Church of England Diocese of Chichester Shipley

Shipley Church Self-Service Easter Sunday 4th April 2021

3 Apr 2021, midnight
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Easter Sunday 4th April 2021

Thought for the Week – “I have seen the Lord”

In John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene is the first to see the resurrected Jesus. What an amazing and moving reading it is! (John 20: 1-18). But Mary’s recognition of Jesus, after discovering the empty tomb, was not immediate; her initial reaction was not joy at the risen Christ, but confusion and fear of the unknown. Only when Jesus calls her by her name, does she realise it is He standing before her. “I have seen the Lord!” she tells the disciples. Often in the bible, direct encounters with God evoke a sense of awe and anxiety. When the shepherds, watching their flocks in the fields near Bethlehem, saw the glory of the Lord around them, their response was fear (Luke 2: 8-9). Again, the Archangel Gabriel’s declaration to Mary – that she would bear the holy child – left her shocked and astonished.

But with the Easter story, we are presented with the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Old Testament (Isaiah 53), which suddenly ceases to be an abstract idea and becomes something particular and specific that will transform lives and the life of the world. As we gradually emerge from winter into Spring, nature’s cycle of life, death and rebirth is at its most visible. The endlessly recurring rhythm of the seasons helps us to believe we can escape the finality of death. Can we offer ourselves as an expression of God’s love to its unfolding? And are we able to recognise and pay witness to our risen Lord?

Easter Hymn

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast 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 vict’ry thou o’er death hast won.

Easter Prayer

We pray, Lord you have taught us that death is not the final word. As the sun rises this Easter morning, will you rise in our lives to be our hope, our life, and our joy.

Note: The Gospel and Readings set for today can be downloaded from the top right of this page