All Saints’ Church Renhold Bedfordshire, England

The Easter Dawn Service:

A fire will be lit,

This prayer may be used as the fire is lit


Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,

to you be glory and praise for ever.

Your steadfast love extends to the heavens

and your faithfulness never ceases.

Illuminate our hearts with your wisdom

and strengthen our lives with your word,

for you are the fountain of life;

in your light we see true light.

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be God for ever.


Waiting for the Dawn. Personal, historical and biblical stories of escape might be shared.


Readings


Genesis 1:1-2:4      Creation story –


In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’  So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.  God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.  God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.  Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

 And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,  and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so.  God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.  God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’  So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.  God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’  And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so.  God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so.  God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.  And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

Prayer – Genesis 1 –

Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ: Grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so may we  share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever – Amen


Genesis 22: 1-18  - The Command to Sacrifice Isaac –

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’  So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.  On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away.  Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’  Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.  Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’  Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.  But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’  He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’  And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,  I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’ 

Prayer – Genesis 22 –

Almighty God, whose servant Abraham faithfully obeyed your call and rejoiced in your promise that in him, all the families of the Earth should be blessed; give us a faith like his; that in us, your promises may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen



Exodus 14: 10-end –

As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord.  They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?  Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, “Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’  But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.  The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.  But you lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground.  Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.’

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.  The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.  The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers.  At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.  He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’  So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.  Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.


Prayer – Exodus 14: –

Lord God our redeemer, who heard the cry of your people and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery: free us from the tyranny of sin and death and, by the leading of your spirit; bring us to our promised land; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen

At dawn an Easter Light is lit.

As the Easter Light is lit, this prayer may be said

Eternal God,

who made this most holy night

to shine with the brightness of your one true light,

set us aflame with the fire of your love,

and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.



Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


Praise the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He has given us new life and hope

He raised Jesus from the dead



Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.


The Resurrection 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. 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 towards 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.

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 round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 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.’ 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.

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Reflection

Alleluia Alleluia! – The Lord is Risen – He is Risen indeedAlleluia


Graveyards are strange places; in that they bring up different emotions for different people. For the recently bereaved, they can be places of grief and sadness, For the historian, they are places of interest and data collection, for children, they can be playgrounds; great for hide and seek. Graveyards bring up a range of emotions in us, depending on our life experience.

Mary Magdalene came to the graveyard that Sunday morning with a mixture of emotions about graveyards.

Only a week before, she had been standing in another graveyard - the one where a tomb housed their friend Lazarus. We all know the story where Jesus drew near to Lazarus’ tomb and called him out and within a matter of minutes Lazarus stood before them, back from the dead. Jesus had amazed the crowd by raising Lazarus from the dead: with his incredible display of his authority and power.

The graveyard was a good place to be that day! The graveyard was a place of victory, a place of miracles, a place of uncontained joy. But a lot can happen in seven days…

The triumphal entry in Jerusalem had soon resulted in opposition. The crowd had turned, the mood had soured, and then the atrocities of Good Friday dealt a crushing blow to the hopes and dreams of Mary and her friends.

How could it all have gone so wrong? Had the last three years been for nothing?   What about the brave new world that Jesus had promised? What about the least becoming first? What about this new world order where the meek would inherit the earth? What about this promise of life in all its fullness? These words seemed to ring hollow for Mary now as she stood in the graveyard.

Last week, she had been in a graveyard that spoke to her of victory and joy. This week, she stands in a graveyard that speaks to her of defeat and loss. How could it all have gone so wrong?

Mary moves towards the tomb of Jesus and grief consumes her heart. John tells us of this in verse 1 when he says, “It was still dark”. The sunrise had yet to happen, both physically and metaphorically: for Mary, in body and soul, “It was still dark”.

She arrives at the tomb and, to her horror, the stone has been removed lifted out of the groove in which it had been placed. Mary is beside herself in fear and sadness. This is the final humiliation, the final betrayal by the authorities: what has Jesus done that they should treat him with such lack of respect? It was more than enough to have him arrested. It was more than enough to have him put on trial. It was more than enough to have him publicly flogged and tortured. It was certainly more than enough to have him crucified. But now it seemed that grave robbers have taken the body - and who in Jerusalem at that time would not have suspected the Roman authorities of behind this despicable ruse?

We hear that she runs off the tell Simon Peter and John the terrible news and she is convinced that Jesus’ body has been mistreated in death just as badly as it had been in life.

Simon Peter and John run to the tomb. John gets there first, he bent over, he peers inside – but he dares not to go in. No such bashfulness with Simon Peter: always a man in a hurry, he reaches the tomb and goes straight inside and sees the linen cloths which had been wrapped around Jesus’ body.

But for the first time, there is an indication that something very special has taken place. When Lazarus was raised from the dead, he came out of the tomb still wrapped in his linen cloths. But this scene is now looking very different. The cloths are neatly folded, the napkin for the head is in a separate place. This is a carefully laid out scene, designed to show the disciples and followers that something unique has taken place.

Lazarus had been resuscitated but Jesus has been resurrected, and the two events are quite different…And grasping that point, that Jesus was not merely resuscitated but resurrected, is at the very heart of the Easter story and what we believe as Christians. Because in the next verse, John says of himself, “He saw and believed”.

It may seem to us that he could be comparing himself rather favourably with the disciple Thomas, doubting Thomas who, later in the day, says: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” What a contrast between the faith of John and Thomas.

But I think there is something even more profound about this comment, which takes us to the very heart of the passage. John is confronted by an empty tomb – and he sees and believes. He does not have to see the risen Christ to believe: the empty tomb is enough. And I think that is a key point for us all as Christians, for those who may not consider themselves as Christians, and for those who cannot believe - that the empty tomb is enough: the empty tomb is the basis of our faith. We do not need to see great miracles to believe. We do not need to have profound answers to prayer to believe. We do not need writing in the sky or a vision of Jesus to believe.

      The empty tomb is enough

      The empty tomb is the greatest miracle of all.

      The empty tomb is the most profound answer to humanity’s deepest question.

      The empty tomb is God’s message to us.

      The empty tomb is enough.

      “He saw and believed”.

This is the journey of faith into which we are all called this Easter Morning: a journey to see, contemplate, and to understand. and as we go through this process it would be wrong to suggest that the empty tomb gets rid of all our doubts; that the empty tomb makes it easy to believe: of course it does not. All of us will continue to have doubts and wrestle with poor understanding about God. And that is exactly what we find in this Easter story.

My question for us this morning is - Where are we as individuals and as a community on the journey of faith? Have we seen? Have we contemplated? Have we understood? If so, then we can complete the Easter story in our own lives and grasp the implications of the resurrected Christ for our own life. Because the resurrected Christ brings us forgiveness. The resurrected Christ brings us wholeness and healing. The resurrected Christ brings us a new identity and fullness of life.

The Easter story is not one to be confined to the history books: it is a living experience for each one of us as we learn to truly see Christ for who he is and the impact he can have on our lives.

Happy Easter and may God’s blessings be on you



Confession

Christ died to sin once for all, and now he lives to God.

Let us renew our resolve to have done with all that is evil

and confess our sins in penitence and faith.

cf Romans 6.10

Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins,

and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

We have lived by our own strength,

and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


We have lived by the light of our own eyes,

as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


We have lived for this world alone,

and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.


Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us,

pardon and deliver us from all our sins,

confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,

and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen.



Let us pray

As we celebrate the risen Christ, let us pray to the God of Life in whom we live

We pray that the inhabitants of our planet may recognize God’s glory all around them and will cooperate in the sharing of his gifts and cultivate the habit of caring Love– Risen Lord…Hear our Prayer


We pray that God will bless our homes and our families, our places of work and leisure, with new life and the hope of new possibilities, touching the ordinary with beauty and Joy

Risen Lord…Hear our Prayer


We pray for all who feel trapped or imprisoned, physically, mentally or spiritually – May they feel the stones rolled away and the new light of this glorious day pouring into their lives

Risen Lord…Hear our Prayer


We pray for those who have died to this earthly life, may they find the fullness of God’s eternity and be flooded with the light of his love –

Risen Lord…Hear our Prayer


May we live each moment thankfully, assured of God’s company and Mercy.  Amen



The Peace

Alleluia. Christ has been raised from the dead.     1 Corinthians 15.20


The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.


Eucharistic Prayer


The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.


Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.



It is indeed right, our duty and our joy,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

almighty and eternal Father,

and in these days of Easter

to celebrate with joyful hearts

the memory of your wonderful works.

For by the mystery of his passion

Jesus Christ, your risen Son,

has conquered the powers of death and hell

and restored in men and women the image of your glory.

He has placed them once more in paradise

and opened to them the gate of life eternal.

And so, in the joy of this Passover,

earth and heaven resound with gladness,

while angels and archangels and the powers of all creation

sing for ever the hymn of your glory.


       Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

[Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.]


Accept our praises, heavenly Father,

through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,

and as we follow his example and obey his command,

grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit

these gifts of bread and wine

may be to us his body and his blood;



who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

took bread and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

To you be glory and praise for ever.


In the same way, after supper

he took the cup and gave you thanks;

he gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

To you be glory and praise for ever.


Therefore, heavenly Father,

we remember his offering of himself

made once for all upon the cross;

we proclaim his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension;

we look for the coming of your kingdom,

and with this bread and this cup

we make the memorial of Christ your Son our Lord.


[Great is the mystery of faith:]

      Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.


Accept through him, our great high priest,

this our sacrifice of thanks and praise,

and as we eat and drink these holy gifts

in the presence of your divine majesty,

renew us by your Spirit,

inspire us with your love

and unite us in the body of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

To you be glory and praise for ever


Through him, and with him, and in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,

we worship you, Father almighty,

in songs of everlasting praise:

Blessing and honour and glory and power

be yours for ever and ever. Amen.


Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

      Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who 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.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

       Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.


      Jesus, Lamb of God,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,

grant us peace.

Giving of Communion

Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.


      We do not presume

to come to this your table, merciful Lord,

trusting in our own righteousness,

but in your manifold and great mercies.

We are not worthy

so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.

But you are the same Lord

whose nature is always to have mercy.

Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,

so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ

and to drink his blood,

that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body

and our souls washed through his most precious blood,

and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.

Amen.


The president receives communion.

The body and blood of Christ, Amen.

Due to Social distancing the president distributes the host to those present.

Prayer after Communion

God of Life,

who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son 

to the death of the cross,

and by his glorious resurrection

have delivered us from the power of our enemy:

grant us so to die daily to sin,

that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


      Father of all,

we give you thanks and praise,

that when we were still far off

you met us in your Son and brought us home.

Dying and living, he declared your love,

gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.

May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;

we who drink his cup bring life to others;

we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.

Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,

so we and all your children shall be free,

and the whole earth live to praise your name;

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


The Dismissal

The God of peace,

who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep,

make you perfect in every good work to do his will.

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia Alleluia

 In the name of Christ. Amen. Alleluia Alleluia!!


Copyright Acknowledgements: - Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops Council, 2000 CW ORDER ONE – ORDINARY TIME AND HOLY DAYS.

CCLI number - 804157