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Easter Sunday 2021

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Full-length audio of service Podcast
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Easter Sunday 2021 PODCAST
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DECLARATION: CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY- HALLELUJAH! Christ the Lord is risen (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


HALLELUJAH CHORUS (G.F. Handel)
Hallelujah Chorus (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


HYMN: CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY
Christ the Lord is risen (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


1.
Christ the Lord is risen today,
Hallelujah!
Sons of men and angels say:
Hallelujah!
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Hallelujah!
Sing, ye heavens; thou earth, reply:
Hallelujah!

2.
Love's redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won;
Lo! the sun's eclipse is o'er,
Lo! he sets in blood no more.

3.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Once he died our souls to save;
Where's thy victory, boasting grave?

4.
Soar we now where Christ has led,
Following our exalted head;
Made like him, like him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
Charles Wesley (1707-88)

PRAYER
PRAYER (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

Our gracious God, again this year we have found the time of Easter one which has reminded us of your endless love for us. Our emotions have been stirred as we have read the gospel accounts of the ill treatment and injustice meted out to Jesus. Even on a human level we are ashamed of man’s inhumanity to man let alone to ignore the claims of Jesus to be your Son. We offer no defence for such action except being tainted with the very sin Jesus came to bear. On his journey to the cross, we are so grateful that Jesus was willing to continue despite experiencing the hatred by some and disregard by others of the very people whose sin he came to bear.
We are utterly relieved to come to Easter Sunday and rejoice, as the angel told the women at the tomb to do on discovering the empty tomb.
We would pray to ever have the courage to declare to the world, the miracle of the depth of love you showed us, dear God. Teach us that love cannot have reprisals, only invitations to be redeemed.
And may our joy in all you provide be a reflection of our gratitude for allowing your beloved Son to be our Saviour.
This we ask in the precious and worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.


HYMN: I SERVE A RISEN SAVIOUR
Introduction: Intro I Serve a Risen Saviour (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Alfred Henry Ackley wrote both words and music to this hymn. Although he was born in Pennsylvania, he studied music at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1914. And during his lifetime he wrote around 1500 hymns. He died in 1960 in Los Angeles.

I serve a risen Saviour (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
I serve a risen Saviour
  He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
  Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
  I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
  He’s always near.

CHORUS:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

2
In all the world around me
  I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
  I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
  Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
  Will come at last.

3
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
  Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
  To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
  The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
  So good and kind.




BIBLE READING
MATTHEW 28: 1-10 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

HYMN: THINE BE THE GLORY
Introduction: Intro Thine be the glory (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Thine Be the Glory, Risen Conquering Son was written by the Swiss Protestant minister, Edmond Budry (1854–1932), and set to the tune of the chorus "See, the Conqu'ring hero comes" from the third section of Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus.
The tune of "Thine Be the Glory" was written by Handel in 1747, intended for use in Handel's Joshua oratorio; however, when it was played, it was popular enough that Handel added it to Judas Maccabaeus. In 1796, Ludwig Van Beethoven composed twelve variations on it for both piano and cello.


Thine be the glory (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
1
Thine is the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son;
endless is the vict'ry 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, conqu'ring Son;
endless is the vict'ry Thou o’er death hast won.

2
Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb.
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
for the Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting. [Refrain]

3
No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life!!
Life is nought without Thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conqu'rors, through Thy deathless love;
bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above. [Refrain]

BIBLE READING
Luke: 28: 1-12 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.


HYMN: TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
Introduction:
Intro Turn your eyes upon Jesus (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
This song was written by Helen Lemmel. Eventually, she became a vocal music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. After retirement, she moved to Seattle, Washington, where she was a member of the Ballard Baptist Church.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Saviour
And life more abundant and free


Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

2
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

3
His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace



GOD’S TITHES AND OUR OFFERINGS
God's tithes and our offerings (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

Those who have received Jesus as their Saviour will want to share the love of God to those who have yet to experience what it means. We do that by ensuring there is sufficient finance for the ministries which are working hard to continually share the gospel. Can we spare a few moments in prayer as we consider to where our finance should be allocated.

“ Almighty God, thank you for entrusting us to finance your work here on earth. Guide our thoughts we pray to where our finance is most needed. This we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.”


HYMN: SEE WHAT A MORNING.
Introduction: Intro See what a morning (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
This is a modern song written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and has become a favourite in many denominations.

See what a morning (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


See what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes
Tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce Christ is risen!
See God’s salvation plan, wrought in love,
Borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man, for He lives,
Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping: ‘Where is He laid?
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name:
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope,
Bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit
Who clothes faith with certainty,
Honour and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned
With power and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won
Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!


CHORAL: ANASTASIS
Introduction: Intro Anastasis (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
We come now to the choral piece, ‘Anastasis’. My good friend, the much talented, Richard Phillips set to music some words I had written. Printed are the words of the poem around which Richard has woven his music. I hope you will enjoy it. Anastasis-Resurrection


Anastasis (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


ANASTASIS (RESURRECTION)
By
Malcolm Westwood

I was passing a place called Calvary
When I saw such an angry crowd,
They were yelling and making fun of him
As he stood all bloodied and bowed;
There wasn’t an ounce of pity it seemed,
They laughed and jeered so much,
They poked and prodded and called him a fraud,
As he struggled through the crush.

There were soldiers there who chose not to care,
Or to notice the crowd’s sad delight,
At the comical sight of a crown of thorns
On a man they called ‘The Christ’;
There were people there in clerical robes,
Such clothing seemed out of place
When the man on the cross was said to be good,
Their presence seemed a disgrace.

I couldn’t believe the cruelty of man
As they cheered as the nails went in;
When I asked what he’d done to deserve all this,
They just turned their backs on him;
I’d seen enough and I wanted to leave,
But somehow I knew I must stay.
There was something compelling about this man
Who was crucified that day.

As I looked at the cross where they killed him
I felt I had put him there,
Each taunt that was hurled my name seemed to bear
I wept with guilt and despair;
Then darkness came down and covered the land
And my heart was so strangely stirred,
For he prayed as he died, ‘O Father forgive’
Such beautifully gracious words;
I wanted to leave but I could not go,
I’d seen the divine here on earth,
I knew the cross stood for all God had said,
“This much I think you are worth!”

The crowds had gone, as were the hopes of man,
The tomb was sealed; so, too, his destiny,
A straggler stares, bewildered and alone,
The blood
stained cross, its fame as yet unknown
Claims our defeat,
O vain conceit
To think its work complete!

Palm leaves lie there, reminders of the past,
Not long ago when people sang in joy;
Land, deathly still, unnat’ral, full of fear,
A place ruled by the terror of the spear;
And Satan gloats
And proudly boasts
He’s robbed us of our hopes.

No future calls, the ways ahead are dark,
Those who have killed, their trade can ply again,
Their hatred hangs and fills the stagnant air,
Its putrid smell is here and everywhere;
This evil deed,
Man’s heinous creed,
But must it yet succeed?

He is risen, he is risen indeed!

‘Where have you taken him? cried Mary that day
The stone of the tomb she had found rolled away,
‘Why search for him here-he is risen indeed’
A tomb could not hold him, nor ever succeed;.

Hallelujah!


But still there are many who go to the cross
And see him entombed sensing all they have lost;
They stay in the graveyard  of doubt and despair,
Forgetting that Jesus no longer is there.

Hallelujah!


The tomb remains empty, he needs it no more
God raised him to life and his glory restored;
The sacrifice made we must never forget
Enshrined in our hearts, an unpayable debt

[Love’s redeeming work is done; Hallelujah!
Fought the fight the battle won; Hallelujah!
Made like him, like him we rise; Hallelujah!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Hallelujah!
Charles Wesley]

But the gloom of the tomb was banished today
It’s Easter for ever, God’s love on display!‚Äč

Hallelujah!


SERMON
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Dr. Malcolm Westwood

Sermon (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


Easter Sunday is the day we rejoice as we commemorate the raising of Jesus from the dead. That fact alone is sufficient to occupy our minds and hearts the whole day through as we express our joy at the miracle through music and fellowship together. It literally means eternity to us so I hope these few comments will simply add to our celebration of the miracle of the Resurrection.

We are told in Matthew 28 that at the very first moment that it was possible, at the break of dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary-thought to be probably Mary the mother of James set out to go to the tomb.It says they went to look
AT the tomb. If we think that strange we only have to remember how common it is in our day for people to visit the graves of lost loved ones. We do that because somehow it brings back memories to us. As we look at the grave we remember the last moments before the coffin was lowered from our sight. And we pay our tribute by placing flowers on the grave. It’s a sign of our love for our loved one.

Mary and Mary Magdalene went with spices to pay their last service to Jesus-to anoint the grave clothes of Jesus.But there is a problem for them. On the way to the tomb, they realise, as we read in Mark 16:3…”Who will roll the Stone away from the entrance to the tomb?”
To seal the tomb a large circular stone would have been rolled to secure the opening. Such a stone could weigh anything up to 2 tons. It would have been rolled down a decline. To move the stone, it would have to be pushed up the incline, certainly an impossible feat to achieve from the inside of the tomb and also it would be an impossible thing to do for any two people let alone two women.

So. as Mark says. they went to look
at the tomb. We might say, they went to size up the tomb so they could work out how to gain access to minister to Jesus with their spices. Undaunted and accepting that the last people from whom they could expect help to remove the stone would be the guards who had already feared there might be some trickery, given that Jesus had said he would rise on the third day. Pilate gave orders,
“Go make the tomb as secure as you know how-So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the tomb and posting a guard.But when the women arrived and looked at the tomb, they saw the stone had been rolled away.

In fact to make the point that something quite miraculous had happened, Matthew tells us that the women saw an angel sitting on top of the rolled away stone. Furthermore, the guards were so afraid of him that “they shook and became like dead men.

”It’s interesting to remember that later on we read that Jesus appeared to his disciples on the evening of the first day of the week.(John 20:19) the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. In verse 26-“A week later, his disciples were in the house again… though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.

Jesus didn’t need an angel to roll away the stone from the tomb so he could come out-the angel rolled the stone away so the women could get in!

The women discovered that when they went to minister to Jesus they were thinking it could be impossible but they found that serving him however impossible it may seem, he makes the impossible possible! If it takes a miracle, let us never forget that an angel removed the obstacle that the women could not themselves remove.

All God required of them was for them to show their love for Jesus by serving him.Despite the extra seal on the tomb, the angel had completely removed the stone so they could enter the tomb. Whatever God asks us to do you can be sure that if it takes a miracle to do it, he’ll provide that miracle to make it possible, to open the door of opportunity if we will walk in faith.

That still applies for us even when we look at the task with which we are entrusted and it seems completely impossible.Mary bent over to look into the tomb (John 20-11) and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus’s body had been.”Woman,” they asked, “why are you crying?” Distraught Mary replied, “They have taken my lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.”Notice her description of Jesus-“
My Lord.” She was that committed to Jesus-To personally serving him. She was ready to minister for him. The angel told the women(Matthew 28), “Come and see the place he lay.”
In other words, “Satisfy yourself Jesus it’s not in the tomb-He is risen. Now go and tell others.”

When Mary turned round and saw Jesus standing there, she didn’t realise it was him. She couldn’t see him through her tears and anyway she would have been looking for a dead body. It’s hardly surprising she didn’t recognise the glorified risen Christ. But, as he called her by name, “Mary” she recognised him. Jesus knew that’s all she needed to hear for her to recognise him and she exclaimed “Rabboni” (or teacher.) She was ready in an instant to minister not
to him but for him.

May I suggest something perhaps a little unusual but then this is Easter -our time of miracles!Would you come and look at the tomb, see the stone is rolled away, see inside and see it is empty. Then for a few moments, Close your eyes and wait and listen… listen to the risen Jesus saying your name…..John, Brian, Graham, Betty, Margaret …..whatever your name may be …….listen to your name and hear Jesus say to you, “Go tell others I am risen from the dead and in my name seek the lost as I have done, do as I have done. Whatever limitations you may feel you have, whatever impossibilities you feel you face, you can rely on me to make the impossible possible.Would you listen now, please, and hear the voice of Jesus calling your name.


OUR BENEDICTION  IS THE HYMN ‘BECAUSE HE LIVES.’
 Benediction (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
We end our service today with this hymn of encouragement that whatever the future holds we can ‘face tomorrow-because Jesus lives.

BECAUSE HE LIVES
Because he lives (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus He came to love, heal and forgive He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds the future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.
How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and the joy he gives But greater still the calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He Lives.
And then one day, I’ll cross that river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds the future And life is worth the living Just because He lives
Because he lives!

If you would like to comment on the service,  please e mail  Dr Malcolm Westwood  on  mw@veilministries.org