Sunday 19th April 2020
SUNDAY 19TH APRIL 2020
WORSHIP ON THE LORD’S DAY
This is your day, eternal Lord:
Yours by right of death and resurrection, yours by victory over cross and grave, yours by the triumph of unbounded love.
And in your mercy you have made it our day:
Ours by your gift, ours as your love stoops down to meet us, ours as we reach up to you.
Yours and ours; Eastertide.
Your are our Lord; we are your people.
THANKS BE TO GOD.
During the past week, since Easter Sunday, my daily posts on the Fellowship web-page have been reflecting on the different resurrection appearances Jesus made to his friends.
Today I want to think about the last few verses in Matthew’s gospel.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Wow, what a vivid reminder of the failure they had been......... it was so bad that one of them was dead at his own hands.
Eleven, not twelve. Twelve was such a special number for God's people. But now there were eleven. Despite Jesus' victory, it was a reminder of the fragility of his followers.
But, they obeyed. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. They did what Jesus asked them to do. And when they saw Jesus, they worshiped him. But even then, after the resurrection appearances and the testimony of those who had seen him, there were still some doubters: it was hard to believe it was really Jesus after all they had been through; it was almost too good to be true.
For some, the resurrection of Jesus IS almost too good to be true. It is definitely outside our experience and expectation.
But the turnaround made by this wounded and incomplete group of eleven failures testifies that this encounter with Jesus after his resurrection changed them forever.
Jesus' resurrection and command give them a sense of purpose, certainty, hope, and destiny that they had not enjoyed even before the Cross.
And now, now they can trust he will go with them.
So the fitting response to Jesus' triumph over death is to worship him, and then to go where he will send them, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died, to buy my pardon
An empty grave, is there to prove, my Saviour lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, He holds the future
And life is worth, the living just, because He lives
I want to end this time of Reflecting, through a prayer which draws together the Resurrection appearances.
Let us Pray.
Lord, Jesus, as we wonder at your resurrection, and the hope you have given us,
We remember the appearances you made to those closes to you,
And we pray that our eyes, too, may be opened to your presence.
We think of the woman who went to your tomb, so sad and wanting to be near you.
Yet, even in their disillusionment, you appeared to them in the form of angels,
These messengers proclaimed the good news of your resurrection; which energised these women run full of joy to share with others what they had seen.
We offer you ourselves, and ask for your reassurance and help to reach out to our communities in these days of social isolation.
We pray that we can make a difference to other people’s lives by sharing all you have given us that through your grace, lives may be changed.
We think of Thomas, so full of doubt,
Yet you recognized his need to be reassured by your presence.
We offer you our concerns for our world duding this corona virus.
Some may find it hard to see your presence in events that unfold.
Comfort us and take away our doubt, and bring us new hope.
We think of Peter, the rock on which you built your touch,
So full of assurance and commitment, and then so upset to have betrayed you.
Yet, you appeared to reassure him of your love, and commanded him to feed your lambs.
We bring before you the Church worldwide, and our own worshiping congregation,
Give us your reassurance and openness to your guiding direction, as we seek to be Church in new ways.
We think of Cleopas and his friend, who walked the lonely road to Emmaus,
A journey of sadness after all the events of Holy Week.
And then, you joined them on the journey, walking the road of their grief,
You shared with them, opening their eyes to your presence, in the breaking of bread .
Please journey with all who are bereaved at this time, especially those we name before you.
In silence........we remember those who have journeyed with us and have moved on to your eternal presence where their eyes are fully opened to your love and your glory..........
Risen Lord, we thank you for your promise to be with always even to the end.
I serve a risen Saviour, he’s in the world today; I know that he is living, whatever others say; I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer,
and just the time I need him he’s always near. He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives He lives within my heart.
In all the world around me I see his loving care, and though my heart grows weary, I never will despair; I know that he is leading through all the stormy blast, the day of his appearing will come at last.
He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives He lives within my heart.
May you know the presence of the Risen Lord today, God bless.