Thought for the Week 04/3 - Sunday 12th April 2020 (Easter Sunday) by Rev Peter

St Peter’s Carlton Colville and St Andrew’s Mutford

Easter Day – 12th April 2020

Thought for the week

Happy Easter to each and every church member.

We have been delighted to see how many church members have taken to these ‘Thought for the week’ emails.

It has been a joy to know that a large number of us have been able to set aside time at 10:30 each Sunday to have a time of praise and worship.

It has been suggested that we should shape these emails as a form of ‘service’ as we read the notes and therefore we have included something of that today.

If we were in church together we would begin our worship with:

The Lord is here – His Spirit is with us.

Alleluia, Christ is risen – He is risen indeed, Alleluia

Here is the Collect for Easter Day for us to pray as we begin our thoughts, praise and worship:

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

This ‘Thought for the week’ is sent out to help us to focus our thinking and praying on Easter Day – Resurrection Day.

At the end of the ‘thought’ we have printed out a hymn to also help us in our praise and worship.

Withing the ‘thought’ you will see that we also suggest a Bible passage that you can look up and read as part of this time of thinking about the glory of the message of Easter,

Even though we cannot meet together for a time of worship we can think of our fellow church members as we give thanks to God for each of them this Easter Day

Perhaps we might also resolve to give one or more person a ring to wish the a truly blessed Easter.

We know from personal experience what a joy it is to receive a phone call as one church member phoned us last week – so why not bring joy to a fellow church member and give them a ring.

We take this verse from Romans 5:8 as our text to help point us in the right direction as we think afresh of the message of Easter.

‘God shows His love for us in this that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’

The word ‘Empty’ can often have a very negative connotation.

In the news day by day over recent weeks we have seen the ‘horror’ of empty shelves in our supermarkets as panic buying has been rampant – not a pleasant picture.

With another illustration – if, in different days, you were out in your car and a long way from ‘civilisation’ and the instruments on the dashboard shows that your fuel tank in on ‘empty’ – what do you do now ….

However, at the same time, the word ‘Empty’ can have a totally different connotation – and the Easter message is a prime example of that.

At Easter we celebrate the incredible significance of two uses of the word ‘empty’ …

The Empty Cross and the Empty Grave

The cross has long been worn as an item of jewellery – even by people who do not have anything of a Christian faith.

In many ways it is easy to lose the sense of significance of the cross even for Christians.

Both inside and on the outside of many churches you will see a ‘Crucifix’ – the symbol of a cross with Jesus hanging on it.

This tells an important part of the significance of the cross and it reminds us that Jesus was indeed nailed to a cross on what we call ‘Good Friday’

The cross on which Jesus died was not a polished gold cross but a rough wooden cross – and there is a sense in which that cross had our name on it.

From the moment of His birth Jesus lived under the ‘shadow’ of the cross

As Jesus took upon Himself to die on a cross it was to take your sin and my sin and win for us a victory over sin that we could never achieve – He died in our place.

There on that cross, God, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), took our place and bore our pain in order that the demands of holiness and justice be satisfied and a way be made open for sinners to find Salvation.

However, that is only part of the story.

We need not the crucifix but the Empty Cross that we see at the end of that Good Friday to remind us of the full picture - that Jesus died on that cross and His dead body was taken from the cross and placed in a tomb.

But, the Empty cross is not the end …

If you want to read the story of these events, why not turn to the Gospel of Luke and chapter 24 and seek in some way to relive the surprise and wonder of the women on that first Easter Day

As the women made their way to the tomb early on that Sunday morning they were surprised to see that the stone which had sealed the tomb was now rolled away.

The truth was that there was not only an Empty Cross of Good Friday but there was also an Empty Grave on that first Easter Day.

The glorious Easter message is that Jesus rose from the dead having won the victory on our behalf over sin and the devil.

We are reminded by the verse above – ‘God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’

At Easter, we celebrate both an Empty Cross and an Empty Grave.

Let’s not lose the significance of the Easter message that in Jesus we have the only Saviour we can ever have or could ever want.

As we celebrate Easter may each one of us know afresh the greatness of the central message this season brings a nd may it fill us with great joy and praise.

Here are the words of the hymn ‘Thine be the glory’ for us to read, or even sing as part of our worship.

I hope to have sent out the tune for us to sing along to with this joyful hymn.

 

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

endless is the victory Thou o’er death has 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 has 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 has lost its sting.

 

Chorus

 

No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;

life is nought without Thee: aid us in our strife;

make us more than conquerors,

through Thy deathless love:

bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.

 

Chorus

 

 


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