tuesday (10) Acts 4.32-end
Rev Derek Akker
Image from sspiehs3 from Pixabay