The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Easter Sunday 2021

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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He is not here, he is risen

 

Let us worship!

 

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.

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.)  Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying.  As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  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.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

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.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.  “She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).  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.’  “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.

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There beside us

Jesus is here with us, waiting to be noticed. How long has Jesus been standing beside us, just waiting to be noticed?  As it was here for Mary, so it can be for us.  Hear him say your name.  In such a way Mary came to recognise the risen Jesus.  Easter engages our minds, Easter is also meant to engage our senses, so that, somehow, we might meet with and experience Jesus. Mary was lost in her own wrong assumptions.  From feeling she had lost so much, she was given all she needed and more.  The Good News that ‘Christ is risen’ is there for us in all our needs.  Like Mary, may we find ourselves saying, “I have seen the Lord’.  And then may we, like her, go out and tell others.

 

He is not here, he is risen

 

Prayers

Risen Lord, we are the Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.

We are the Easter people come to worship, released from tombs of pain and doubt and fear and death, into the freedom of this new day, and its promise of hope fulfilled.

We are the Easter people, emerging into the brightness of faith, Blinking, questioning, wondering, hoping.  Come to us, into the garden of our lives, and touch all that is barren, and wasted and dried with your healing hand. Forgive our half-lived lives, our broken promises, and our failed kindness.  Grant us life in abundance and your shalom.

Call to us by our name, that we might turn from all that limits and burdens us, and lift us up into forgiveness and freedom.  Open the gateways of our hearts and minds, and call us out into your world to be embraced by your unfailing and renewing mercy.  Today, in silence, prayer and melody, may we encounter Jesus and his grace.  For we are the Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.  Through Jesus Christ our risen Lord.  Amen.

 

In confessing Jesus as Lord, the early Christians were not just declaring that, ‘Jesus is Lord of my life, they were declaring that Jesus is ‘Lord of the world’.  We cannot overstress the significance of the resurrection.

G. Beasley-Murray

 

Blessing

Bring new creation Lord, as we lift up our hearts to you

 

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven,
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us,
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, 
now and forever.

You might like to read the Easter accounts in the Gospels:

 

Matthew 27:62 – 28:15, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20.

 

All the accounts show how difficult it is for the disciples to get their heads around the fact of the resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus explains that the scriptures pointed to his resurrection.  May we pray for light and understanding as we consider the significance of the resurrection.

 

We could also read from Paul on the resurrection. It has been said (by JB Philips) that 1 Corinthians chapter 15 ‘is the most important chapter in the Bible’. In it, Paul, whose life was completely turned around by meeting with the risen Christ, speaks of the resurrection body. Here are some verses from the start of the chapter

 

1 Corinthians 15:1-11: Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word, I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

As you walk into this new week, may the risen Jesus walk with us as he did on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13ff)

Jesus Christ is risen today – our triumphant holy day!