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Easter Sunday 2020 (with audio from Fr Peter) | Barn Church Kew
Click here to listen to Fr Peter’s Easter Worship

Our worship together is in the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you:

         and also with you.

         Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this most holy morning when our Lord passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together to worship.  This is the Passover of the Lord.  We remember his death and resurrection by hearing his word and celebrating his mysteries, confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him forever.

Let us pray:

         Eternal God, who made this most holy morning to shine with the brightness of your one true light: set us aflame with the fire of your love, and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory: through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Easter Candle is marked

         Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him and all ages: to him be glory and power, for ever and ever.  Amen

         May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkenss from our hearts and minds.

         The Light of Christ!  Thanks be to God!

         The Light of Christ!  Thanks be to God!

         The Light of Christ!  Thanks be to God!

Hymn: Christ the Lord is risen today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15dmjnB8FZU

Confession:

         Christ died to sin once for all, and now lives to God.  Let us renew our resolve to have done with all that is evil and confess our sins in penitence and faith.

         Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

         Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

.

         Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

         Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

         Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

         For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

Let us pray

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.  Amen

The Easter Song of Praise  (Shepphard):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feMyqiDVGNc

              Acts 10:34-43 

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God.

Hymn:  Now the green blade riseth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVduV0ustWw

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

         Glory to you, O Lord.

John 20:1-18 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”  So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

         Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

              Today was supposed to be my last working Sunday here, but it is not:  I am here for the foreseeable future, until the current circumstance change.  Today was supposed to be a day of family get-togethers and slap-up feasts, but it won’t be.  Today Mary Magdalene was supposed to be finishing off the burial rituals for Jesus’s body, but she didn’t, because she was interrupted by the gardener, or so she thought.

              Nothing is right today, and yet everything is absolutely right for Christ is risen!  Our normal Easter activities have been put on hold, and yet Christ is risen!  The churches are locked today, and yet Christ is risen!  It takes much more than a vicious virus to quash the joy of resurrection.  We will celebrate today, whatever our circumstances, however far away our families may be, because Christ is risen!

              While that might be enough exclamation marks for now, the extraordinary reason for today’s celebration far outweighs the restrictions of the current crisis.  We are separated from each other for each other’s sake, as life is precious and life is glorious, because Christ rose from the dead.  We do what we can to ease the burden on doctors and nurses, whose hard and dangerous work needs our acknowledgement and whose wellbeing deserves our constant prayer, by minimising the risk of infection, but our rejoicing in the risen Christ cannot be contained. 

              As the large-scale celebrations have had to be put on hold, everything has had to be scaled back to a more domestic level.  This is where the Easter story really begins.  Mary Magdalene is coming to the tomb to do for Jesus what could not be completed in the haste of his burial on Good Friday and the subsequent Sabbath day.  Mary Magdalene is prepared to anoint the body with oils and perfumes, re-wrap and re-lay the corpse in the tomb, and then go home to mourn.  She is going to do for Jesus what a relative would normally do, but in these circumstances, she is taking the place of Mary, his mother, out of love and an overwhelming sense of duty.  Big public mourning rites were not possible for Jesus, Mary Magdalene knew, so she went to do them as early in the morning as possible, so as not to attract any attention and to avoid any further conflict.

              How differently it all worked out.  Firstly, the tomb was open and empty.  The two disciples she ran to tell were as useful as a chocolate tea pot, as they saw the empty tomb but just went home, leaving Mary on her own in the garden, confused and slightly terrified.  How helpful are the two angels, who speak to her?  She is obviously still weeping when Jesus approaches, as the lines, “Woman, why are you weeping?” are repeated word for word.  It takes Jesus saying her name for the reality of the situation to be made clear.  That personal contact, the connection between her name and the sound of his voice finally breaks through Mary’s grief and she realises that Jesus is alive.  It is a wonderful moment, one of several that fill the post-resurrection appearances.  It is loving and slightly reproachful, possibly, but done in the gentlest of ways.  This is two people meeeting up after one of them thought they would never see the other again – no wonder she clings on to him and has to be peeled off, so that she can go and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive.  Two people, in a garden, together again.  Then the work of outreach begins.  That is Easter, summed up in a few words. 

              For us, we can do little more than go out into our garden or whatever green space is available to us, and realize that we are with our risen Lord, forever.  We can cling on to him, or we can demonstrate that he is alive by our gentleness and our reaching out to others.  Love motivates us, love takes us beyond ourselves to search out the needs of those who are round about us, especially at this time.  There has been no better opportunity to get to know our neighbours and to share the burdens of this lockdown together.  There has been no better time to pray for God’s suffering world.  There has been no better time to perform those gentle acts of kindness to the isolated and the vulnerable.  Pope Francis, in his Maundy Thursday sermon, talks of these kinds of actions as belonging to “saints next door”,who, along with doctors and nurses, paramedics and NHS support staff, are making the difference between fulness of life and mere survival. 

              We have people ringing round members of the congregation to check that they are all right.  If we had more volunteers for that, everybody could be rung up at least once a week.  Most roads in Kew have an active Whatsapp group sharing and caring for each other in the street – let’s be part of those simple, practical ways of demonstrating solidarity and bearing one another’s burdens.  Nothing spectacular, no grand public show, but like Mary Magdalene, quietly going about the business of caring and making a difference, in the joy of resurrection.  George Elliott puts it rather better in the final paragraph of Middlemarch: “..the effect of her being (Dorothea) on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life..”

              May your Easter joy be unconfined, may your families and friends be safe and well, and may we all rejoice together when we are allowed back into church, where the Easter candle will be waiting for us, shining with the full brightness of the risen Christ.  Amen.

Surrexit Christus hodie  (Scheidt):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DphCBncBSMY

Prayers – with thanks to Michael Tonkin

The Lord is risen, he has risen indeed! Alleluia, Alleluia. 

As we celebrate the new life of Resurrection,let us pray to the one true God, who brings the promise of eternal life to us all.

We pray for our Churches throughout the world, that today stand empty, but like the empty tomb, are alive in the body of our risen Lord, and in every home that worships him today.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask God’s blessing on our own churches, The Barn and St Luke’s, and on Father Peter and all who have worked to keep our worship alive and vibrant in these unusual times.  For our family and friends who at present we cannot see face to face. For the great gift of communication, in all its forms and the power it has to keep us connected, as family, community and church.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Our Risen Lord, we ask for your blessing and loving care for all those who work, tirelessly in our NHS, in our Care Homes, in our Emergency Services.  All those who take that extra step to help and look after others, with little or no thought for themselves.  Be with them Lord, provide and reassure them in the truly loving and caring work they do.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Dear Lord let us not forget the refugees, the homeless, those who still suffer, now even more, in those war torn parts of God’s world. For those agencies who struggle to help them.  May our world leaders and those more powerful countries not neglect their responsibilities towards them.  The second Commandment is this “You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

Lord in you mercy, hear our prayer.

There are Lord, so many today who need our prayers, all those suffering with the coronavirus, those whose treatment has been ‘put on hold’; those who suffer from mental illness, anxiety, abuse, we ask for your loving care for them all.  In our own community we remember especially today: Shelagh CochraneAlan Hay, Juliet Low, Serge Lowrie, Joan Pritchard, Johanna Procter, Mary Smith, Kevin WilloughbyMax Weston

Lord in you mercy, hear our prayer.

With the words of Resurrection fresh in our hearts and minds, we commend to your eternal love those many thousands who have died, of all nationalities and beliefs, that they may all live with Our Risen Lord. in your kingdom for ever.  We remember today from our own community Juliet Daley, Mary Allman.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord God, we thank you for the precious gift of new life; may we never again take it for granted, but live each moment in the fullness of life that Jesus has gained for us.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Peace

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then they were glad when they saw the Lord,  Alelluia.  The peace of the Lord be always with you: and also with you.

Be present, be present, Lord Jesus Christ, Our risen high priest;

Make yourself known in the breaking of bread

Hymn:  Lord of the dance http://barnchurchkew.uk/front-page/sing-and-play-along-with-mary-noyes/

         The Lord be with you

         and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

         We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

         It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right , our duty and our joy, always and everywhere to give you thanks, almighty and eternal Father, and in these days of Easter to celebrate with joyful hearts the memory of your wonderful works.  For by the mystery of his passion, Jesus Christ, your risen Son, has conquered the powers of death and hell and restored to women and men the image of your glory.  He has placed us once more in paradise and opened to us the gate of life eternal.  And so, in the joy of this Passover, earth and heaven resound with gladness, while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation sing for ever the hymn of your glory.

         Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

         As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

         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,

         the power and the glory,

         for ever and ever.            

         Amen.

Christ the Lord is risen again! (Rutter):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvfcAHCTkO0

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
+ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.        Amen.

Hymn  Thine be the glory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXzmjNE-yLA