Easter Sunday 12th April 2020
Service at Home for Christ Church Ramsbottom, Edenfield Methodist Church and Bolton Road Methodist Church
He is risen! Today we celebrate the day when death was defeated.
The day when Jesus proved he was who he claimed to be.
The day that changed the world forever!
Lord Jesus we thank you that you are alive, that you love us and that you want us to get to know you better and better.
Help us to grow closer to you and stronger in our faith. Amen.
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!
Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb!
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom.
Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee: aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love;
Lead us in Thy triumph to Thy home above.
Lord Jesus, on this Easter morning help us to remember that all the glory is yours, risen conquering Son! Help us to truly know in our hearts that the victory is yours – victory over death, victory over sin, victory of light over darkness in this world, forever. Help us to know in our hearts that love has triumphed.
Lord, help us to put aside all the things that are troubling us, all our concerns about ourselves and other people. Help us to put these things aside now so that we can celebrate with all our heart the wonder of the day that you rose from the dead. Help us to celebrate the day that brings joy out of sorrow, hope out of despair, peace out of turmoil and faith out of doubt.
Help each one of us to become aware of you - our risen Lord Jesus - with us now, wherever we are – loving us and caring for us…………..
<Time of quiet>
Lord, as we come into your holy presence, we become aware of the times we’ve turned away from you and done things that we know are wrong. In a few moments of quiet we confess these things to you now……….
<Time of quiet>
Lord forgive us.
Thank you, Lord, that through the resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, we know that we have been completely forgiven. We thank that because Jesus conquered death, we know that sin can no longer separate us from you, and that we can be at one with you for all eternity.
Say the Lord’s Prayer
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 that 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.
Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ When Jesus died on the cross, it seemed as though the forces of darkness had overcome the light.
But then God raised Jesus to life again to prove that his love is stronger than anything, even than death. To prove that Jesus really had brought forgiveness and new life for everybody through his death on the cross. The light of Jesus keeps shining in the darkness. And the darkness will never overcome it.
Read: John 20 verses 1 to 18
Monologue: Mary Magdalene
When Jesus was crucified it seemed that it was the end of everything we’d been living for.
I couldn’t sleep, so very early on the Sunday morning, while it was still dark, I went up to the tomb. When I got there, I was horrified to see that the stone had been rolled to one side. I ran back to tell the others and Simon and John came back with me to see for themselves.
When we looked inside the tomb we saw that his body had gone. But even when we noticed the strips of linen and neatly folded burial cloth, we still didn’t get it. Even then, it didn’t occur to us that Jesus could be alive. I suppose it was just so difficult to take in.
Simon and John returned to the house, puzzled and confused, but I stayed by the tomb. I just wanted to be by myself, alone with my memories of Jesus. And I didn’t want the men to see me crying again.
After a while I thought I’d have another look in the tomb. I don’t know why - I suppose I just wanted to check that somehow we hadn’t missed seeing his body in the dark. But when I looked in I got such a surprise! There, sitting where his body had been, were two people in white. I can only think that they were angels. One of them asked me why I was crying. I told him “they’ve taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they’ve put him”.
Then I realised there was a man standing next to me. I couldn’t see him clearly at first as I was dazzled by the sunshine after the darkness of the tomb. He too asked me why I was crying and asked me who I was looking for. I thought it was the gardener. But then, very softly, he said my name. As soon as he said it I realised it was Jesus. I looked up at his face and saw that it really was him.
There he was, smiling at me – alive and well. He put his arms around me and gave me a hug and it felt so wonderful. He let go of me but I kept my arms around him, holding him tight – I didn’t want to let him go. But he told me not to hold on to him as he had to go. Then he told me to go and tell the others that he was returning to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God.
I rushed back and told Simon and the others that Jesus was alive and told them what he’d said. I had trouble persuading them that I hadn’t just imagined it. They wanted to believe me but they weren’t sure. Not surprising really, I suppose. But I knew that Jesus was alive. I’d seen him with my own eyes! And this meant it wasn’t the end at all. It was the start of something wonderful.
Mary, Peter, and John couldn’t see Jesus because they were looking for Him in the wrong place, they were looking for him in a tomb. He isn’t there! He is risen from the dead, he is alive. Mary recognised Jesus when he spoke to her. We too can get to know our risen Lord through his word – by reading about him in the Bible and by talking and listening to him in our prayers.
Jesus is alive, he loves us and he wants us to get to know him better and better.
Jesus’ death on the cross and his raising from the dead prove God’s love for everyone. A love that is stronger than pain, suffering and death. A love that lasts forever and will never let us go.
Through Jesus we can all receive forgiveness for the things that we have done wrong and live our lives free from the power of sin and the weight of guilt. Jesus has lifted that from us – we are forgiven.
Through Jesus we can live new lives with God’s own power to help us, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! Jesus promised the help of God the Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Him. As the Spirit works in us, we will see a gradual transformation in our lives and our relationships, we will become more loving, generous, patient and kind. We will have the inner strength to resist the things that do us harm and to keep going in difficult times.
Through Jesus we can all be adopted into God’s family – we can be children of God, we can know how much we are loved by him and we can be sure that we will live in his loving care for ever, going to heaven to be with him when our earthly lives are over.
All this is a free gift from God to everyone who puts their trust in Jesus, free to us but given to us at great cost to God. Jesus paid for this gift on the cross for you. Have you accepted it yet?
Jesus can change your world, all you have to do is ask him to.
If you haven’t accepted God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus yet, why not accept it today?
Do you want Jesus to change your world? If you would like to accept God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus today, either for the first time, or because you would like to rededicate yourself to following Jesus, please say the following prayer, or talk to Jesus in your own words.
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. Please forgive me. I now turn from everything which I know is wrong and put my trust in you. Thank you that you died on the cross for me so that I could be forgiven and set free to live a new life as part of your family.
Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Holy Spirit to help me. I now receive that gift.
Please come into my life by your Holy Spirit to be with me forever.
Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Prayer for the needs of the world
Lord, You call Your people out of darkness; shine Your light into every corner of this world.
We pray for places where life seems very dark, because there is sickness, war and fighting. People living in those situations find it hard to be hopeful. Be with all those who are working to bring your healing and all those who are working for peace. Help them as they try to bring hope to dark places.
Lord, You call Your people out of darkness; Shine Your light into every corner of this world.
We pray for those whose world is dark because they have got into terrible difficulties. We think of those who are in prison for whatever reason. We think of those who are addicted to something that harms them.
We think of those who are in debt. Be with those who are trying to help them find a way of dealing with their troubles. Perhaps we know someone in this situation. Show us how we might be the answer to their prayers.
Lord, You call Your people out of darkness; Shine Your light into every corner of this world. We pray for those whose world seems dark because they are very unhappy. We think of those who have quarrelled with others and cannot see how to put things right. We think of those who are sick or in pain, particularly those who cannot sleep and lie counting the hours in the darkness. We think of those who have lost loved ones. Bring them the comfort and the help that they need.
Lord, You call Your people out of darkness; shine Your light into every corner of this world. We pray for our church and for ourselves. Fill us with Your light and Your life, so that we may show the difference that knowing You can make. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, so that the lives that we live may be full of Your light and Your love. We pray in the name of Jesus, the way, the truth, the life and the light. Amen
Jesus Christ is risen today; Hallelujah!
Our triumphant holy day; Hallelujah!
Who did once upon the cross; Hallelujah!
Suffer to redeem our loss; Hallelujah!
Hymns of praise then let us sing; Hallelujah!
Unto Christ our heavenly King; Hallelujah!
Who endured the cross and grave; Hallelujah!
Sinners to redeem and save: Hallelujah!
But the pains which He endured; Hallelujah!
Our salvation have procured; Hallelujah!
Now in heaven above He’s King; Hallelujah!
Where the angels ever sing: Hallelujah!
God the Father, by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead, strengthen us to walk with him in his risen life; and may almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless each one of us. Amen.