Home Service for Easter Sunday 4th April 2021

Opening Prayers
We worship together in spirit and in truth, though not in person.
We pray and listen to God’s Word despite the fear that pervades our community.
We trust Christ’s peace, a peace given freely, despite our doubts and fears.
We know the Holy Spirit is among us, blowing with a hopeful wind of change.
We feel the presence of Christ, the one who died and rose again, and brings us eternal life.
We submit to God’s leading in this time of change.
We experience the joy of Easter morning when we celebrate all God has in store for us. Amen
Living Lord, when we stand before the empty tomb we don’t always feel the joy of resurrection. We feel
fear, doubt, and distrust. We feel empty.
Forgive the fear that paralyses us at the brink of new life. Forgive our doubt of your love.
Forgive our distrust of your surprising, joyous plan. Fill our emptiness with your glorious light.
Raise us to abundant new life for the glory of your name. Amen

Psalm 22:1-5, 22-23
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honour him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

Reflection
Most of our partnership will be facing another Holy Week unable to participate in person with the rituals
that make this such a significant and moving week in the life of a Christian. A dozen or so of us will be
wondering if they can even get out of hospital before Easter Sunday. For others, this will be their first Holy
Week apart from their loved one.
I’m conscious that our Jewish neighbours are similarly struggling to mark Passover, while Hindus, Sikhs and
Muslims, all have festivals at this time of year, too, which will look and seem very different. We’ve all lost
such a lot, people are suffering from “emotional long covid”.
At his very death Jesus cried out: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus knows about solitude
(and solidarity) – even God abandoned Him. Such is the high price that He paid so we don’t have to. God will
never abandon us.
I hope that as people of faith we can be part of God’s plan to heal our world. Speaking as a Christian, I give
thanks that in Jesus we know God is with us in our suffering, our sorrowing and our dying, and that death is
not the end, because love and life go on in Him.
We’ve have been commissioned to undertake Jesus’ work here on earth. I’d like to share a poem that was
recently sent anonymously to the Chaplaincy team, that tells of that commission in practise. I was not alone
As the sun goes down and the night’s sky gains it’s brightest star
remember I am still here with you and I have not gone so far
Don’t shed a tear on how time ended, instead you should be proud
the nurses and doctors cared so well for me and their hard work should be sung out loud
They tended to my every need, they never stopped for a rest
they spent their time right here with me and made sure they did their best
From telling me how their day was going or humming in my ear a song
they made sure they met all my needs, the team could do no wrong
I want you to know that you were there in my thoughts and we were never apart
and all who cared for me did it with kindness in their heart
From holding my hand, or combing my hair they all felt like an old friend
they never left my side for a second they stayed there until the end
So please don’t waste time worrying that the nearest you could be was on a phone
one thing I can assure you my dear was that I was not alone
We, all of us, have played our part in Christ’s commission over the past 12 months. Our churches should,
quite rightly, be proud of the strength, support, guidance, prayer and comfort that we have offered to our
community both inside and outside of church and hospital. Every pastoral phone call made, every bestwishes card posted, every HomeService delivered, every elders’ decision made has brought glory to our God.
As things start to get back to normal, let us all pray that we can continue to experience this feeling of oneness, not just with our fellow congregants but also with God.

I wish you a Happy Easter. May it overflow with hope and joy.
Jim

A thanksgiving prayer
We give thanks to you Lord, for you have done marvellous things!
when we were walking in darkness, you were there
when we were kneeling in weakness, you were there
when we drew near feeling worthless, you were there
when we were needing forgiveness, you were there
when we were searching for your grace, you were there, you were there
We give thanks to you Lord, for you have done marvellous things! Amen.
Sending out prayer
May we follow wherever your Spirit may lead.
May we love with the love of Jesus flowing through us.
May we, body, mind and spirit, be children of resurrection, children of hope, children of grace.
In Christ Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Suggested hymns/songs
And can it be that I should gain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQeIGbKqiw8)
After darkness, light (www.youtube.com/watch?v=86WyqeJL3ew)
Here in the power of Christ I stand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kvFtXphmMU)
Christ is risen today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cFSN3nCydc)

Go deeper
Enhance your Easter this year – read all of Psalm 22 and then reflect on the your version of the Easter story.

Feeling Lonely?
Call Jim 07484221809 or Janet 07713573622

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