You can join this week’s worship service by clicking here. As is our tradition on Easter Sunday, this week we celebrate communion. Just as Jesus and the disciples did, you are invited to join in this prayer using whatever food and drink you have at hand. There’s also a video for children which you can watch by clicking here.
Below, you’ll find Steve’s reflection based on the scripture for this week. Our weekly e-newsletter will continue to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening at St. Paul’s. If you don’t currently receive that, and would like to, please contact us and we’ll happily add you to our mailing list.
In these exceptional times, please do stay in touch, with us and with each other. The peace of Christ be with you all.
Scripture: Mark 16: 1-8
Music: Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Bread of Life, Thine Is the Glory
I wonder, what you enjoy the most about the Easter service? Is it the music that as our voices rise so do our hearts (Even if we know we are a little off key)? Is communion, a sacred remembrance, celebrated together? Is the reading and the message that connects us with the basis of our faith and that offers us hope?
I love the Easter service – because I have the best seat in the house. I get to watch the reactions of kids: as they watch balloons rising up to the ceiling from under a black cloth; I see their amazement when an egg is smashed and there is nothing inside; and the shock of finding grapes disguised as chocolate Easter eggs. The children make my heart sing because they truly feel the joy and the possibility of Easter. I am going to miss that this year.
There are a lot of things we are going to miss this year. Easter doesn’t feel like Easter: our church is empty, our tables aren’t filled with family and friends, the Master’s isn’t even on TV! In some ways it feels more like Good Friday, a day filled with fear and grief. In other ways, it is like Holy Saturday with a sense of foreboding and knowing some things are going to be incredibly different.
On that first Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the followers of Jesus were filled with the reality of watching Jesus die on the cross, the one who revealed the power of God’s love – a love that has no limits. It was a time when the future was unclear for those first Christians. They knew it would be different. I suspect some wondered about the truth of everything that Jesus had taught about God’s love and hope.
On Easter morning, the women go to the tomb to do what they must for Jesus. As they are walking they realize a large stone was blocking the entrance and they ask, “Who will roll away the stone for us?”
Friends, maybe that is our question, who will roll away the stone for us? This Easter is different, it is a time to ask ourselves the hard questions: what are those things we truly want change? What are the stones blocking us from embracing life more fully? What are the stones blocking us from embracing the power of God’s love – for ourselves, our families, for all others around the world?
So, we go back to the Easter story, to that first Easter morning and we remember: the power of God’s love could not be held back by a mere stone, even the sting of death could not overcome the power of God’s love. The power of God’s love is so strong it can roll away stones and raise the dead; then it can help us change those things in our lives, our families and our community that need changed. Love is the only power that can truly change the world.
We need to remember that yes there are Good Fridays and Holy Saturdays but we are an Easter people and there is no stone large enough to block us from fulfilling God’s Easter all.
Churchill once said, “Never waste a good crisis.” Remember the outrage we as Canadians felt when we thought the surgical masks weren’t going to make it across the border? We were outraged! It was a crisis, until the crisis was resolved. But this outrage points to something that we as followers of Jesus believe, we are all in this together and that no life is worth more than any other life!
As we emerge from this crisis and we will let us more fully embrace the love that God offers: a love that can’t be held back by any stone; a love strong enough to overcome even the sting of death; a love strong enough to transform our lives and our world; a love strong enough to help us see, like a child, the wonder and joy that God’s love offers to all people; a love so encompassing that we realize the truth of our creed: We are not alone, we live in God’s world. Thanks be to God.