Easter Sunday 12th April 2020

Good morning everyone and on this, what is probably the strangest Easter that most of us have ever experienced, let’s reaffirm our faith that Christ our Saviour is risen!

Prayerful best wishes to all our members, families, neighbours and friends.

Below is a pre-recorded video with readings and prayer, and a printed message.

We look forward D.V. to being together in worship again soon.

​Andrew

 

Please click the link below for readings and prayer.

https://youtu.be/VftBA8YllM4

‘The Resurrection of Jesus – What does that mean to me?’
1 Peter 1 vs 1 -21

Life in the first century could be harsh.  Slavery was common.  Gladiators killed each other as popular sport in the arena.  Women and children could be cruelly neglected or abandoned quite legally.  For the new Christian minority it could be even more difficult with added suspicion, even brutal persecution!

And yet as we read the letters of the Apostles we’re struck with how positive and upbeat they are.  Even when experiencing hardship, threat and heartbreak they sound remarkably cheerful.

‘We are more than conquerors’ writes Paul.  ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world’ writes John.  Their letters contain a lot of serious material but nonetheless come from a basic viewpoint that is hugely grateful and full of hope.  Our reading in 1 Peter spells out a little more of the reason:  ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead…

The resurrection of Jesus, what did that mean to these first Christians, and what can it mean to people like us this Easter 2020?

Firstly it means our Shepherd is alive.  Death is not the end.  Evil doesn’t win.  Sin and failure are now curable.  Because Jesus, Son of God is alive forever we can know Him as our Shepherd in every time and place.  We can experience something of His presence with us by the Holy Spirit.

Now here is a mystery, Jesus is enthroned in Heaven at the Father’s right hand and yet somehow through the Spirit He is also with His followers worldwide.  He promised he would be with us always.  So even when we feel alone or isolated from family or friends we can be assured our Good Shepherd is with us to guide and help.

Here is our comfort.  After His resurrection Jesus forgave and reinstated Peter.  He gave extra confirmation to Thomas.  He blessed them all with further instruction and promise.

He is alive so He is with us and can help us today, whatever our circumstances.

Secondly the resurrection means our Master reigns.

Not even death could defeat Him.  He is the eternal winner.  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto Him.  This puts Christians in a strong place spiritually.  The world, the flesh and the devil can throw many challenges at us, we should expect a degree of trouble in the short term but our Saviour has overcome these things and in His name so can we.

Here is our assurance.  Jesus is Lord and He answers the prayers of His followers with wisdom and compassion.  He delivers us from the darkness which would bind us and seek to bring us down.  He Who has broken the bonds of death sets us free to truly live.  His perfect, never ending love drives out all fear, giving courage to face each new day with faith and creativity and grace.

Our Shepherd lives, our Master reigns and thirdly our Lord is returning.

The story isn’t over.  He continues to build His global Church and one of these days He will return in glory to judge the living and the dead and gather His people safe home.

Here is our motivation!  We don’t live merely to chase pleasure, success or happiness.  We live to obediently serve our Lord in anticipation of seeing Him come on the clouds of glory at the head of the angelic host.  We no longer live for the adulation of other human beings.  We long to hear His voice on that day say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’

There are some humorous images on social media at the moment of what it will be like when we’re released from our present restrictions due to the corona pandemic.  We’ll emerge, maybe a few pounds heavier, but joyful nonetheless to run and skip down the street!

How much greater hope has been given to followers of Jesus!

We look forward to whole new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  No more sin and evil, no more suffering and death!  The dwelling of God and Christ with His creation in harmonious blessing with all things made eternally new.

The present darkness is coming to an end.  Light has dawned.  Hope is ours.
It’s Easter and Jesus has risen from the dead.

To Him be glory and praise!

Amen

 

Church Service

EVERY SUNDAY
at 10.30 am
During July and August, the service will begin at 10.15 am and tea/coffee will be served afterwards.