An Update on Daily Devotions and Worship Resources

Happy Easter!

Dear Friends,

I hope your Easter Celebrations were good and that, in these joyful 50 days of Easter you continue to reflect on the power of God seen in weakness, of healing coming from defeat and glory found in the shock of the empty tomb.  

We’ve reached the end of St Mark’s Gospel and, this morning, started a new series looking at how Jesus is depicted in art.  Christians have, since our earliest days, depicted Jesus, and often his mother, in art.  The earliest depictions of Jesus date from around 300  – at the same time some Christians grumbled that no images of Him should be used at all – a cry taken up again at the Reformation.  As we have no idea what Jesus looked like each age and culture has depicted him in ways which make him real for them.  Over the next two weeks we will see Jesus depicted as a victim of street violence in America, with His mother as African, as a Chinese fisherman, as an atom at the heart of God, as another Jewish victim of anti-semitic violence, as the child born to die, fleeing for his life to Egypt as a displaced Palestinian, in Cubist form on the Cross, as a Filipino liberator and as a Native American.  Each culture, each artist, seeks to find a way for Jesus to become real for them.  I hope as we reflect we allow Him to become real for us.  We’ve been able to buy licences for some of these pictures but, as in today’s, where we haven’t we provide a link to click on so you can see the art before reading the reflection.

Many of you asked about the Stations of the Cross and prayers that we sent out in the two weeks leading up to Holy Saturday and have asked if these are available.  We were pleased to distribute this Church of Scotland resource and you can find all the work in a booklet here.  

I have developed the Worship Notes for this coming Sunday.   I compare and contrast the frightened disciples gathered together for fear of the authorities who encountered the Risen Lord who brought them peace, and the vibrant outward focused community of the earliest Church which cast away fear and trauma in order to proclaim God’s marvellous deeds.  I suggest we can choose to move from the first type of community to the second. I include an All Age activity based on friendship bracelets, links to the URC’s Prayer Prompts for Children, and include a range of hymns and suggests some which may not be known to us but are worth learning.  This week’s intercessions have been prepared by the Revd Siân Collins.  Both of these resources can be found here.

Finally, you may have seen prayers we commissioned for Good Friday and Easter Sunday via the URC’s Social Media Channels.  Here’s a final prayer for these joyful days of Easter.
 

Prayer of the empty tomb
 
What resources have I
other than the emptiness without him of my whole
being, a vacuum he may not abhor.

R.S. Thomas (from ‘The Absence’)
 
The tomb is empty.
Its rock-hewn walls cup nothing,
only darkness, and silence.
It’s easy to imagine how those first followers
looked into that space and felt hopeless,
bereft, as if they, too, were hollowed out.
 
Stir us, God, to remember
that from the very beginning
a formless void has been
your favourite raw material to work with.
 
When we feel depleted…
When absence yawns…
When grief overwhelms…
Help us.
 
May we look again and see, not a tomb
but a womb.
A place pregnant with creative potential.
A cradle for new life.
 
May our own emptiness
be, to you, an invitation,
room for your Spirit to play.
An opening for your love.
 
In the dew-drenched garden,
with springtime bursting forth all around us,
may we hear your familiar voice
speaking our name.   

 

With every good wish

Andy

The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.