Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Not seeing is believing

John 20:1-18
The Resurrection of Jesus
 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. 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.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 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. 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.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 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. ’” 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.

On this resurrection morning, fresh from the garden,
Jesus bids us, Come dine with him.
On this resurrection morning, though we are still unsure of who he is,
Jesus bids us, Come dine with him.
On this resurrection morning, though we know how easily we falter in our faith
Jesus bids us, Come dine with him.
So gather round this table assured of a welcome by the Risen Lord Jesus
Make space for others as Christ makes space for us.

 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.(Mt 26:26-30)
Jesus, knowing that he was about to be betrayed and handed over to the authorities, shared a meal with his disciples. And, before they headed into the approaching storm, before they all scattered and deserted him, he gave them this memorial which would bring them back together and speak to them of forgiveness and union with God and with each other.
These symbols before us today speak to us of forgiveness and communion with God and with each other and, on this Easter Day, they speak to us too of the wonder of Resurrection.
Let us give thanks:

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Risen Lord Jesus
that night in the upper room with your disciples
as you looked around the table
You knew who would betray you
You knew who would desert you
You knew who would be too weary to watch for you
Yet you looked at each of your friends with love
and gave them, and us, this sacrament
that speaks of your love for us
just as we are - 
In our weakness
In our failings
In our weariness
Still we are loved
Still you hold out for us
food that unites us with you and with each other
food that restores our souls and nourishes our spirit.
As we share this feast today
may we know the depth of healing
the depth of loving
the depth of restoration
that is possible in the new life you offer.
May we know your healing on us and on the world we serve.
May we know your love flooding our souls with warmth
and overflowing into the communities we serve.
And may we know our faith restored
in the potential of your resurrection
to make a difference in our lives
and in the lives of all your children throughout the world,
those who live in fear,
those who live without hope
those who live without love.
As we feel your resurrection stir our souls
in this place today, surrounded by your Spirit 
and the spirits of all those saints 
who have gone before us
may we be renewed in purpose
taking the power and the energy
of your love into all the world
knowing that, still your love changes everything.
God breathe your resurrection Spirit
into this bread and this wine
that as we share in this place
we may know your risen power
infusing all that we do and share together,
enabling us to go and breathe new life into the world.

Jesus, looking into the eyes
of those he knew would fail him
took bread.
He broke it and said:
This is my body, broken for you
Do this to remember me.

He took the cup, already tainted by betrayal
and spoke of forgiveness 
and of drinking the cup in the new kingdom
and said: Drink from it all of you.

In this bread and wine our risen Lord offers us new life today.
We do this to remember him.

See the risen Lord striding toward you today
holding out life in all it's fulness.

Prayer after communion
Lord Jesus we have feasted on the bread of life.
We have quenched our thirst with the wine of your new kingdom.
In your risen power you have united us with all our loved ones
in heaven and on earth.
May that sense of communion strengthen and renew us,
bring us hope and even joy
so that in all our hurts and sorrows in days to come
we may remember that you risen Lord overcame death
and have prepared for us,
your everlasting kingdom.
To you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God
be glory here and everywhere, now and forever.

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