Sunday, April 8, 2012

First Light - A Dawn Service for Easter

Our Dawn Service talk us on a walk from the Golf Club house up to the top of Cleeve hill via a wonderful quarry, evocative of the tomb at the first Easter

First Light
A Dawn Service for Easter

Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, arrived. His name was Joseph. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linens, put it in his own tomb, a new tomb only recently cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Then he went off. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed, sitting in plain view of the tomb.
After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, "Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, 'After three days I will be raised.' We've got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There's a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, 'He's risen from the dead.' Then we'll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first."
 Pilate told them, "You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can." So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.
We take a stone
Stones they threw at Jesus
Stones surrounded Jesus at his death
A Stone sealed his tomb.

In this stone we see the hurt Jesus endured,
The pain he shared, the burden he carried.
In this stone we see the hurt we have inflicted on others, the pain we have caused others, the burden we have imposed on others.
In this stone we see the hurt we have inflicted on Jesus, the pain we have caused Jesus, the burden we have imposed on Jesus.
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us

1     From heaven you came, helpless babe,
       entered our world, your glory veiled;
       not to be served but to serve,
       and give Your life that we might live.
       This is our God, the Servant King,
he calls us now  to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering
of worship to the Servant King.
2     There in the garden of tears,
       my heavy load he chose to bear;
       his heart with sorrow was torn,
       'Yet not My will but Yours,' He said.
3     Come see His hands and His feet,
       the scars that speak of sacrifice;
       hands that flung stars into space
       to cruel nails surrendered.
4     So let us learn how to serve,
       and in our lives enthrone Him;
       each other's needs   to prefer,
       for it is Christ we're serving.
Graham Kendrick (born 1950)  CCL 3540

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb.
We take our stones with us as
our walk begins

We let go of our stones

We lay this stone to rest and we know for certain that Christ has carried all that hurt, all that pain, all those burdens, and he has set us free.  We are forgiven.  We are set free.  We may begin all over again.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move.
The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
 "Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."
The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. "Good morning!" he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, "You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there."

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 victory, thou o'er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom.
Let his church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

No more we doubt thee, glorious prince of life!
Life is nought without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors,
       through thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Edmund L Budry (1854-1932), translated by Richard B Hoyle (1875-1939)  CCL3540

Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, "His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping." They assured them, "If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don't get blamed." The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the High Council, is still going around.

Our walk goes on
Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

1     I will sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ who died for me,
How he left his home in glory
For the cross on Calvary:
       Yes, I'll sing the wondrous story
       Of the Christ who died for me,
       Sing it with his saints in glory,
       Gathered by the crystal sea.

2     I was lost but Jesus found me,
Found the sheep that went astray,
Threw his loving arms around me,
Drew me back into his way.

3     I was bruised but Jesus healed me,
Faint was I from many a fall;
Sight was gone, and fears possessed me;
But he freed me from them all:

4     Days of darkness still come o'er me;
Sorrow's paths I often tread;
But the Saviour still is with me,
By his hand I'm safely led:

5     He will keep me till the river
Rolls its waters at my feet;
Then he'll bear me safely over,
All my joys in him complete.
Francis H Rowley (1854-1952)

Today and Tomorrow

Today and tomorrow
Today and tomorrow

Lo, I am with you always,
When we try
To do your will

I am with you always
When we go
Where we do not know

I am with you always
When we meet
One we do not recognize

I am with you always,
Where faith ends
And doubt begins

I am with you always
And should we forget you …

I am with you always
Today and tomorrow
Today and tomorrow
You are with us always
To the end of the world

Bible passages are from Matthew 27 and 28 in the Message.  The idea for the first prayers and the last responses taken from Stages on the Way (Wiild Goose Worship Group, Iona).  Hymns reproduced under Churches Copyright License 3540

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