The Message of Easter Sunday

A DIY service from John
Peter's Story
If the links don’t work for you, here is Peter’s Video Diary, God’s Not Dead, Our God is a Great Big God, He Has Risen, Because He Lives, Resurrection Day and Alive.

Todays reading is Matthew 28:1-10Open Link in New Window

Here is a reflection for Easter Sunday by Revd Ian Tomkins

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

The last Sunday when were all able to meet together at St Matthew’s Bristol or wherever you may have been then, was Sunday 15th March.

At St Matt’s, Richard Pendlebury spoke on Psalm 62Open Link in New Window (the audio recording can be heard on this website). It was an appropriate bible reading for what lay ahead.

‘My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.’

During this strange and difficult time, with things happening which we find hard to explain or understand, the call to go deeper in knowing and experiencing God’s grace and love—to rest in His presence, wherever we are, seems to me to be a stronger call than ever. When we’re unable to be with families, friends, neighbours and colleagues in that real and physical way which brings meaning and fulfilment in our humanity, we find ourselves looking again for our rock on which to stand.

I have read different good and helpful Christian reflections about this time, some wondering about Easter being postponed so to speak, as it can feel as though we’re living through an extended Lent, waiting to celebrate when we are finally back together. I understand and appreciate the thoughts. They’ve helped me think freshly about what I value in my life and why. It’s having a refining effect, enabling me to see more clearly where my hope comes from in life—what I really build my life on.

They have also confirmed in me that there is no postponing Easter.

By God’s grace, we can all continue to be refined during this season, to grow in wisdom and understanding about the source of our life, seeing more clearly perhaps than before, that our souls will ‘find rest in God alone,’ because ‘He alone is our rock and our salvation.’

But as we do so, we can also know and experience new life, new hope, new meaning and new birth, in how we live and respond to this season of our lives.

We have just journeyed through Holy Week, giving us the opportunity to look again, and take into our hearts the amazing grace of God given to us in the life and death of Jesus; and we have come out the other side with the knowledge of his resurrection for each and every one of us, not just for the immediate period ahead, but for all eternity.

We shall also come out the other side of this difficult time, and we will celebrate together. But we can also, now, experience resurrection to new life with Jesus Christ, by opening our hearts and our lives freshly or perhaps for the first time, to the love of God for you.

This is Easter—new hope, new life, new purpose and meaning for you and me through knowing the risen Lord in our lives, whose journey to the cross and out the other side, showed his aching love for us in ways we in hard to comprehend.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said”.

Matthew 28:5-6Open Link in New Window

At the beginning of this Coronavirus crisis and the lockdown, our archbishops set out a hopeful vision for the Church of Christ in this country, to be a people of prayer, praise and loving service—where we are, less dependent on Sunday Church and more reliant on the grace of God to sustain us and show us new ways of living and loving in our homes and communities day by day.

We are seeing and hearing about this loving service all the time, and it touches us deeply—because this is love.

Whether it’s the extraordinary courage, compassion, care, commitment and resolve of frontline NHS, key workers, government etc., or the small acts of love and support being given locally, it’s as if we’re looking at life through a new pair of spectacles, seeing and cherishing each other in new ways.

Someone said to me early in this crisis, that the Church won’t be remembered for the quality of its live stream or recorded media. What it will be remembered for is its generous acts of loving kindness, which bring new life and new hope to our relationships and communities—Easter hope, standing firmly on the rock and salvation Jesus Christ.

I’m going to end by saying the words of the first verse of that lovely hymn, In Christ Alone…

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand. Stuart Townend

Jesus Christ is risen today. Alleluia! May you know the hope and love of the risen Lord.

There is a video version of the service and a podcast of the sermon.

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