Christ is Risen

Happy Easter – reflections and prayers are below for every day of this Easter week. We take a look at the Gospel for the Easter Vigil and draw out from it some thoughts and suggestions for reflection and prayer for each day. (If you are joining in after Sunday you may find it helpful to read the reflection for Sunday first).

In the midst of the darkness of this pandemic the presence of the living Christ is with us. As a symbol of this you might like to make your own paschal (Easter) candle and light it each day this week. If you have children (or even if you don’t!) you could decorate it in some way. Maybe have a few spring flowers too.

 

Sunday

Reflection: If we had been together at the Easter Vigil we would have heard the account, from the Gospel of Matthew, of the women going to the tomb early in the morning and finding it empty. (You can read the account for yourself in Matthew 28 verses 1-10).

This is a story about how expectations can be turned upside down; how fear is met with assurance and how the Risen Lord walks towards us however we are feeling this Easter.

In the Gospel, Mary of Magdala and her companion, also called Mary, went to the tomb consumed by grief and sadness. Mark’s Gospel tells us they had gone to anoint the body of their beloved Jesus. The last thing these women were expecting was to be met by an angel. Angels are messengers from God, so whenever we find angels appearing in the Scriptures, we can be sure that something major and important is happening. The message the angel gives is the same as the message to Our Lady at the Annunciation — “Do not be afraid” — and the reason the Marys are not to fear is that Jesus is alive. He is risen. The women are to go and tell this to the disciples who are hiding out in the city, but as they run back, Jesus himself comes towards them, greeting them. Like the angel he too says, “Do not be afraid.” They, understandably, fall at his feet but Jesus sends them on their way with a job to do; to tell the others of this totally unbelievable wonder.

To consider: Just a few weeks ago we could not have expected Easter would be like this. What is the meaning of the message “He is Risen” for you in the midst of this pandemic?

Speak to the Lord openly about your joys, fears, hopes etc. Pray that the joy of the risen Christ will be with you.

Pray for Christians everywhere as we celebrate the Easter good news.

Pray for our own Holy Redeemer community, apart physically but together in Christ.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say this prayer every day this week.

Christ be our light, shine in our hearts,
shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light
Shine through our lives
for the world to see.

 

Monday

From the Gospel “Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre”.

To consider: When the two Marys go to the tomb they are going to source of their pain; they want to be close to the body of the dead Jesus. Sometimes, before the light shines, we need to acknowledge what it is that is hurting us, what is the cause of our darkness. It might be grief but it might also be a worry or fear that we live with. You might like to give a little thought to what “sepulchre” haunts you at this time and acknowledge it, and how it affects you, before the Risen Lord. (take your time over this.)

Pray: for those who cannot be at the funerals of those they love at this time.

Pray too for all undertakers.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

Tuesday

From the Gospel: The angel said to the women “there is no need for you to be afraid”.

To consider: the words of the Angel are words of reassurance. We often find these words spoken by Jesus elsewhere in the Gospels. At a time when it is easy to worry about so much during this pandemic, these words are for us too; “there is no need for you to be afraid.”

Pray: Listen to these words spoken to you. You might like to say them slowly several times or puts the emphasis on different words (eg there IS no need to be afraid, or there is no NEED

to be afraid. Let them sink into you. (take your time over this.)

Pray to know deep down the truth of the words “do not be afraid “

Pray for those who are deeply afraid at this time and have no one with whom to share their fears.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

Wednesday

From the Gospel: (The Angel said) “I know who you are looking for, Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, he has risen.”

To consider: Who are we looking for? What is it we are seeking? Mary (both of them) are searching for Jesus. Are we? If we are truly longing to know and love him then the message of the angel should fill us with joy — he is risen. He is not in the dark shut off from us, he is alive and with us. All our deepest longings are met in this living, risen Christ. So, what are your deepest longings? Speak to the risen Lord about them now (take your time over this).

Pray for all key-workers in whatever field, that the risen Lord will strengthen them as they seek to serve us.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

Thursday

From the Gospel: (The women) ran to tell the disciples. And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. “Greetings” he said.

To consider: Jesus comes to meet the women as they hurry back to the city. Often we think, quite rightly, about following Jesus but this story has Jesus coming towards the women. He comes towards us too, always saying to us, “Greetings.” Try to imagine this scene, imagine Jesus coming towards you and saying to you “Greetings”. What do you say in response?

(take your time over this).

Pray for those who send you greetings, who telephone you or write to you, email you or Facetime you etc during this time of social distancing. Thank God for their love and friendship.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

Friday

From the Gospel: The women came up to Jesus and, falling down before him, clasped his feet.

To consider: It is hardly surprising that both Marys fall at the feet of Jesus. Wouldn’t you? When faced with the wonder of the risen Christ what other response could there be? Giving praise should be our natural response in the presence of the God who made us, and who, in Christ, loves us, forgives us and walks with us. Spend a moment at the feet of the risen Lord.

(take your time over this).

Pray: Find something today for which to give heartfelt thanks and praise.

Pray: For those volunteers who are bringing hope and joy to others in whatever way.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

Saturday

From the Gospel: then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid, go and tell…”

To consider: Jesus again reassures the women using very similar words to the angel. But his reassurance is accompanied by a command. Now they know that he is truly alive they are to go and tell. This wonderful knowledge is not meant to be a personal possession which they can keep to themselves. It is to be shared. Each of our individual relationships with the risen Christ is unique and special. However, it is not given to us just to help us feel better. The light of the risen Christ in which we live is to be shared around so that others may stand in that light too. How do you think you can best share the light? Perhaps think of one thing you can do, or renew, however small. (take your time over this)

Pray for that God will keep you close to him and give you strength to follow whatever path he calls you to walk.

Pray for our local business still serving the community at this time. For all delivery and transport personnel.

Prayer of the Week: You might like to say the prayer for the week (see Sunday)

 

 

 

Easter Week