Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic all public worship across the Church of England has been suspended. Worship has therefore moved to online live-streaming. Below is the text of the simple service I live-streamed from Peterborough Parish Church on Sunday 22nd March 2020, for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Sunday Worship – Live-streamed
A Eucharist for Easter Day
Sunday 12th April 2020
Good morning and welcome to another live-stream service from the centre of Peterborough. Today is Easter Day, the most important day of the Christian Year. Even though we are separated by distance we join together to celebrate the hope which comes into the darkest moments, Christ’s triumph over death, God’s presence wherever we find ourselves today.
If you have the order of service from the e-newsletter sent out on Thursday or from the links to our website and social media, this is the order of service that I am going to use. This is being live-streamed in the morning but will stay available afterwards and also be uploaded a bit later to our YouTube channel.
Usually on Easter Day we would be sprinkled with water from the font to remind us of our baptism and commitment to follow Christ. We can’t do that this year, but I have a plan, so you will need a bowl of water and, if you haven’t got that to hand, you might want to get that now.
This service is a Eucharist. It felt particularly important for it to be a Eucharist on Easter Day, the most important day of the Christian Year. That can feel a bit odd when we are not all able to share in the bread and the wine. There is a concept of Spiritual Communion, where we make the best of what we can. Here, the presence of the Sacrament is acknowledged and we recognise that we share in communion with Jesus Christ, who is always fully present to us.
We have an Easter Garden and next to it is a Paschal Candle, and we will begin as we do each year with the lighting of that candle. In her special Easter Day broadcast, the Queen has referred to the light of hope, the light that shines in the darkness, the light that is always stronger than the darkness. For us this is the light of Christ and so we will be begin by lighting the Paschal Candle.
So, I invite you to be still for a moment as we focus our hearts and minds on the God whom we have come to worship.
The Lighting of the Easter Candle
We meet in the name of God:
+ Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
We gather this morning
to celebrate Christ’s glorious resurrection;
We gather to celebrate that he is the light of the world,
he has overcome the sting of death and brought us new life;
We gather to re-affirm our baptismal vows
to walk as children of light.
The Easter Candle is lit
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
All He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The light of Christ.
All Thanks be to God.
Risen Lord Jesus
as Mary Magdalene met you in the garden
on the morning of your resurrection,
so may we meet you today and every day:
speak to us as you spoke to her;
reveal yourself as the living Lord;
renew our hope and kindle our joy;
and send us to share the good news with others. Amen.
Prayers of Penitence
Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil
and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.
Silence may be kept
Like Mary at the empty tomb,
we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.
Lord, have mercy.
All Lord, have mercy.
Like the disciples behind locked doors,
we are afraid to be seen as your followers.
Christ, have mercy.
All Christ, have mercy.
Like Thomas in the upper room,
we are slow to believe.
Lord, have mercy.
All Lord, have mercy.
May the God of love and power
+ forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Collect for Easter Day
God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
Throughout Lent we have explored the first creation story in the Book of Genesis, following themes in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book, by Ruth Valerio, ‘Saying yes to life’. The final day (Day 7) is the Sabbath. And so we conclude this Lenten journey with the final passage.
Psalm 18:1-2, 14-24 – Between the Readings
Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:1-10
Throughout Lent we have been working our way through the first Creation story in the Old Testament Book of Genesis. This has been alongside many of us reading the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for this year, by Ruth Valerio ‘Saying Yes to Life’ (SPCK Publishing). As we have noted all along, the Creation story is not meant to be an account of what happened, but a poetic reflection and we have found many rich connections with the world, it’s purpose in God’s love and our responsibility as stewards of it; our environmental challenge.
Each week we have taken a different day, exploring its themes and deeper treasures. It has presented us with God as creator, bringing the world into being by his deliberate action and will, not random, but willed and wanted, made from and for love; light, land and sea, seeds and plants, stars and planets, sea creatures and winged birds; life emerging from the waters; the breath of life breathed into creatures including human beings with the job title to tend, to treasure and to transform. Each day bringing a deeper insight into the delicate balance, the interrelatedness of the earth in the vast and wonderful universe.
Today brings us to the final day, Day 7. This is the Sabbath Day, the day God is depicted as resting, delighting in what he has made. The Sabbath is actually Saturday, the end of the week, but since the first days of the Christian Church, Sunday has been kept as special because it is the day we remember Jesus rising from the dead. Each Sunday is a mini Easter Day, the day God has the last word over pain and suffering and death. It is the principle day of hope and at the moment we need to be renewed in that hope, in that faith, in that trust that no matter what, God has this and will not let go.
There is an encouragement for children to make and decorate rainbows as a sign of hope. I think the story of the rainbow in the Bible is the theme that runs through the whole bible. God’s love is so strong and powerful that it will never abandon us or let us go. Even if we stray a very long way, there is always a way back and God’s love is always before us.
We looked at the rainbow a little on Day 1, back at the beginning of Lent, when we looked at light. Light is the sign of God’s presence, bringing hope and joy, God’s purpose being fulfilled and sealed. As this is the origin, so it is the goal. Easter is the supreme sign and expression of this. It brings it to life – literally.
So, as a sign of this hope, this trust in God through whatever we face, I am going to make a fizzy drink to show this – I’ve called it Rainbow Fizz.
- Orange juice
- Fruit syrup – over back of a spoon, down side of glass to sink to bottom
- Soda water with blue food colouring – over back of spoon to float on top
Rainbow fizz 🌈
Something to remind us to the light and hope, the sparkle of Easter, its joy and wonder.
The Re-affirmation of Baptismal Vows
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead,
we remember that through the paschal mystery
we have died and been buried with him in baptism.
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.
Therefore, I invite you to say with me
All I turn to Christ.
I repent of my sins.
I renounce evil.
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess the faith of the Church.
All I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
If you have a bowl of water in front of you,
you might want to dip your fingers in the water
and make the sign of the cross on your forehead
as a reminder of your own baptism,
or in preparation for it if yours or another’s baptism has been delayed
by the Coronavirus disruption.
God of grace and life,
in your love you have given us
a place among your people;
keep us faithful to our baptism,
and prepare us for that glorious day
when the whole creation will be made perfect
in your Son our Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
The following response may be used
All Fill our hearts with Easter joy.
And at the end
All accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Liturgy of the Sacrament
The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said,
‘Peace be with you.’ Then were they glad when they saw the
Lord. Alleluia. John 20:19-20
The peace of the Lord be always with you. Alleluia!
Preparation of the Table
Taking of the Bread and Wine
The bread and wine are prepared.
The president takes the bread and wine.
Be present, be present,
Lord Jesus Christ,
our risen high priest;
make yourself known in the breaking of bread. Amen.
The Eucharistic Prayer
The Lord is here.
All His Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
All We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All It is right to give thanks and praise.
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
almighty and eternal Father,
and on this Easter day
to celebrate with joyful hearts
the memory of your wonderful works.
For by the mystery of his passion
Jesus Christ, your risen Son,
has conquered the powers of death
and restored in men and women
the image of your glory.
He has placed them once more in paradise
and opened to them the gate of life eternal.
And so, in the joy of this Passover,
earth and heaven resound with gladness,
while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation
sing for ever the hymn of your glory:
All Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
Send the Holy Spirit on your people
and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;
by whom, and with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours,
almighty Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Rejoicing is God’s new creation,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray
All Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
Breaking of the Bread
The president breaks the consecrated bread.
Jesus says ‘I am the bread of life
which I give for the life of the world’. Cf John 6:51
The Agnus Dei is said as the bread is broken
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.
Alleluia. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.
While it is not possible to share in physical Communion, there is a long tradition of what is known as Spiritual Communion. This is where the presence of the Sacrament is acknowledged and we recognise that we share in communion with Jesus Christ, who is always fully present to us.
The Book of Common Prayer describes the Sacrament as ‘an outward and physical sign of an inward and spiritual grace’.
The Church of which we are members is not defined by the walls of a building but by the Body of Christ of which we are members. In making our communion spiritually, we are joining with Christians everywhere to be nourished by the one who tells us, ‘I am the Bread of Life’.
We will hold a moment while all are able to reflect on Christ’s presence and lifegiving love offered for us and to us.
Prayer after Communion
The president says the Post Communion prayer.
God of Life,
who for our redemption
gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin,
that we may evermore live with him
in the joy of his risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God the Father, by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,
open to you who believe the gates of everlasting life. Amen.
God the Son, who in bursting from the grave
has won a glorious victory,
give you joy as you share the Easter faith. Amen.
God the Holy Spirit, who filled the disciples
with the life of the risen Lord,
empower you and fill you with Christ’s peace. Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty,
+ the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.
All Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.
God bless; stay in touch, look out for one another and stay well.
Have a happy and blessed Easter.
End of livestream.
Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 onwards