This year we are happy to be able to welcome all to our Easter Services, a sign that things are better than last year if nothing else! Services as follows:
7.30pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by the Watch (optional) until 9.30pm
1.00pm Stations of the Cross
2.00pm Liturgy of the Day
Allleluia! Christ is Risen!
10.30am Sung Mass with Easter Ceremonies
We are still using the side door (opposite Cobden) instead of the main tower doors, and have hand sanitizer available on entry. You are required to wear a face covering unless exempt. Service books are placed on the pews marking socially distanced places. If you are unable to get to church please see the Easter service from last year for you to go through at home https://www.stpetersstockport.org.uk/uncategorized/an-easter-service-for-use-at-home/
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Fr Ken has compiled this service you may wish to use on Easter Sunday at home…
Alleluia Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed Alleluia!
Easter Morning Service
On Easter Morning we begin our Service by lighting the Pascal Candle; then we process into Church and after it is placed in the Candlestand and we sing “The Exsultet”
Rejoice, Heavenly powers! Sing, Choirs of Angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation! Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever! Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Saviour shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the song of all God’s people!
The Collect for the Day
God our Father, by raising Christ your Son you conquered the power of death and opened to us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration today raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us .. through Christ our Lord. Amen
READINGS Epistle Colossians 3 v 1 – 4
Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. 4.But when Christ is revealed — and he is your life – you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.
GRADUAL HYMN NEH 103
Alleliua! Alleliua! Hearts to Heaven voices raise, Sing to God a hymn of gladness, Sing to God a hymn of praise; He who on the cross a victim For the world’s salvation bled, Jesus Christ, the King of glory Now is risen from the dead.
Christ is risen, Christ the first-fruits Of the holy harvest field, Which will all its full abundance, At His second coming yield; Then the golden ears of harvest Will their heads before him wave, Ripened by his glorious sunshine, From the furrows of the grave.
Christ is risen, we are risen! Shed upon us Heavenly grace, Rain and dew, and gleams of glory From the brightness of thy face; That we, Lord, with hearts in Heaven, Here on earth may fruitful be, And by Angel-hands be gathered, And be ever, Lord, with thee.
Allelyua! Allelyua! Glory be to God on high! To the Father, and the Saviour, Who has gained the victory; Glory to the Holy Spirit, Fount of love and sanctity; Alleluya ! Alleluya ! To the blessèd Trinity.
Gospel St John 20 v 1 – 9 ( Authorised Version )
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
HYMN NEH 120
Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; endless is the victory, thou o’er death hast won; angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away, kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay. Refrain: Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son, Endless is the vict’ry, thou o’er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb; Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom; let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing; for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting. Refrain: Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son, Endless is the vict’ry, thou o’er death hast won.
No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life; life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife; make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love: bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above. Refrain: Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son, Endless is the vict’ry, thou o’er death hast won.
A time of prayer where you can pray for all those who are affected by the current situation. Pray for the world; for the Church; for our country and Government; for our doctors, nurses and emergency services; for your family, loved ones and friends; for those who are lonely or anxious; for the sick and dying; for the departed; and do not forget to pray for yourself and your own needs and concerns.
A prayer for those in authority
Loving God, in Christ Jesus, the servant of all, you call us to the service of others. Grant to those who govern the community the skill to recognise its urgent needs and the strength to pursue the common good. Endow us all with patience and courage, that we may care for the suffering, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and sustain the needy.Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eternal God and Father, by your power we are created and by your love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to you in love and service of one another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen.
Finish your intercessions by saying
The Lord’s Prayer (Traditional version )
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.Thy will be done in earth,as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
An act of Spiritual Communion
At this time, when our churches are closed for public worship, we will not be able to receive Holy Communion physically, which will be a painful thing for many of us. The tradition of the Church has been for people to make a Spiritual Communion when they are prevented from receiving Holy Communion. St Thomas Aquinas says in this we should have “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him”. You can pray this prayer as often as you like, but most specifically at the time when you would normally be present at Mass. My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen. (Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament)
FINAL HYMN NEH 110
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! our triumphant holy day, Alleluia! who did once upon the cross, Alleluia! suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia! unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia! who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia! sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
But the pains which he endured, Alleluia! our salvation have procured, Alleluia! now above the sky he’s King, Alleluia! where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!
During Eastertide instead of the Angelus Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven, Alleluia. He whom thou wast meet to bear, Alleluia. As he promised, hath arisen, Alleluia. Pour for us to him thy prayer, Alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, Alleluia. For the Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia. O God, by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, you have brought joy to the whole world: grant that, by the help of his mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life; through Christ the Lord. Amen
Some Evening Prayers
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. ( St Augustine of Hippo 354–430 AD)
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by the great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen ( Evening Prayer – Book of Common Prayer 1662 )
ANOTHER EASTER HYMN NEH 112
1 Jesus lives! thy terrors now Can, O Death, no more appall us; Jesus lives! by this we know Thou, O Grave, canst not enthrall us. Alleluya!
2 Jesus lives! henceforth is death But the gate of Life immortal; This shall calm our trembling breath, When we pass its gloomy portal. Alleluya!
3 Jesus lives! for us He died; Then alone to Jesus living, Pure in heart may we abide, Glory to our Saviour giving. Alleluya!
4 Jesus lives! our hearts know well Naught from us His love shall sever; Life, nor death, nor powers of hell Tear us from His keeping ever. Alleluya!
5 Jesus lives! to Him the Throne Over all the world is given; May we go where he is gone, rest and reign with Him in heaven. Alleluya!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Here is the latest briefing from Bishop Keith…
This is going to be a Holy week and Easter like no other. To be isolated from one another when we will crave fellowship is truly awful. To be absent from the remembrance of the Lord’s supper, to be absent from the worship at the Cross on Good Friday, to be absent from the great celebration and the Easter Acclamation, “The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”, will be strange indeed.
At one level this absence will be a huge loss. At another level the absence will be a moment in which the Lord speaks. How keenly we will feel the Lord’s own isolation through betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. We will taste a very little of what it was like to be deprived of your closest friends at your moment of greatest need. Please God none of us will want to echo the cry of dereliction from the cross, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?”. All of this Jesus did for us, as the beautiful Good Friday Hymn says, “We believe it was for us he hung and suffered there”; his death a bearing of our judgement, his death a taking away of our sins, his death a bringing to us of forgiveness, his death an experiencing of death so that he might destroy its power.
All of this we will remember whether in our own reading and prayer, or as we access our local services online if we can, or the Cathedral or national services as we are able. In a time when there will be no gatherings and no socialising, only continued concern because of the Covid-19 virus and its impact on the whole world, we will be praying for the NHS and all those on the front line, we will be praying for those we know who are sick or bereaved, we will be praying for those facing the possibility of death. And as we pray for our own country, we will be praying for those countries we know, especially the Solomon Islands (also struggling with cyclones) and the Congo (Aru and Boga are also struggling with the absence of an infrastructure we take for granted).
It may be strange to offer now a verse that comes in the readings set for Morning Prayer in the week following Easter Sunday – who knows what that week will bring? Will there be some capacity for there to be some kind of “holiday at home”? I hope so – but this verse comes near the end of one of the great chapters in the Bible on the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15. I hope each day, at the moment, all of us can include some reading from the Bible and prayer. During that week after Easter, the readings from this chapter are spread out over each day (Monday v1-11; Tuesday v12-19; Wednesday v20-28; Thursday v 29-34; Friday v35-50; Saturday v 51-end).
The verse I offer you, both for this week and next, is 1 Corinthians 15:49:
“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust so we will bear the image of the man of heaven”
Last year I spoke on this verse at an Easter Assembly at Woodchurch C of E Academy on the Wirral. I asked them to notice that the verse doesn’t say we may or might bear the image of the man of heaven, but we will.
This is our hope and joy this Easter. We know, I think, about bearing the image of the man of dust; our mortality, our frailty, our sinfulness, these are all included in this description. How can we not know that reality in our present crisis?
But the hope that the Church has held out to the world since that first Good Friday and Easter, is that just because Jesus went all the way to the cross alone, and to the depths of death, experiencing it in the fullest form of its cruelty and desolation, we now would be in no doubt that his resurrection life would be ours too, begun now and completed then – bearing the image of the man of heaven, Jesus himself.
What a hope? What a promise? What a word for those facing their own death or the death of someone so dear to them?
We may be isolated from one another, but we are never isolated from him. As 1 Corinthians 15 goes on to say, “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (55,56)
This is the truth summarised in the great Easter acclamation: “The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
This Easter Sunday, whether in the evening when we maybe lighting a candle and putting it in the window or at some other time in the day, may we find a way of sharing this greeting with our neighbourhood; perhaps by some post on Facebook, or some recording on YouTube, or creating some poster in the window, or seeing if any of your neighbours might like to join you on each of your doorsteps as you join in the joyful shout together! You might want to join in the chorus of a great Easter hymn: “Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son; endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won”.
This Easter and Holy Week will be like none that I have ever known; but yet somehow the very isolation and danger we are now in from this virus, I believe will enable us to enter yet more fully into the truth and the victory Jesus has established for us and for the world.