Easter Day 12 April 2020

Welcome to this Easter day service, albeit in extraordinary circumstances.
We could never have envisaged Easter separated from one another or wider family.
However, celebrate we will, wherever we are and however small “our community” this day.


Jesus lives! He lives in the hearts
and minds of all who love him.
On this day called Easter, we celebrate
the indestructible love and wisdom that
Jesus showed to the world.
We remember Jesus as we follow The Way:
We will remember him as we forgive,
and not hold on to hurts.
We will remember him as we give
until it makes a difference.
We will remember him as we resist violence
and all forms of abuse.
We remember him as we feed the hungry,
shelter the homeless and befriend the lonely..
We will remember his faith in a God
who loves, forgives and restores our hope.
We remember Jesus as we follow The Way.
We will remember his example of living
and loving.
(2012 Easter Liturgy, PCNVic – adapted)

Lighting an Easter Candle

We light this candle aware that the power of resurrection
has forever changed who we are,
and given us the courage
to boldly proclaim a living faith.
Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
We give thanks for the Spirit of Life visible in Jesus,
visible in us, visible in people in all walks of life.

HYMN: Christ is Alive and the Universe Must Celebrate

Christ is alive, and the universe must celebrate,
and the stars and the suns shout on this Easter Day!
Christ is alive, and his family must celebrate
in a great alleluia,
a great alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.
Here is our hope: in the mystery of suffering
is the heartbeat of Love, Love that will not let go,
here is our hope, that in God we are not separate,
and we sing alleluia,
we sing alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.
Christ Spirit, dance through the dullness of humanity to the music of God, God who has set us free!
You are the pulse of the new creation’s
with a great alleluia,
a great alleluia we praise the power that made the stone roll away.
© Shirley Murray (AA)

This morning’s readings are the well known summons to praise in Psalm 100, along with the earliest gospel account of the Resurrection – Mark 16: 1-8. Both readings are from the New Revised Standard Version.

Psalm 100
All Lands Summoned to Praise God
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Mark 16: 1-8
The Resurrection of Jesus

When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,
they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another,
‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’
When they looked up, they saw that the stone,
which was very large, had already been rolled back.
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe,
sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,
who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee;
there you will see him, just as he told you.’
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them;
and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

HYMN: Was it the Shaking Ground (Tune: Fulda WOV 137)
Was it the shaking ground that moved
the stone, that freed the resting Word,
that called the Christ to life again:
God’s Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?
The world still spinning, recollects
that God survived all human scorn;

that lives were changed for ever more
in meeting love alive, re-born.
This is the Voice that turns us round,
that calmly offers grace to cope;
that gives us strength to live again, that gives us cause to sing our hope.
©Andrew Pratt


The candle lit this morning symbolises new life and new hope.
Our prayer is that there be new possibilities for people and situations.
God of the universe.
All life comes from you and all nations are held in your loving embrace.
The pandemic that now holds us hostage threatens the well being and stability of the whole world.
With the dawning of this new day we place our trust in you.
Gather us under your protecting wings that we might encourage one another and work together to bring health, safety and peace.
Self-isolation signals a cut-off from many usual and normal contacts. Social distancing affects every community – family, school, church, town, city, our entire nation, and our world.
This is a frightening global phenomenon. However, perhaps we will look back and be able to see
that it also brought blessings, that we came to realise the important things – what makes life so precious along with those things we have taken for granted, or never really appreciated.
Today as we reflect on how the lock down affects us, we also consider the tragedy of isolation that so many people experience all the time: refugees, social outcasts, the elderly on their own, solo parents, the sick kept in isolation, people nobody wants anything to do with, those who are imprisoned.
And in the quiet we hold in our hearts those whom we love and are separated from; those in our parish and community and world we are concerned for.

And now in the spirit of the Lord’s Prayer we say [The Casa del Sol, John Philip Newell]
Ground of all being, Mother of life,
Father of the universe,
your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence.
May your longings be
our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the whole human family today
and for the whole earth community.
Forgive us the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict
but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life,
and the glory of life are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Celebration of Communion (as a community) is not possible on this Easter day.
However, let us experience whatever food and drink we have as sacrament.

You may wish to prepare morning tea. As we enjoy eating and drinking, whether with others, or on our own, let it be as if in eating and drinking, we are eating and drinking with our St Martins’ community of faith.

HYMN: We Are Called to Tell the Story (Tune: Regent Square, WOV 84)
We are called to tell the story,
passing words of life along,
then to blend our voice with others
as we sing the sacred song.
Christ be known in all our singing,
filling all with songs of love.
We are called to teach the rhythm
of the dance that never ends,
then to move within the circle,
hand in hand with strangers, friends
Christ be known in all our dancing,
touching all with hands of love.
We are called to set the table,
blessing bread as Jesus blessed,
then to come with thirst and hunger,
needing care like all the rest,
Christ be known in all our sharing,
feeding all with signs of love.
May the One whose love is broader
than the measure of all space
give us words to sing the story,
move among us in this place.
Christ be known in all our living,
filling all with gifts of love. © Ruth Duck (DITU)

May our living rooms be sacred space this day;
lifting us into the awesome mystery that is life.
In our sacred space we give words
to our inner sense of gratitude and hope.
We pause in gratitude for all that has been given;
in hope for all that is yet will be.
And so we will take gifts of food and drink,
such ordinary things of life, but blessed by God,
God’s to lift us into the mystery of grace.
God, we celebrate the life that is ours
for we know we are precious in your sight.
We celebrate Jesus’ life that became the pattern of reality for us:
life that is love revealed
love given and received
love in action.
Therefore, with all who have loved you throughout the ages
we praise you saying:
Holy, holy, holy, resurrection God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest.
Food and drink today remind us that the Communion bread and wine tell a very special story.
Bread has its beginnings in the earth: it is gathered, ground and kneaded by loving hands, tired backs, by sweat of toil.
Bread from field and mill and store.
Bread to break, to give and eat, shared from hand to hand.
Bread that must be broken open, to be used, to feed.
Bread broken to fill emptiness.
Likewise, the wine is of the earth, bitter and sweet.
From vine to glass, given and shared, of people’s labour.
Wine of joy and pain, grief and gladness.
Wine to be spilled to slake thirst and enliven the heart.
(Ruth Duck. Adapted by Nancy L Steeves)

Today, with food and drink we are also invited
to see, hear, smell, feel and taste the mystery of grace.

We give thanks for our life and the courage we are given to live it.
May our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
May our faith be expressed through love in action.
May our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude to life, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

HYMN: We Are An Easter People
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live. © William L Wallace (AA 146)

May God the star maker cradle and circle you.
May God the storyteller beckon and encourage you.
May God the life-changer challenge you and cherish you.
May you walk in the light of God’s love and laughter
all the moments of your nights and days.