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Easter Day Church services, April 2nd

Friday, 2 April 2021

Dear Friends,

We celebrate Jesus risen from the dead and the transformation from despair to joyful hope of those who encountered him, their servant king and living lord.

We have Easter Day Church services as follows:

9am          Holy Communion at St Andrew, Collyweston.

9am          Welcome Easter outside All Saints, Laxton, followed by Holy Communion.

10.30am  Holy Communion at All Saints, Easton-on-the-Hill.

10.30am  Welcome Easter outside All Saints & St James, King's Cliffe, followed by Holy Communion.

11.30am  Welcome Easter outside St Nicholas, Bulwick, followed by Holy Communion.

Social distancing requirements will be in place and we are asked to have minimum interaction with other people when arriving and leaving.

There is also an Online Communion Service for Easter Day with Easter hymns and a sermon by Reverend Keir Dow.  Please, visit our website or King’s Cliffe Church Facebook page from 8.30am onwards.  The reading and reflection sheet is attached.

Morning Prayer is said each day.  On Friday this is in All Saints, Easton-on-the-Hill at 9am.

There is no Sunday evening Zoom service this week.

May God bless us this Easter and His love abide within us.

Philip Davies

www.kingscliffe.church and see also the Kings Cliffe Church Facebook page. 

The Rectory, 3 Hall Yard, Kings Cliffe, Peterborough.  PE8 6XQ

Tel. 01780 470314 (home)         e-mail philip.davies1605@gmail.com

Easter Sunday 2021 

Collects: Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen. 

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: 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. 

Acts 10.34–43: Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’ 

Gospel John 20.1–18: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her. 

Reflection by Reverend Keir Dow: 

As you sit down to read this, I imagine you are waiting for an awesome Easter sermon. 

This is, after all, one of two times per year that we might see some of the parishioners in church or online: the fabled ‘Christmas and Easter’ crowd. It makes sense, then, that I would be tempted to throw everything into this sermon, telling a story so compelling that at least one of the readers of this will become a regular. 

Every year, preachers make Easter their ‘Super Bowl’, their ‘Cup Final’, their ‘Last Night of the Proms’, trying to find some new take on Easter that will compel and wow the congregation. And every year, preachers fail at this task for one reason: the resurrection story was already compelling enough. You have not sat down to read my take on the Easter story. 

You have come to read and celebrate that Christ is Risen 

Before the Pastoral Letter is written, before the Easter flowers arrive, before the dressings are changed to white and gold, before I wrote this sermon and put on my vestments, and before people arrive at the church on this special Sunday morning, before all of that: Christ is risen indeed. 

So, what should I preach? 

The story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing more, and nothing less. 

I don’t even really need that much setup. Regardless of how often you might come to church, you do not need convincing that death is an impossible and draining reality. 

Every day, we all may look into the faces of those who have just lost their spouse to cancer last year, those who lost a friend in a car crash last week, those so overcome with depression that they only made it to church because they knew they’d hate themselves if they didn’t. We might look into the eyes of adults whose marriages are crumbling, children just coming to terms with the reality of the death of a grandparent, and the young adult who’s hiding their addiction all too well. We might see the transgender teen who’s wondering if their parents will ever accept them as they are, and we might see the preteen who dreads going to school again because the other kids are so cruel to them. 

You do not need to hear my ground-breaking fresh take on Easter; you simply need to hear that Christ is risen. In the words of Harvey Milk, (an American politician and Gay rights activist): “You gotta give ’em hope.” 

So earlier this week I said to myself, “Here’s your chance, Keir. Take a breath and tell them the story.” 

“Tell them the story of a radical rabbi born to a poor carpenter and his fiancé who grew up in an occupied land. Tell them about how he grew up to tell everyone that God is not bound by anything, He is loose in the world. Tell them about how he caused such a ruckus that his loved ones begged him to lay low for a while, but he wouldn’t, because he had a mission. Tell them about how the ‘powers that be’ captured him and mocked him, beat him, and killed him while the people looked on or even joined in. Tell them about how he was buried in a cold tomb hewn out of the rock, sealed there presumably forever, like every human who had died before him. And then tell them how Mary found that tomb empty three days later.” 

KEIR, just tell the story they came to hear. 

The story they need to hear. 

Tell the story need to hear. 

It’s been pointed out many times before that Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus at first. She comes to the tomb, overcome with death’s effects, overcome with grief, weighed down. And the risen Jesus calls her name. 

Because the Good News is that God is still loose in the world. Through the closing churches over the last year and the angry emails and the frustrations and the loneliness, God is still loose, undeterred by the Church’s failures, even the failures that are our own. 

Through it all, God still finds a way to get to us. Not even death could stop God. 

So, we all should let go of trying to find a new take on Easter. Instead, consider sharing that Jesus is loose: in wine and bread, in water and words, in human bodies and broken souls. Jesus is loose and that matters, regardless of — well, anything else. 

Jesus was risen long before I arrived on the scene. My job is simply to give ’em hope — so I’m just going to tell the story. Here goes: 

Jesus is loose. God is loose. Love is loose in the world, coursing through our church and every seemingly forsaken corner of the world and our own hearts. 

That is all we need to hear. Amen