Easter Smiles – Worship @ Home Sunday, 04 April 2021

The Salvation Army, Prestonpans Corps
Major Steven Turner from various sources

Bible Reading

16 Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”

Mark 16:1-7 NLT

Song: Up from the grave he arose

Low in the grave he lay,
Jesus, my Saviour;
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

Up from the grave he arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er his foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And he lives for ever with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch his bed,
Jesus, my Saviour;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord.

Death cannot keep his prey,
Jesus, my Saviour;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord.

Robert Lowry (1826-99)

Responsive reading

Written by Jayson D Bradley – https://ministryadvice.com/responsive-readings-for-easter/

Leader: The world is full of turmoil and unrest.
Congregation: He is risen!
Leader: We want to help, but we don’t know where to start.
Congregation: Take heart, he has overcome the world!

Leader: You prayed for the unity of your church, but we are not unified.
CongregationHe is risen!
Leader: We long to be a vibrant, healing community of faith.
CongregationHe who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.

Leader: My heart is full of turmoil and unrest.
Congregation: He is risen!
Leader: I need your power inside of me.
Congregation: In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Leader: He is risen!
Congregation: He is risen indeed!

Chorus: He is Lord

He is Lord, He is Lord,
He is risen from the dead
And He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord.

Song: O Joyful Sound

O joyful sound! O glorious hour
When Christ by his almighty power
Arose and left the grave!
Now let our songs his triumph tell
Who broke the chains of death and Hell,
And ever lives to save.

He lives, he lives,
I know that my redeemer lives.

The first-begotten of the dead,
For us he rose, our glorious head,
Immortal life to bring.
What though the saints like him shall die,
They share their leader’s victory,
And triumph with their King.

No more we tremble at the grave;
For he who died our souls to save
Will raise our bodies too.
What though this earthly house shall fail,
The Saviour’s power will yet prevail
And build it up anew.

Thomas Kelly (1769-1855) (verses)

The Easter Smile

We often spend a lot of time considering how Jesus felt about the events of his trial and crucifixion: the pain, anguish, loneliness and sadness. But when it comes to the resurrection, we focus on the reactions of the women, the twelve and the others who encountered the risen Jesus.

What about Jesus? Surely he would be quite excited about the prospect of coming back to life and seeing his friends again. He must have been thrilled at the thought of overcoming death and showing God’s power to all the doubters.

Sister Emmanuel of the Franciscan Order imagines Jesus in the moment of his resurrection:

“Now in the place He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So…as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Him there.”

John 19:41-42

Over the holy days of the Easter Triduum and into the Easter season, my heart was drawn to consider the mystery of the tomb. A place enclosed in the reality of death and yet transformed into a place of the most Glorious Life. There the Lord lay…lifeless in the depths of the tomb. Where all seemed hopeless, futile, defeated – a place that in every way signified death – the end.

And yet, there came a single moment…

The Moment.

When empty lungs were filled with breath.

When a body, cold and stiff,
began to radiate with warmth.

When a heart, silent and still,
began to beat once again.

When a body, surely dead,
overspilled with new, Glorious Life.

All in one single moment…
A moment that changed everything.

Very beautifully, this magnificent moment occurred in the quiet recesses of a dark tomb…in the secret depth of intimate solitude…with no Apostle, no disciple, friend or follower there to witness it. When Peter arrived at the tomb, “He saw the linen cloths lying and the napkin which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but…rolled up in a separate place.” (John 20:6-7). The cloth that had covered the Lord’s face was “rolled up in a separate place.” Surely this was done with great care, as this was the moment when, uncovering His glorious face,

Jesus smiled.

He smiled! The smile of all smiles. The kind of smile that can reach into the gloomiest of hearts and draw forth a smile in return. The kind of smile that communicates even more than words could describe. A smile that knows, indeed, the victory is won and soon all shall know this. A smile that says, “See what my Father has done? Sin and death are not to reign in you. Love has won! The Father’s heart has spoken and triumphed eternally and definitively.” The kind of smile that pierces through my every darkness, my every sorrow, my every suffering, worry, grief, sickness, weakness…my every sin. A smile that lifts me up, fills me with peace, hope, love and life. In His smile, I know all will be well.

This Resurrection smile, this Easter smile is exactly what my heart needs! This, I believe, is what our world needs at such a time as this. In a time when smiles may be few and far between, whether that is because of the great distance between us or the masks that may cover our faces, let us fix our eyes on the one smile that can never be taken away from us. The smile of the Risen Lord. And may we smile back in the fullness of our hearts to Him who is forever victorious, forever gloriously triumphant.

Alleluia! The Lord is risen as he said, Alleluia!

Sr. Emmanuel (Novice)
https://www.franciscansisterscfr.com/post/the-easter-smile

Song: Celebration morning

A bright new hope is dawning like the rising of the sun:
A celebration morning; God’s work on earth is done.
A perfect love is growing deep within God’s earthly plan;
A new excitement glowing to share with ev’ry man!

Rise and look around you, sec God’s glory shine.
Feel that hallelujah, celebrate the Christ divine!

The sunrise has new meaning for the one who kneels to pray;
The moment of believing Christ comes to show the way.
A firmer faith is building on the word of perfect truth;
A solid rock foundation that man can never move!

Rise and look around you, see God’s glory shine.
Feel that hallelujah, celebrate the Christ arisen;

Celebrate the Christ, he is risen now!
Celebrate the Christ, arisen;
Celebrate the Christ, he is risen now!

Words: lan Adnams
Music: Len Ballantine

Bible Reading

36 And just as they were telling about [the encounter on the Emmaus road], Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.

41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched.

44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Luke 24:36-44 NLT

Resurrection Life

An Easter Message from General Brian Peddle
Watch the General deliver the message: https://vimeo.com/522763998

The Easter story resonates with life and hope, and how we desperately need these in our world today. Through the years of the Old Testament, we clung to the hope in the prophesies of a Messiah. Through the silence of the years between the Old and New testaments, we clung to the hope that God had not forgotten his people or his promises. Then that hope took on flesh and blood in the person of Jesus and we witnessed for ourselves that God had remembered the cries of his people, confirming that our hope was not in vain.

We witness a Jesus who taught and modelled forgiveness and love, who partied with tax collectors, dined with sinners, spoke with women of dubious morals, condemning no one. We see for ourselves a glorious mixture of grace and truth. We are caught in awe and wonder as Jesus turned water into wine, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cast out demons, healed the leper, controlled the wind and waves, and we see for ourselves the inexhaustible power of God.

On Good Friday it appeared as though hope had gone as the life flowed out of Jesus’ body. This irresistible man of captivating parables, insightful teaching and miracles, with the ability to impact the very fabric of society and people to the utmost depths of their being, was killed on a cross and placed in a tomb. It looked and felt like someone had turned out the light and put a lid on our hope. Then something truly remarkable, life-transforming and world-changing happened: the stone was rolled away, the graveclothes left in a pile – because Jesus was alive! The light was more glorious than ever, and our hope found new heights.

Easter is not simply a remembrance of something that happened in the past – but as we celebrate it we remind ourselves that the resurrection life is to be an everyday experience. The pandemic we are experiencing makes it feel, at times, similar to Good Friday – as though the light has been turned off and a lid put on our hope. There are many circumstances in life that may cause us to feel like that – natural disasters, illness, unemployment, divorce, drug addiction, bankruptcy, domestic violence, racism. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ remind us that God is with us in every circumstance, that he is bigger and more powerful than any circumstance, and that God specialises in the miraculous and the impossible.

When we have given up on ourselves, God still believes in us. When we feel like we are unloved, God shows us Jesus. When we feel like we have made the biggest mistake of our lives, Jesus provides forgiveness. When we are suffocating in the darkness, God shines the light of his presence. When we are despairing, Jesus provides hope.

You see this resurrection life is a full, abundant, complete and whole life. This resurrection life is a new life, because it is life in Christ and, as such, is free from condemnation. This resurrection life starts the minute we accept Christ as Saviour and continues for all eternity. This resurrection life is dynamic, because the power of God is unleashed in us. The change starts on the inside and transforms how we view everything.

On that first Easter morning the disciples were still experiencing Roman occupation and all that came with it, but the realisation that Jesus was alive and that every promise had been fulfilled changed everything. They now had an eternal view, they understood that sin and death had been conquered, that the Kingdom was indeed a spiritual Kingdom and that God reigned supreme over everything. Such understanding would change how they viewed and responded to life in this world because the glorious light of Christ shone in their lives and the hope of eternity was secured. They would never be the same again – just as we will never be the same again if we claim that same resurrection power.

May God bless you as you celebrate the risen Christ. Amen.

General Brian Peddle

Song: I stand amazed

Video by Bromley and Bexleyheath Singing Companies

Song: Thank you for saving me

Thank you for saving me;
What can I say?
You are my everything,
I will sing Your praise.
You shed Your blood for me;
What can I say?
You took my sin and shame,
A sinner called by name.

Mercy and grace are mine,
Forgiven is my sin;
Jesus, my only hope,
The Saviour of the world.
‘Great is the Lord,’ we cry;
God, let Your kingdom come.
Your word has let me see,
Thank You for saving me.

Great is the Lord.
Great is the Lord.
For we know Your truth has set us free;
You’ve set Your hope in me.

Martin Smith.
© 1993 Curious? Music UK
Adm. by Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

Resurrection Prayer

Christ our life,
You are alive – in the beauty of the earth
in the rhythm of the seasons
in the mystery of time and space
Alleluia


Christ our life,
You are alive – in the tenderness of touch
in the heartbeat of intimacy
in the insights of solitude
Alleluia


Christ our life,
You are alive – in the creative possibility
of the dullest conversation
of the dreariest task
the most threatening event
Alleluia


Christ our life,
You are alive – to offer re-creation
to every unhealed hurt
to every deadened place
to every damaged heart
Alleluia.

You set before us a great choice.
Therefore we choose life.
The dance of resurrection soars and
surges through the whole creation,
This is grace, dying we live.
So let us live.

Kathy Galloway

Song: Christ the Lord is risen today

Christ the Lord is risen today,
Hallelujah!
Sons of men and angels say:
Hallelujah!
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Hallelujah!
Sing, ye heavens; thou earth, reply:
Hallelujah!

Love’s redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won;
Lo! the sun’s eclipse is o’er,
Lo! he sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal,
Christ hath burst the gates of Hell;
Death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ hath opened Paradise.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Once he died our souls to save;
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?

Soar we now where Christ has led,
Following our exalted head;
Made like him, like him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

Benediction

May God’s blessing surround you each day,
As you trust Him and walk in His way.
May His presence within guard and keep you from sin.
Go in peace, go in joy, go in love.

About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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