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Call to worship

Christ is risen! Risen indeed!  

[you may want to actually light a candle]

Take a deep breath and pause.
Be present to each other.
Take a deep breath and pause.
Imagine God's love, a warm light filling you and your prayer partner.
Take a deep breath and pause.
Send love and affection to the person with whom you are worshiping.
Express your appreciation to one another for this time and this contact at a distance.  

Opening Prayer

Risen One,
we gather before you
in awe and wonder
as we take in the mystery
of the empty tomb.   

You transform
our sorrow into dancing,
our fear into affirmation, 
and our doubt into song. 
We give you thanks,
adoration, and praise.   

As we worship,
increase in us our joy,
love, and faith.   

Instill in us a faith
that will not be silent
but that will proclaim your salvation
to all we meet. 
Celebrating the empty tomb we pray.  Amen.  

Story: “The Easter Appearances” Based on the four Gospels and Acts

It was a sad, sad day.  It was the first day of the week after Jesus was killed.  While it was still dark, Mary, a friend of Jesus, came to the place where Jesus was buried so she could put spices in his tomb to make it smell better. 

But when she got there, she was surprised.  His tomb was open and there was nothing inside.  She was crying, when a man said to her, “Why are you crying?” 

She said, “Because they have taken away Jesus and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 

“Mary!”  The man said. 

When she heard the man say her name, she suddenly recognized him… It was Jesus! 

“Go to my friends,” Jesus said, “and tell them that I have risen!” 

When she saw Jesus, and heard what he said, Mary sang for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

Two friends were walking on the road to a town called Emmaus.  They were very sad because they had been friends of Jesus.  They felt badly because when Jesus had been arrested, they had not defended him.  They were afraid they might be arrested and killed too.

They met a stranger who asked them why they looked so sad.  They were amazed that the stranger had not heard what had happened in Jerusalem, about Jesus’ death.  They explained to him all that had happened.  “This very morning,” they said, “Mary went to the tomb and found Jesus’ body was missing but she saw him.  He was risen.”

As they continued walking, the stranger talked about scripture and what it meant. The two friends asked the stranger to eat with them in their home.  At their table, the stranger took a loaf of bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. When he did this, the two friends suddenly recognized him.  It was Jesus!

As soon as they recognized him, he disappeared.  They ran as fast as they could back to Jerusalem where they sang for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

Jesus friends were gathered in a room in Jerusalem.  They were frightened and confused.  They were afraid that at any moment, Roman soldiers would come to arrest them and put them to death like Jesus.  They were confused because Jesus body was not in the tomb that morning and people were saying they had seen him all over the place.

As they were discussing this, suddenly, Jesus was standing among them and he said, “Peace be with you.”

They were all startled and thought he might be a ghost.  But he showed them the wounds on his hands and feet.  He told them to touch him and asked, “Does a ghost have flesh?”  Then he ate a meal with them.  He taught them some more about scripture, went for a walk with them and blessed them, telling them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come to them.

All his friends returned to Jerusalem, singing for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

Thomas had not been with the friends when Jesus appeared to them.  They told him all about it.  But Thomas refused to believe anything they said.  He said he would only believe, if he saw Jesus with his own eyes and put his own hands on Jesus’ wounds.    

A week later, they were gathered in the room again.  The door to the house was shut.  This time, Thomas was with them.   

Once again, suddenly, Jesus was there among them.  He said, “Peace be with you.”  He told Thomas to but his finger on his wounds and told him not to doubt.  He said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me.  But those who haven’t seen me and still believe that I am alive are really blessed.”   

When Thomas heard and saw and felt and knew that this was Jesus, he sang for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”   

A few weeks later, Peter and several more of Jesus friends were fishing, but they weren’t having much luck.  They couldn’t catch anything.  They had been out all night. 

Just as the sun came up, a man on the beach called out to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?”    

They answered, “No.”   

“Cast your nets again,” the man called back.   

They did as he said and there were so many fish in the nets that they couldn’t pull the nets back into the boats.  When they saw this they looked to Peter and said, “Look!  It is Jesus!”   

Peter was so excited that he jumped into the sea and swam to the shore.  When they all got to the shore, they cooked some of the fish they had caught on a fire that was there.   

They were so happy to see Jesus that they all sang for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

A long time later, about a year, a man named Saul was walking on the road to Damascus.  He was a religious leader from Jerusalem and was looking for Jesus’ friends to have them arrested.   

While he was walking he saw a bright light and heard a voice.

“Saul, Saul,” said the voice, “Why are you hurting me?”   

“Who are you Lord?”  Saul asked.   

“I am Jesus, you are hurting me by arresting my friends.  Go to the city and you will be told what to do.”   

Saul was very frightened.  When there was silence and the light had gone out, Saul couldn’t see.  So he did what Jesus told him to do. 

When he got to the city, a friend of Jesus taught Saul all about Jesus and the things Jesus did when he was alive, and the things he taught about scripture and about his death and how the tomb was empty and many people had seen him alive again.   

When Paul heard all this, his eyesight came back and he sang for everyone to hear, Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

The story isn’t finished, it goes on and on.  Because you and I hear about Jesus, and what he taught, the things he did and the things wants us to do.

Some of us believe because we have seen Jesus, but most of us believe even though we haven’t seen him.  We know he is alive when we feel really, really loved. We know he is alive when we see something in creation that is simply too wonderful to have been made by anyone but him.  We know he is alive when people continue to gather to celebrate that day when Mary showed up at the tomb and saw it was empty.

And so Jesus wants us to sing for everyone to hear: Alleluia: Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

Reflection “We Are an Easter People”

How do we proclaim an Easter message that is real and not just a recitation of ancient slogans? 

How do we proclaim an Easter message with integrity, asserting that Christ is Risen when our newsfeeds are so full of stories of sickness, death, violence, injustice, and suffering?

How do we proclaim an Easter message that takes the world, and how we are feeling about it, seriously?  

We could be tempted to anesthetize ourselves to what is happening in the world, just for a while, so we can search for eggs, eat our chocolate, sing our hymns, and have a “Happy Easter.”

We could be tempted to let ourselves become numb.
We could be tempted to turn a blind eye.
We could be tempted to let ourselves become discouraged, to despair, to become resigned, to say, well, that's just the way it is, pray God keeps it far from us.
We could be tempted to feel the pain, and respond in kind: to become resentful, fearful, angry, despondent…
We could be tempted to let ourselves act out in ways that alienate and estrange.   

But that is not the call of Easter Morning.  

Paul writes:

"Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of God, so we too might walk in the newness of life." Romans 6:4b  
"The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."  Romans 6:10-11  

When Paul writes about "Sin" in this way, he isn't talking about the lowercase "sin" as in human misbehaving, trespasses, or transgressions.  When Paul writes about Sin, he's referring to an uppercase Power that is in opposition to God: a way of being in the world contrary to the Way of Christ.  

The first message of Easter Morning is that though the world is full of illness and death, pain and suffering, violence and alienation, injustice and isolation, there is another way.  

Paul writes that through Christ, we have died to the Way of Sin and are raised to the Way of Christ for the Glory of God.  

That means that even in a world filled with illness, death, violence, injustice, and terror, not only can we choose to live differently, we are commanded to live differently.  

We do not ignore the power of Sin in the world, we bear witness to it and we denounce it.  
We do not let our hearts become numb, but we let our hearts break, knowing in Christ, there is another way.  
We do not succumb to despair, but we hold fast to hope, trusting that we are not alone in our struggle for peace and justice.  
We do not react with resentment and anger, but we let our hearts be transformed with compassion and empathy.  
And we do not grow weary doing what is right, but we learn patience and humility.  

And we remember that some days, we will do better than others.  

We are an Easter People, our “gathering” this morning proves that despite what the Powers of the world throw at us, we have not given up.  

May we continue to choose to be an Easter people.
May we continue to choose life over death.
May we continue to choose hope over despair.
May we continue to choose compassion over anger, humility over resentment, and kindness over pride.
May we continue to live for the Glory of God. Amen.  


Let us unite our hearts in prayer, saying,
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For the Church throughout the world,
that as we celebrate the feast of Jesus’ resurrection,
we may renew our faith and strengthen our witness in Jesus’ name.
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For pastors, teachers, and ministers,
For Richard Bott, Treena Duncan, Jay Olson
and other national and regional church leaders and staff,
That they be wise in leadership, humble in service,
and fearless in the face of evil.
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For the governments of the world and its leaders,
Especially, for our local, provincial, and national leaders,
Prime Minister Trudeau and his family and staff,
Premiere Horgan and his family and staff,
Dr. Bonnie Henry and her family and staff,
That they may practice compassion
and reject the politics that use death and suffering
as means of control;
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For our planet Earth,
that people may be good stewards of its resources
and share in its abundance;
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For the poor and the stranger,
that they may receive a place of refuge,
hope, and hospitality;
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For the sick and those in distress,
that they may find healing for their pain
and be restored to fullness of life;
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For our neighbours, [far and near],
that together we may dwell in harmony;
[and work toward the common goal of “flattening the curve”
and keeping our most vulnerable safe;]
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

For our enemies,
that we may love them
and be agents of reconciliation in the name of Jesus;
God of Resurrection, hear our prayer.*  

Almighty God,
receive these prayers we offer,
and by the power of your Holy Spirit
use us for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In his name we pray. Amen.*

*Feasting on the Word liturgies for Year A vol 1, p136 ff  

The Disciples’ Prayer

Our Father who art in Heaven…  

Sending Forth

Express your appreciation to each other for this time of closeness and prayer  



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