Easter   12th  April  | Worship

  

Welcome & Gathering In:

Welcome all this Easter Sunday worship

He is Lord: Praise and worship Songs 

Call to worship 

O God we celebrate this wonderful day 
Jesus is with us.
When we last gathered we saw the story of Jesus arrest, 
suffering death and burial. We departed experiencing a sense of loss.
Today we gather in joy
Alleluia Christ is Risen
Christ is risen indeed Alleluia
Let us worship God
We celebrated that you conquered death and invited us back into a right relationship with you. You became human, one of us, and took upon yourself our experiences and pain and suffering. You have shown us life cannot be defeated by death, and through our faith in you  we do not have to fear. We thank you and praise you as we celebrate Jesus alive again and with us forever Amen.

Hymn : See What a morning gloriously bright, Stuart Townsend resurrection  

Reflection - Rev.Alisa 

Is Christ seen in Hamilton East ?  

Hymn : Thine be the glory The Scottish festival singers 

John Barleycorn must die! 
 
A Harvest-time Easter-time Message 
From Rev Ian Boddy 
 
Opening verse  - Psalm 104 
Lord, how manifold are your works! The earth is full of your creatures; In wisdom you have made them all. They all look to you to give them food in due season. When you open your hand they are filled with good things. When you take away their breath, they die. When you send forth your Spirit, they are restored and renewed.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. 

Harvest Hymn:      Awake, Awake, to Love and Work. [MHB 588] 
 
Awake, awake to love and work, 
The lark is in the sky; 
The fields are wet with diamond dew, 
The worlds awake to cry 
Their blessings on the Lord of life As he goes meekly by. 
 
Come, let your voice be one with theirs, 
Shout with their shout of praise; 
See how the giant sun soars up, 
Great lord of years and days!
 So let the love of Jesus come, And set your soul ablaze. 
 
To give and give and give again, 
What God has given me; 
Give of myself nor count the cost To serve right gloriously  the God who gave all worlds that are and all that are to be. 
          Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy 
 

Introduction  
During the Covid-19 shutdown most of us are not waking to work, though we all find a few odd jobs to occupy ourselves. I hope you all are able to be in contact (of the new, distanced kind) with love.  
Today, after a few days of much needed rain, the giant sun has come up. Glorious! I like this hymn, Awake, Awake. It was #588 in the Methodist Hymn Book but has not made it into many newer hymn books, such as With One Voice. 
I guess that it was put aside perhaps because it names the sun ‘Great lord of years and days’. My theology has always been mildly Animist, seeing God in every good thing, and so I like this recognition that our earthly life and sustenance owes a great deal to our Sun and its Solar System. It is within God’s mysterious universe, and, for myself, my theology is not therefore tainted.  
For each of us our religion and religious practices are related to our location; in the universe, the Solar System, the order of the planets, on earth, our hemisphere. A Northern hemisphere Easter is a Springtime festival: after the bleakness of Winter there is new life, rebirth, fresh growth, blossom and the promise of fruitfulness. Our New Zealand Easter is a Southern hemisphere Easter; a Harvest time Easter!  Many of the images in the Easter songs and hymns are wrong for us, upside-down for us, because you live in New Zealand. We have to rethink Easter for ourselves as a harvest experience, the culmination of sunshine, warmth and growth. We picture the harvest of the wheat, rather than the new blade rising out of the once frozen soil. We experience Easter as the good fruit, the reward for effort, the life sustaining harvest which gives us the ability to face the future boldly no matter what the present and future seasons might bring.   
 
I want you to listen to a harvest time song.  
Please find it on you-tube and listen. John Barleycorn Must Die. Traffic. 1970.
 
 
Here are the words: 
There were three men came out of the West Their fortunes for to try 
And these three men made a solemn vow: 
John Barleycorn must die 
 
They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in 
Threw clods upon his head 
And these three men made a solemn vow: 
John Barleycorn was dead 
 
They've let him lie for a very long time 
Till the rains from heaven did fall 
And little Sir John sprung up his head 
And so amazed them all 
 
They've let him stand till Midsummer's Day 
Till he looked both pale and wan 
And little Sir John's grown a long, long beard 
And so become a man 
 
They've hired men with the scythes so sharp 
To cut him off at the knee 
They've rolled him and tied him by the way 
Serving him most barbarously 
 
They've hired men with the sharp pitchforks 
Who pricked him to the heart 
And the loader he has served him worse than that 
For he's bound him to the cart 
 
They've wheeled him around and around the field 
Till they came unto a barn 
And there they made a solemn oath 
On poor John Barleycorn 
 
They've hired men with the crab-tree sticks 
To cut him skin from bone 
And the miller he has served him worse than that 
For he's ground him between two stones 
 
And little Sir John and the nut-brown bowl 
And his brandy in the glass; 
And little Sir John and the nut-brown bowl 
Proved the strongest man at last 
 
The huntsman, he can't hunt the fox 
Nor so loudly to blow his horn 
And the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pot Without a little Barleycorn.  
               Traditional,  re-arranged Stevie Winwood.  
 
 

Reflection:     JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE 

The son of Man will be handed over… and they will condemn him to death. 
The song came to my mind when thinking of the Easter themes of death and new life. John Barleycorn Must Die. Not a Beatles’ song, but one by Stevie Winwood’s pop group Traffic. It’s not a pop song but part of the strong folk song influence in the 60s. John Barleycorn Must Die is a traditional folk song revised and re-arranged by Stevie Winwood, released in 1970.   
John Barleycorn is not a person but a barley corn. It’s a gruesome song about what the barley corn goes through in the process of making brandy. As a seed John Barleycorn is buried and grows again, but is slashed down with sickles, bound to a cart, stripped of his coat and crushed under a millwheel.  
John Barleycorn must die.  
Good will come out of his death; richness will come out of it, for his spirit is brandy.  
It’s a song similar in theme to a popular hymn’ Now the Green Blade Rises.  
The seed is personalised. It’s a metaphorical story – a parable.  
John Barleycorn must suffer and die for the benefit of all who appreciate brandy. Jesus, the Son of Man, must be handed over, be flogged and crucified; Jesus must die for the benefit of all – for the benefit of all who appreciate life. 
Look at the short gospel passage, Matthew 20: 17 – 19. This passage appears in each of three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, and occurs three times in each of those gospels. Jesus says three times that he must go up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man (he means himself) will be handed over to the chief priests and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the gentiles (he means the Romans) to be mocked and flogged and crucified. In other words, Jesus must die. 
But that’s not all.  
On the third day the Son of Man will be raised. Jesus says that three times too.  Paul in his 1st letter to the Corinthians says it as well. As an introduction to the reading 1 Corinthians 15: 35 – 49, Paul assures his readers that Christ has been raised from the dead, that God raised Christ from the dead. Paul talks about resurrection. He reasons (and Paul has a particular style of reasoning) that since Christ was a human being when he died, then resurrection is available to all human beings. 
Paul writes that Christ is “the first fruits of those who have died” (a harvest metaphor). Paul reasons that because Jesus was the first one raised, all of the dead can be raised. When you’re reasoning in matters of faith, someone will always ask questions, if not out loud then in their head.  
Someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body?”  Someone will ask that, because when people think about an afterlife they tend to picture it just like this life. They’ll be walking around, but in a more idealised setting; maybe with pearly gates and golden streets, or another image, but a physical setting. Paul thinks about it in a more philosophical way, showing his Greek education where earthly and spiritual matters are separate. The body is earthly and the body must die. When the body dies it decays and returns to its earthly elements, dust to dust. Paul leads into another agricultural metaphor. The seed is sown in the ground, it is buried. The seed must die for what comes to life is not a giant seed, but a new plant which does not look like the seed. It transforms. In the same way, reasons Paul, we transform. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. What perishes is a physical body, what is raised is spiritual. 
Someone will ask, ‘What’s a spirit?’ 
Is it what’s inside you, that which inspires you, animates you, makes you who you are apart from your physical human body? Is it that which is so obviously gone, departed from the body when a person dies, leaving just the shell that is no longer the person you knew?  Where does the spirit go? Does it carry on? Does it stop? Is it always, forever, part of the sacredness and wonder of being; forever held in God’s love? Will new life, new purpose and richness come out of it? 
Like John Barleycorn, we must die. 
There is richness in John Barleycorn’s death – there is spirit, although the spirit is physical; it is brandy! 
We are Easter people. 
We will sing our Easter faith. 
We rest our souls in the love of Jesus, a love that will not let us go! [see WOV 525] We too will give back the life we owe, trusting that in God’s love our existence will yet be richer, fuller, tearless and endless. 

Readings     Isaiah 52: 13 -15 ; 53: 1 -1,Matthew 20: 17 – 19, 1 Corinthians 15: 35 – 49 

Hymns: Now the Green Blade Rises   [Sing a New Song #18] 
 
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain; Wheat down in the dark earth many days has lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been: 
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green. 
  
In the grave they laid him. Love whom men had slain. 
Thinking he would never, ever wake again. 
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: 
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green. 
  
Up he sprang at Easter, like the risen grain. 
He who that for three days in the grave had lain. 
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen: 
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green 
  
When our hearts are saddened, grieving, or in pain, Your touch can then call us back to life again, 
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: 
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green. 
                                                                        J.M.C. Crum 
 

O Love that wilt not let me go  [WOV 525] 

             

O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee: I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.

 

O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee: my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.

 

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee: I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.

 

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee: I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be. 

                         George Matheson

                                                        From our Every Tomb                                                                           
A Liturgy for Easter Sunday and the Third Sunday of New Zealand’s  Lockdown 
Rev David Poultney 

Before we begin                                                                                               
God will repair what has been shattered, but not by mending it with something else. Rather, out of the old, and very same material as its origin, God will impart to it an appearance of beauty pleasing to God’s own self                                                                                
Hilary of Poitiers 

God of life and light, I thank you for another new beginning. 
For the light shining through my window 
For the trees and their colours 
For the trees and their colours 
The birds and their songs 
Though I am, for some days, alone 
The beauty I see speaks your presence 
                 And gives me confidence to live this new day.                                                                      
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington 

            SETTING THE SCENE       Iona  Community   

It Was on the Sunday   

It was on the Sunday that he pulled the corn.  

     They arrived with flowers shuffling through the dawn  as the dawn snuffed out the last candles of the night.  Their faces betrayed their belief that yesterday would always be better  than tomorrow, despite what he said .                                                                                                                                  
He would not say it again, so why bother believing him on that score? And the flowers , they too were silent witnesses to disbelief. Like the grass,  were cut to be dried to death, cut off from the bulb, the root,the source of life. He was the flower they cherished, the flower now perished whose fate the lilies of the field would re-enact.So when they passed the crouched figure the edge of the road, they thought little of him, scarcely seeing his form through their tears .                                              
Had they  looked even a little,they would have seen a man letting grain fall through his fingers dropping to the earth  to die and yet to rise again.                                                                                                                              
It was on the Sunday that he pulled the corn. 
 

          IF YOU HAVE A CANDLE I INVITE YOU TO LIGHT IT AS YOUR EASTER CANDLE                                                       
       Adapted from the Exultet, an ancient proclamation chanted when the Easter light is kindled                                            May Christ the Morning Star which never sets,                                                                                        find the flame of love still burning within us:                                                                                           Christ who came back from the dead,                                                                                                     who sheds his peaceful light on the world,                 

                                  lives and reigns for ever.    Amen 
 

                                  Christ yesterday, today and for ever,                                                                                                        Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.                                                                                        All time belongs to Christ and all the ages.                                                                                              To Christ be all love and glory now and forever.                                                                                      By your holy and glorious wounds,                                                                                                         O Christ our Saviour heal us and guard us.                                                                                             May the light of Christ rising in glory                                                                                                       banish all dread, despair and death from our bodies,

                                              hearts and minds    Amen   

MEDITATIVE READING   Golden Incandescence  

Bill Wallace                                                                                                                                           
Having glimpsed the golden incandescence at the heart of the mystery  I need not ask ‘Who am I?  but rather rejoice that                                                                               I AM, need no longer to understand but simply for the interaction  of fire and water,                                           earth and sky brings answers                                                 that are not mine yet reside within.                                     All this I seek to reverence,                                                   celebrate,live -  for the interior  finally uncovered               inhabits the whole created world,                                         the love I share                                                                   flows throughout the Cosmos,my inner song echoes         the mystic hymn of universe                                               until my griefs merge with    
                                                                                                  Creation’s calvaries and God’s unending liveliness embraces my resurrections. 

CREATION REJOICES – BENEDICITE AOTEAROA  

               New Zealand Prayer Book                                                      

 O give thanks to our God who is good:                             whose love endures for ever.                                                   You sun and moon, you stars of the southern sky:               give to our God your thanks and praise.                         Sunrise and sunset, night and day:give to our God your thanks and praise.mountains and valleys, grassland and scree,glacier, avalanche, mist and snow:                      

give to our God your thanks and praise.                                                                                                  

You kauri and pine, rata and kowhai, mosses and ferns:     give to our God your thanks and praise.                               Dolphins and kahawai, sealion and crab,        

coral, anemone, pipi and shrimp:                                           give to our God your thanks and praise.                               Rabbits and cattle, moths and dogs,                                       kiwi and sparrow and tui and hawk:                                       give to our God your thanks and praise.                               You Maori and Pakeha, women and men,                

all who inhabit the long white cloud:                      

give to our God your thanks and praise. 


THE LORD’S PRAYER                                                                  Our Father in heaven,                                                            hallowed be your name,                                                        your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.                     Give us today our daily bread,                                         forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,now and forever   Amen 


AN EASTER PRAYER    Adapted  from a prayer by Walter Brueggemann.                                                                                                

Easter us, salve wounds, break injustice, bring peace,         guarantee neighbourEaster us, in joy and strength.           Be our God, be your true self, Lord of life,                           turn our life towards your life,and away from the tomb of our isolation.                                                                                                                
Hear our rejoicing this day, Hallelujah, Amen 
JUST ADD WATER 
Water, like fire, is a traditional element of Easter Day worship. Easter is a day traditionally associated with baptism and renewing baptismal vows. If you wish here is a chance to draw upon that symbol. You will need a bowl, a jug of water and a towel. 
 

Adapted from a prayer by  Jim Cotter 

 

Living Creator God,                                                             bless this water and bless us who seek renewal in remembering our baptism.                                                                              
I / We ask a blessing in the name of the Giver of Life.                                                                                               
We ask a blessing in the name of the Bearer of Pain.                                                                                            
We ask a blessing in the name of the Maker of Love.                                                                                              

... Here is the water that springs up in barren ground                                                                                                

 To our unexpected joy.                                                                                                                                           
Here is the water that flows for the healing of the nations.                                                                            

Let us take to ourselves again our baptism in water, in the name of the Creator, the Life Giver,Father Mother of us all in the name of the Redeemer, the Pain-Bearer, the Son;in the name of the Sanctifier, the Love Maker, the Holy Spirit 
 
In memory of your baptism you are invited to wash your hands in the water or make the sign of the cross with it 

FROM THE SCRIPTURES    Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18 


PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND CARE FOR OTHERS 
THE LOVE FEAST OR AGAPE  

 
Some Notes on the Love Feast from the United Methodist Church 
 
The Love Feast, or Agape Meal, is a Christian fellowship meal recalling the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his ministry and expressing the koinonia (community, sharing, fellowship) enjoyed by the family of Christ. 
 
Although its origins in the early church are closely interconnected with the origins of the Lord's Supper, the two services became quite distinct and should not be confused with each other. While the Lord's Supper has been practically universal among Christians throughout church history, the Love Feast has appeared only at certain times and among certain denominations. 
 
The modern history of the Love Feast began when Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians in 
Germany introduced a service of sharing food, prayer, religious conversation, and hymns in 1727. John Wesley first experienced it among the Moravians in Savannah, Georgia, ten years later. His diary notes: "After evening prayers, we joined with the Germans in one of their love–feasts. It was begun and ended with thanksgiving and prayer, and celebrated in so decent and solemn a manner as a Christian of the apostolic age would have allowed to be worthy of Christ." 
 
It quickly became a feature of the Evangelical Revival and a regular part of Methodist society meetings in Great Britain and throughout the English–speaking world.  
 
The Love Feast has often been held on occasions when the celebration of the Lord's Supper would be inappropriate—where there is no one present authorized to administer the Sacrament, when persons of different denominations are present who do not feel free to take Holy Communion together, when there is a desire for a service more informal and spontaneous than the communion ritual, or at a full meal or some other setting to which it would be difficult to adapt the Lord's Supper. 
 
One of the advantages of the Love Feast is that any Christian may conduct it and everyone present can be involved.  

 
Testimonies and praise are the focal point in most Love Feasts. Testimonies may include personal witness to God's grace or accounts of what God has been doing in the lives of others. Praise may take the form of hymns, songs, choruses, or spoken exclamations and may vary from the relative formality of an opening and closing hymn to spontaneous calling out of requests and singing as the Spirit moves. Sometimes the leader guides those present alternating spontaneous singing and sharing in free and familiar conversation for as long as the Spirit moves. Wesley counseled that all the above be done decently and in order. Prayer is vital to a Love Feast. A fixed form of prayer may be used, especially something like the Lord's Prayer or Be present at our table, Lord, that is familiar to the people. Spontaneous prayer requests and prayers may come from the people. 
 
Scripture is also important. There may be scripture readings, or persons may quote Scripture spontaneously as the Spirit moves. There may be a sermon, an exhortation, or an address; but it should be informal and consist of the leader's adding personal witness to what spontaneously comes from the congregation. 
 
It is customary not to use communion bread, wine, or grape juice because to do so might confuse the Love Feast with the Lord's Supper. The bread may be a loaf of ordinary bread, crackers, rolls, or a sweet bread baked especially for this service. If a loaf of bread, it may be broken in two or more pieces and then passed from hand to hand as each person breaks off a piece. Crackers, rolls, or slices of bread may be passed in a basket. The beverage has usually been water, but other beverages such as lemonade, tea, or coffee have been used. Early Methodists commonly passed a loving cup with two handles from person to person, but later the water was served in individual glasses. The food is served quietly without interrupting the service. 

Charles Wesley  wrote this prayer for the Love Feast     
 
Father of earth and heaven, 
Thy hungry children feed, 
Thy grace be to our spirits given, That true immortal bread. 
Grant us and all our race 
In Jesus Christ to prove 
The sweetness of thy pardoning grace, The manna of thy love. 
 
Here is a prayer to bless the food and drink as we celebrate Easter in our bubbles, 
 
Blessed are you Risen One,
 who this day shows us life beyond all dying   and breaks open our every grave.                                                                   Blessed are you Risen One,                                                                          comes behind the closed doors of our fear and wishes us peace.             Blessed are you Risen One, whose wounds are testimony to your victory. 
 
Prayer and praise in thanksgiving for the Resurrection may be offered here 
 
This or your own form of Grace is said 
I / we give thanks for this food and drink,and for the love which nurtures and sustains.                                                      

I / we give thanks for those I share a table with,in this home, in church, in our every place, in eating and drinking                                         I / we know that even now we are connected, woven together , with all people,may we come out of this time with renewed love and appreciation  Amen 
 
After you have eaten and drunk 
 

PRAYER   Joyce Rupp                                                                                         Risen One, come to meet me in the garden of my life. 
Lure me into elation. 
Revive my silent hope. 
Coax my dormant dreams. 
Raise up my neglected gratitude. 
Entice my tired enthusiasm. 
Give life to my faltering relationships. 
Roll back the stone of my indifference. Unwrap the deadness of my spiritual life Impart heartiness in my work. 
Risen One, send me forth as a disciple of your unwavering love, a messenger of your unlimited joy. Resurrected One, 
may I become ever more convinced that your presence lives on, and on, and on, and on. 
Awaken me! Awaken me! 
,  
BLESSING WORDS    Jill Harris.                                                                                                                                                                                             
Whatever the origins of love we know it is our only hope.          

 It lies at the heart of Easter which shows us how to live.                           So let us each day make love our song.  

Let it work its transforming power in us.                                    

We cannot do this alone –                                                                             and that is love’s first lesson Amen 
 

To view The Resurrection Drama visit the Hamilton East Methodist Parish Facebook Page.

HAMILTON
EAST METHODIST
PARISH

07-856 3940
hameastmeth@xtra.co.nz 

 20 Wellington St, Hamilton East, Hamilton 3216

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