Service for the Third Sunday of Easter

Many encounters take place on the road - we think of a special one today.

Many encounters take place on the road - we think of a special one today.


A Service for the Third Sunday of Easter

 

Preparation:

Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.  During the Easter Season we call to mind the days when our Lord passed from death to life and appeared to his disciples and spoke with them.  

 

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

Alleluia.  Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia

 

The Collect

 

Let us pray that we may walk the risen life of Christ in glory.

 

Silence is kept.

 

Risen Christ,

you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:

strengthen us to proclaim your risen life

and fill us with your peace,

to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

 

 

The First Hymn

 

Jesus lives - please access Simon’s accompaniment here: 

https://youtu.be/AmITN_pLmMM

 

1 Jesus lives; thy terrors now

Can, O death, no more appal us;

Jesus lives: by this we know

Thou, O grave, canst not enthral us.

Alleluia!

 

2 Jesus lives: henceforth is death

But the gate of life immortal;

This shall calm our trembling breath

When we pass its gloomy portal.

Alleluia!

 

3 Jesus lives: for us he died

Then alone to Jesus living, 

 pure in heart may we abide

 Glory to our Saviour giving. 

Alleluia!

 

4 Jesus lives: our hearts know well

Nought from us his love shall sever;

Life nor death nor powers of hell

Tear us from his keeping ever.

Alleluia!

 

5 Jesus lives: to him the throne

Over all the world is given:

May we go where he is gone,

Rest and reign with him in heaven.

Alleluia!

 

 

The Reading:

Acts 2: 14a, 36-41

 

 

The Gospel:

Luke 24: 13-35

 

Homily

 

“ …. he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (v 27)

 

The Gospel reading for today, two weeks after Easter Day, the third Sunday of the Easter season, recounts the evening of that first Easter, relating the story of the two disciples being joined by Jesus on the Emmaus road.  Two weeks on and yet we haven’t left the first evening.  There is good reason why liturgically we do this, for the only later appearances that we have are the Upper Room encounter with Thomas and the meeting at the lakeside, all the other encounters between Jesus and the disciples after his resurrection occur within hours of one another.  In order to read these stories over the Sundays of Easter, we separate them out over our time rather than theirs, in the opposite way to Christmas when we are inclined to telescope events to bring them all together on to one day.

 

But we are, in any case, less interested in the precise order and timescale of these appearances of Jesus after his resurrection, than what they tell us about the risen Christ and remain important for us today. Jesus, as he joins his companions on the road to Emmaus, and, having made the initial contact and asked about the two men’s conversation, seems determined to convince these disciples about himself; that he is alive and no figment of their imagination or ghostly presence; but he is opening their minds to more than this.  He is placing himself in the context of the flow of biblical history – in the flow of God’s path to humanity’s salvation – he is opening their minds to the teaching of scripture about himself.  Both of these things require faith.  They need to know that he is alive and they need to know that God’s will is being done and that forgiveness is a vital element.  Jesus is establishing a group of witnesses to all of this – and he must convince every one of them of these amazing facts.  

 

So this is the news which comes out of our Gospel reading today: “Christ is truly risen and he is fulfilling the work of the Father”.  We can sing and shout our alleluias to that message with the confidence of Christians who live the resurrection in our own lives, but how is this life and fulfilment that Christ proclaims experienced in our day-to-day life?  Where is our Emmaus? Where is our Upper Room? Where is our lakeside breakfast?  

 

The answer is simple in the normal course of things, before ‘lockdown’ became our common state, and distancing our recommended habit:  Our Emmaus experience would happen over coffee, our upper room may be the touchline of our sporting club, our lakeside may be the beach on a Saturday afternoon.  Just now, we seek the reality of physical sensation through the virtual reality of social media; the face of those we are “in touch” with, through a screen; the voice of compassion along a wireless connection.

 

What is it that holds all of these things together with the physicality of Christ’s teaching in today’s Gospel?  It is the intensity of love to which our eyes need to be opened.  Jesus is revealed in the loving encounter with those whose joy it is to see him.  After the two disciples return to Jerusalem, Luke gives us those lovely words, “they still disbelieved for joy”, just beyond the passage of today’s Gospel, in verse 41. I see them with nodding heads and happy smiles, as everything which to them is so wonderful and yet incomprehensible sinks in and becomes real. 

 

Jesus chooses his context carefully – the journey; the walk; the companionship of the way, that has already seen many words of teaching, and the commitment of Jesus to his disciples, even as he knows they will let him down.  This is a place of sharing not just ideas, but of counting the cost of love – “it is written that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead”.  “Do you understand?  Can you not see? 

 

The frame of reference is our Lord’s resurrection.  All the ordinariness of a companion on the road, or an upper room gathering, is transformed by the centrality of this one thing.  This becomes the sub-text of Christian encounter; as obvious as the unexpected love discovered in countless human meetings; Christians live it, share it, experience it, worship because of it – and in dying, embrace it.  Because he lives, we live, and such grand truth is presented to us today as in the breaking of bread.  The common things in life can show us profound truths if our eyes are open.  Deep things may be revealed in the commonplace, especially if they occur with tenderness or wonder; even more so when these sensitive emotions are found together.

 

John Mann

 

 

Second Hymn

 

Christ the Lord is risen again:  https://youtu.be/W4ZEJ3uGLE8

 

1 Christ the Lord is risen again;

Christ has broken every chain!

Hark, angelic voices cry,

Singing evermore on high: Alleluia.

 

2 He who gave for us his life,

Who for us endured the strife,

Is our Paschal Lamb today.

We, too, sing for joy and say: Alleluia.

 

3 He who bore all pain and loss

Comfortless upon the cross,

Lives in glory now on high,

Pleads for us and hears our cry: Alleluia.

 

4 He who slumbered in the grave

Is exalted now to save,

Now through Christendom it rings

That the Lamb is King of kings. Alleluia.

 

5 Now he bids us tell abroad

How the lost may be restored,

How the penitent forgiven,

How we, too, may enter heaven. Alleluia.

 

6 Thou, our Paschal Lamb indeed,

Christ, thy ransomed people feed,

Take our sins and guilt away,

Let us sing by night and day : Alleluia

 

 

Prayers

 

Jesus, our exalted Lord, has been given all authority.

Let us seek his intercession that our prayers may be perfected by his prayer.

 

Jesus Christ, great high priest,

living for ever to intercede for us,

pray for the Church, your broken body in the world.

 

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Jesus Christ, King of righteousness,

enthroned at the right hand of the majesty on high,

pray for the world, and make it subject to your gentle rule,

and lead us in the paths of your mercy and compassion.

 

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Jesus Christ, Son of Man,

drawing humanity into the life of God,

pray for your sisters and brothers in need, distress, or sorrow,

especially all anxious for themselves or others in this time of crisis.

 

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Jesus, pioneer of our salvation,

bringing us to glory through your death and resurrection,

surround with your saints and angels

those who have died trusting your promises.

 

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Jesus Christ, Lord over all things,

ascended far above the heavens and filling the universe,

pray for us who receive the gifts you give us for work in your service,

and help us to neither fall nor fail .

 

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Jesus Christ,

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at your feet;

for you are alive and reign with the Father

and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

A few moments of silence before we say the….. 

 

Easter acclamations:

 

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He has given us new life and hope.

He has raised Jesus from the dead.

God has claimed us as his own.

He has brought us out of darkness.

He has made us light to the world.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

God the Father,

by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,

open to all who believe the gates of everlasting life.

Amen.

God the Son,

who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory,

give us joy as we share the Easter faith.

Amen.

God the Holy Spirit,

who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord,

empower us and fill us with Christs peace.

Amen.

 

 

Sonata da Primo Tono - Jose Lidon: https://youtu.be/1N8-PgN8mWk