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Worship Sheet for Sunday 17 April                        Risen and rejoicing   

For all that Jesus had spoken about rising on the third day, even his closest friends are taken aback. Mary goes to the tomb to make the burial preparations which hadn’t been possible because of the rush before the Sabbath began. She is shocked at the empty tomb. Peter and John too. But gradually they encounter Jesus and come to believe – and joy follows. Quick or slow doesn’t matter but Jesus delights when we respond.  
Call: Come and see, Jesus is not here, the tomb is empty, come and see, Jesus is risen. Come all who are weary and sad, let us celebrate, for Christ is here, he is risen, hallelujah. Come and see, Jesus is here. Let us worship the risen Christ!

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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : Living God, this Easter Day we come together in joy, and in praise. The sorrow of these last days has passed, Jesus is risen, he is with us today, and forever. Our joy and thanks are beyond words. We come together remembering and rejoicing that though our saviour was crucified, died, and was buried, he rose again, bringing joy to the sadness, hope to the despair. Help us to carry this wonder with us, always, and never forget what you have done for us. We come together with prayer in our hearts, and joyful songs on our lips. Jesus’ promise is fulfilled. Help us to take strength from the truth of the resurrection, help us to remember that though we each travel through our own times of trial, though the darkness may surround us, your light will always shine. We come rejoicing in the gift of life, sure in the truth of your presence. Help us to remember that our lives are to be lived in Jesus’ footsteps, striving to love and to care for all whom we meet. Give us the boldness to step forward in faith and hope, shouting with joy, he is risen, he is risen indeed. Amen.

Todays Bible reading - Listen by clicking on the image or using the sound bar below
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John 20:1-18         The empty tomb.         
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Thought- Are you sometimes slow to adapt to change, to adopt different ways of thinking. Well, imagine for a moment what it must have been like for the first disciples. Jesus had given them personal attention, all the teaching and insights that he could, with 3 years of on the job training and endless question and answer sessions – and they were still surprised when Easter comes and the tomb is empty! It is reassuring to discover that you don’t need a perfect faith to be a Christian. What is needed is an openness to receive Jesus’ love. Mary wanted to do the “right thing” and so she heads off at the crack of dawn to see to the burial rituals that had been missed because of the rush before the Sabbath. And she is surprised – the tomb was empty. She tells her news to Peter and John, who come running and see the empty tomb for themselves. Mary weeps, thinking that someone has moved Jesus’ body. Someone comes. Thinking him to be the gardener she asks if he has moved the body. “Mary” the man says and she realises it is Jesus. “Teacher” she replies. And in two words they have established both contact and hope. Slowly, Jesus appears to the disciples, to the wider group of followers and then crowds. We can’t be there but what we can do is be open to receive Jesus’ love, ready to respond. And the implications of the empty tomb, the risen Jesus and the rejoicing and hope that follows is open to us. Questions are fine, taking our time is ok - as long as there is an openness. Jesus loves us and he is ready to give us the time to reflect, to take things in, to understand and respond. But he longs for us to welcome him.

Praise: CH4 410         Jesus Christ is risen today.   
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: What a wonderful surprise it was – for Mary, for Peter and John and later all the rest of the disciples – to realise in the midst of their deep sorrow that you, Jesus, were alive and with them. A wonderful surprise for them – and for us too. Great news to live out and to pass on - letting everyone know that you really are alive, that you are God’s Son, our Saviour! Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, after all many times you told your friends that you were going to rise on the third day and many of us have heard it many times – but until the penny drops, until, like Mary and Peter, we meet with you, our risen Lord, it didn’t click. Thank you heavenly Father for letting us meet with Jesus – to know him risen and alive and with us here and now in 2022. Lord Jesus thank you that we can join in praising you as our risen Lord and Saviour – thank you that you are still alive.  Thank you for the power and joy of the Easter story, for new life, lives totally changed, of love defeating evil. Help us to take it in, to let that glorious message give us a new beginning, to love and hope and joy. Heavenly Father, we pray today for all those who still need to hear the good news of Jesus, the full story. Prepare hearts, open minds and grant opportunities to hear and to accept the good news of Jesus – his love and forgiveness. Be with those whose hearts are heavy today far and wide and here in Montrose. Be with the bereaved, troubled, worried, those who are low. Be with those whose circumstances are tough – whatever the cause. You have promised to be with us always and you really can help us in times of trouble. Please be near to those for whom we pray. And as part of our prayer walk around the town we remember today those who live or work in Mearns Drive and we continue to pray for all affected by the invasion of Ukraine. SILENCE
Lord, help us young and old, to know the power of the risen Jesus this Easter Day. Keep us close to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, deepen our love for him and for one another and give us the will and the strength to share the wonderful news of Easter – of a risen Saviour and a real future and hope in him. We pray in your Son’s precious name. Amen.

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.