+Each time you see a musical link in the liturgy, mute or lower the volume on your device before clicking on the link. Once you have done that then click on the link. When an ad pops up, you can then “Skip Ad” and not be disturbed by the noise of the advertisements. Once you see that the music is beginning then unmute or raise the volume on your device. This will allow a more meaningful worship experience for you.
+In preparation for worship, have a candle and matches with you in preparation for the lighting of the Christ candle. Peace be with you.
GATHERING THE PEOPLE
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.
It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
Were You There? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRaFdFkOVyY
Easter Story – The Resurrection of Jesus
John 20:1-18 read by Meghan Martin https://youtu.be/vTlBzZwbWwg
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So 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.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 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.”
14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 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.’”
18 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.
Easter Song of Praise R. Shephard https://youtu.be/feMyqiDVGNc
Easter Proclamation: (Light a candle, raise it up and say…)
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
Hymn: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6sj9ljVsfk
Prayer of the Day:
God of Easter, whose will is communion with creation,
whose power is revealed in resurrection:
we celebrate with joy the great festival of our faith, the foundation of our existence;
enable us to show the power of resurrection
in all that we think and feel and say and do,
and to celebrate the signs of resurrection throughout the universe especially today,
that we and all creation might be one with the risen Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Choral Anthem: Hallelujah Chorus (from Messiah) G. F. Handel
Sermon Rev. Jay Olson
And so, it was over. Jesus was executed in full public display. Lots of people watched it. Mary saw it all. A righteous man named Joseph arranged for the care of Jesus’ body which included the providing of a tomb. Mary, lost in her grief, went to sit at the place where Jesus had been laid. It was the place that held all that was left of her Lord and friend. Surely, she must have longed for him, for one more connection, to be close to him one more time.
When she arrived at the tomb what she found was not at all what she expected. She must have been horrified to see the tomb had been opened. She ran to her friends for help and they returned with her to see what had happened. The body was gone. The death wrappings were all that was left. And so, the men left and went home.
Mary stayed. As she wept, she looked again, and this time saw two angels who sat in the tomb at the place where death had lain. They spoke together, the angels questioned her about her grief and Mary answered them in her bewilderment and despair.
At some point she turned around and saw a man standing by her. As the angels had done, he inquired of her, I imagine out of his deep empathy for her, asking, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
It was not until this man called her by her name that she could see through her grief to the reality that Jesus, her Lord and friend, stood right there with her. His life had not been encased in stone but stood right beside her, calling out to her.
She had been alone. As she stood all alone, he came to her! The others had left. Mary thought she was alone.
God is with us today in our aloneness and in our physical distancing. God is with us, sees us and knows us by name even and especially when we cannot see God through our bewilderment, our fear and boredom, even when we cannot be with the people we so want to be close to.
God is present even today when many of us are sitting alone. This Easter Day we are living the beginning, the first telling, of the Resurrection story. It began long ago with one woman alone, in her grief, longing for what had been taken from her.
Many sit alone today both remembering the times when we were together and imagining our future reunions. God is with each of one. Many are run off their feet today working in high risk situations, being the angels of comfort and healing. Many of these same workers will be the angels who will bless some on their way into the next life. Many will be caring for us in our grief by providing food, medicine and products that give sustenance, comfort and safety. God is with each of them too especially when they feel alone and overwhelmed.
The Easter story, this revelation of God, became known because of one woman’s experience. It became known because she told of her experience of what she had seen and heard. Jesus did not allow Mary to cling to him alone. He commissioned her to tell others of her experience of resurrection, of everlasting life.
Fred Craddock wrote, “this story tells of the experiences (not once but many times) of the ancestors throughout time – they talked about what they saw – they told others the stories of their experiences of the holy presence. Their rituals and traditions helped bring them to the experiences of the presence of the holy – taking them home to the world of Spirit…to the presence of the Holy Spirit who will come to lead, comfort, and empower the church.” (from Preaching through the Christian Year. Year A)
We may feel very alone today. We may feel overwhelmed with work even though we are not in a workplace with others. We may be among those who wish they had the privilege of being able to self-isolate. We may feel despair because, as yet, we see no end to this disruption. No matter your circumstance, the Holy One is with you, calling out to you.
We are in the presence of the Holy at all times and in all places, in the memories of rituals observed and in new forms of rituals being discovered and practiced. Open your eyes now. Open your soul to resurrected life now. Look. Listen. God is with you.
Resurrection is everywhere! It is here and now. And this truth has been made known to us through the courage of one woman who, alone in her pain, dared to tell her story.
So, be at home in resurrection, in this irrepressible life, especially now.
Mary told her story, so you tell the story now as you experience it. Tell the stories of the power of life in the Spirit because God is with you. Tell the world and do not be afraid.
*Hymn: Christ is Alive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-M3cuTAINo
THE RESPONSE OF THE PEOPLE
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer Meghan Martin https://youtu.be/WQrJTMOptbk
We come before you in prayer, each in our own space, in our own way, but unified by your Holy Spirit.
With Hallelujahs ringing in our hearts, we thank you for the eternal story of Christ’s resurrection and for the enduring promise that we are not alone.
Holy One, on this Easter morning, of all mornings, as we hear the familiar story, we pray that you will make us more like Mary.
Give us the strength of Mary to sit by the empty tomb – examining, acknowledging, and grieving what has been lost. The loss of gatherings with friends and family, the loss of work and income, medical treatments delayed, and loved ones falling sick or succumbing to illness. We lift up to you all of the loss in our communities and pray that you will meet it with your comforting presence.
As Mary turned to the gardener to seek his help, we pray, God, that you will give us the courage to identify our needs and share them with those who can support us. Free us from our ego and our individualism so that we can be open to the love and support of those around us. And in turn, we pray that you will give us generous spirits to meet the needs of others.
Eternal God, as you opened Mary’s eyes to recognize the risen Christ, we pray that you will open our eyes to notice the signs of hope and new life all around us. The changing of the seasons, the birds in the sky, the flowers bursting forth, but most of all the compassion and care that’s being shown by people all around us. Open our eyes to witness your hope in the world.
And finally, God, inspire us so that we, like Mary, will run to tell others the good news, filling your world with the message that love triumphs over all of our pain and sorrow.
On this Easter morning, of all mornings, we pray that you will make us more like Mary.
God, as we move through this new way of living and being with one another, we pray for our leaders. We give thanks for the wise leadership of public health professionals and for the collaboration demonstrated by all levels of government in Canada. We give thanks for the leaders within our church as they draw on their creativity to bring us together in new ways. We pray that you continue to guide our leaders in wise decision making, God, and give them moments of rest and peace along the way.
We pray for workers of all types in our communities. For those who keep our grocery stores stocked, for those who keep our health facilities clean, for those who respond to emergency situations, and for those who provide social and health care services in the face of personal risk. We give thanks for their commitment and ask that you surround them with a tireless spirit and your protection.
Compassionate God, we recognize the privilege we have living in a nation like Canada and know that there are others who are not as well placed to respond to emerging threats. We bring to mind those people and places around the world that are facing violence, disasters, and civil unrest on top of the threat of a new virus. We pray that all people find safety and security as they move through a multitude of challenges.
Loving God, although we celebrate Christ’s resurrection apart this year, we know that we are not alone in our celebration. We are connected to a worldwide church that extends across time and space, united in our commitment to be resurrection people. We feel the connection to followers of Christ and on this Easter Sunday, God, we trust that you hear us as we pray together saying,
Our Father Mother who art in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
Choral Anthem: Singt dem Herren J. Haydn https://youtu.be/sZUzzpbzTZs
Sing the Lord, ye voices all! Give him thanks, for all his works. Let us honour his name, let it resound on high. The Lord is great; his praise shall last forever. Amen.
Our Offering: Take a moment now to offer the gift of your gratitude for the resurrection moments in your life and those resurrection moments yet to come. Give thanks for the many who are saving and those seeking to save life today.
Music for Reflection on our Offering:
Grand Choeur Dialogue Arr. R. Smedvig E. Gigout
We Remember our times together at the Table:
On this highest Holy Day of the year we remember the Easter Sundays when we gathered together at Christ’s table to receive the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Though we are sad that we cannot be together around the same table this Easter Day, we remember and give thanks that we will again gather together around the table in the Shaughnessy Heights sanctuary. We give thanks too that we can sit today at our own tables praying the same prayers as others at the same time this Easter day. In this table moment we remember God’s saving works.
God is with us and we lift up our hearts. It is right to give God our thanks and praise. And so we pray,
Holy God, before all that is, You were God. Outside all we know, You are God. After all is finished, You will be God. You beyond the galaxies, under the oceans, in the rain, opening flowers, feeding insects, You giving us and all the peoples of the world your image, carrying us through the waters, holding us in the night, your smile on Sarah and Abraham, your hand with Moses and Miriam, your words through Deborah and Isaiah, you living as Jesus among us, healing, teaching, dying, rising, inviting us all to your feast.
Holy One, power of small streams and great rivers, Creator of all that moves and flows, we pray that at each and every table today your Spirit will touch us. May we be signs of living water in thanksgiving and joy for all the world.
Living God, you raised Jesus from the grave and through him set in motion the resurrection of the whole of creation. Grant that we, baptized into his death and his rising, nourished at each table, members of his body, may be worthy of the name “EASTER PEOPLE”. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Closing Hymn: Thine is the Glory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw9eB5LP3FU
Commissioning and Benediction:
Be in the world as witnesses of God’s resurrection power by caring for the safety of others and doing so with all the confidence, joy and courage of an Easter. Shout with all your might that the God of Life has had the last word, for Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!
Postlude: Toccata (Symphony No. 5) C.-M. Widor