Alleluia! Christ is Risen!!!!
He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!!!!
This is the traditional Easter greeting and I love using it. I enjoy getting the congregation more enthusiastic, to move out of their reserved way of being. It is often hard work to get them to use it as the greeting during The Peace. We are creatures of habit! But of course this year Easter is very different with our churches closed. I went into church and found the Easter candle, which fortunately had been ordered and stored. With great trepidation on Sunday morning I put the transfer into tepid water and managed to get it on the correct end of the candle and the right way up! I started our worship using the traditional words at the lighting of the candle. It looks quite odd in our dining room. The flower arrangement had been left for me this morning. Not a surprise as I’d been told it would be done – and not a surprise at the quality. We have some talented flower arrangers in our church. It is beautiful. I have put it in the fireplace and will try to remember to water it each day.
The communion from my dining room was well received online. I have copied the sermon below for you.
The following are the notes I used but sufficient for someone to follow the gist of what I preached. I did embellish it. For the full experience go to the church Facebook page.
The picture of the resurrection and rainbow is in my prayer journal, and not finished yet.
Rainbows in windows. The symbol of hope – that after the dark clouds, the storm and rain there will be sunshine. We need hope in the current situation. So many people are living under the cloud of fear – and angry and frustrated at those who seem to think it’s all a joke or something to not be taken seriously.
Rainbow = symbol of the first promise God made to the people of earth. Never again would he flood the world and destroy all creatures (except those in the ark).
My ordination stole – promises – wear it also at weddings and baptisms – promises made… covenant/relationship promises.
Jesus = the bringer of the final promise (covenant) God made to the people of earth. The solution for sin
sin = darkness, separation from God, all the bad stuff in our lives = selfishness
dealt with on the cross on Good Friday – Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to reverse the effects of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. .. breakdown of relationship with God
God made and sealed that promise with Jesus’ blood on the cross. In some cultures a pact or deal will be sealed by both parties cutting themselves and their blood shared. Blood brothers are formed. Jesus is our blood brother. Because of his death, death has no hold on us. It has lost its sting, as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.
‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 – worth reading the whole chapter today.
Jesus went through death and out the other side. Jesus rose to new life and in love holds out to us the hope of life to come. Somewhere in another realm, dimension or whatever or wherever heaven is. It is being held in God’s love. Somewhere.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – a popular song often used at funerals. The Easter Candle is always lit at funerals to remind us that Jesus rose from death and in love holds out to us the promise of life after death. It’s lit during the baptism service too as the candidates (or godparents on their behalf) make their promises to follow Jesus and accept God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus.
We may go back on our promises, our lives may not be all we would have hoped they might be, and we may wistfully think of that place somewhere over the rainbow where everything’s good.
Well, the experience of many Christians is that when we trust in Jesus when we go through the bad times we know he’s with us, carrying us through. My pictures include rainbows…. when I went through diffiulct times and look back to see he was there – or just clung on with hope.
This one is an acknowledgement of what God has done. It is based on words from a Psalm or Isaiah (I regret not making a note of it at the time).
And when this life is done, we will go to be with him – somewhere over the rainbow – in that place we call heaven. But in the meantime let’s remember his love and promises every time we see a rainbow – either in the sky or in people’s windows.
This Easter day we are spread out in our homes rather than in church. And many people are joining us online who wouldn’t be able to come to church. Wonderful. And because this video will be saved, others will watch – and I hope worship – later on. Whether you are with me now in real time or later in the day, I invite you, with me and Terry, to re-commit yourself to following Jesus.
Renewal of Baptism vows is one of the Easter Day traditions often with a sprinkling of holy water from the font….. that bit will have to wait for next year. Instead, next time you have a bath or a shower, remember your baptism and that Jesus has washed away all your sin and continues to do so when you come to him in faith. And as you dress and go into the day know that he goes with you through rain or shine. Every time you see a rainbow, thank God for Jesus and the hope we have in him.
I hope you all had a very blessed Easter Sunday and that you enjoy the continued celebration of the Resurrection through the next 6 weeks.
I am finishing off the blog on Monday, reflecting back on Easter Day. It was strange, but somehow still a celebration. I cooked a roast dinner and enjoyed some very tasty wine with Terry. I am now on holiday but obviously staying at home. This morning I put posters up for food bank collections to be dropped off at the vicarage. I will probably do some painting, I may do some knitting, and I may catch up on TV…. who knows? The week lies ahead of me and I am sure I will fill it – I may even do some housework!!!!!