Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood
Matthias Grunewald, Isenheim altarpiece: The Resurrection, c.1512-16
Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, Alsace
Including a dramatic version of the Passion.
Farsi translation / خطبه
Read the translation here / قرائت کتاب مقدس >
Alleluia. Christ is risen!
We hope that you have a blessed Easter filled with the joy of the risen Christ!
From all the team in Benwell and Scotswood.
Easter Day Service 10am for 10.30am
Don't forget to turn up for 10am when we will show a video of the dawn vigil service and lighting of the Easter fire. The service proper will begin at 10.30 am.
Baptisms this week
14 members of our congregation are to be baptised this week! Please remember to pray for them as they make this incredible step.
We will introduce them in the Easter Sunday service, then baptisms will happen on Monday and Tuesday, then we'll welcome them at the service next week.
Worship returns to St James' next week
St James' location and info here >
From Sunday 11th April our Team worship will return to St James'. As things get a bit warmer St James' will become more comfortable, and as vaccinations are rolled out we expect more people to come to church in person, so we think this will be a good time to return to our largest building.
As lockdown eases in the near future we hope to open up all of our buildings for worship, but we intend to take things cautiously and do so once it is safe and sustainable.
This is our final Church at Home Podcast
As more people return to worship in-person or access the live stream we are drawing our audio service to a close.
This weekly newsletter will continue to be emailed out, and we will continue to live-stream, print out paper copies of Church at Home for those without internet, and translate and record the sermon in Farsi. And of course we promise to keep thinking of new and creative ways to reach people!
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed!
Free and cheap meals in the local area
Every Wednesday you can order cheap hot meals from Cornerstone. Get your orders in by Wednesday 10am for free delivery within 2 miles of Cornerstone. Call 0191 2260941 or drop them a message on Facebook. Find out more here >
From 19th April FoodCycle Benwell will dish up free, nutritious meals for the local community every Monday from 7pm - 8pm. Find out more here >
La Charolaise by François Couperin.
Alleluia. Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Gloria in Excelsis
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Let us pray that we may reign with the risen Christ in glory.
God of glory,
by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.
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. Praise to you, O Christ.
by The Revd Dominic Coad
Happy Easter! It’s been quite a year hasn’t it? It’s wonderful for at least some of us to be able to celebrate Easter Day together this year, with none of us having been able to attend church last year. And our especial greetings and Easter wishes go to all of you who still aren’t able to join us – we haven’t forgotten you and we look forward to seeing you when the time is right!
Wherever you are hearing this, I hope you will be able to feel some of the joy of Easter but equally I realise that there will very much still be a feeling of limbo for many of us. Over the past year we have all suffered. Some of us may have lost loved ones to Covid, others have lost loved ones for other reasons and have been unable to mark their passing in the ways they would have wished. Some of us have caught the virus and become very ill. Some of us will have lost work or income. All of us have felt isolated, stressed and exhausted. All of us have missed our family and friends. All of us deeply miss aspects of our life whilst, at the same time, wondering how we will cope as things become more normal again.
Those of you who heard my addresses on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will remember that we were thinking about the power of the cross; about how revolutionary it is to place this symbol of suffering and shame at the heart of our faith, about how all of our sufferings are held within Christ’s suffering, by which he shows his very great love for us. And this morning we finally get to talk about the resurrection!
Yet the joy of this Easter is inevitably tempered by the distance we still have to travel before the end of this pandemic. Perhaps the telling of the resurrection in Mark will particularly resonate with you this year. Mark’s gospel originally ended at verse 8 of chapter 16. Having gone to the garden to anoint Jesus’ body, Mary Magdalene and her companions found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Mark writes: ‘So they went out and fled away from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.’
This strange and ambiguous end to Mark finishes not with the appearing of Christ but the shock of the empty tomb. It tells us that, even though Jesus has triumphed, the world can still be a confusing and frightening place. Believing isn’t always easy and keeping faith can be hard, so I want to tell you this morning that if you are finding it difficult to feel Easter joy this year, or if your happiness is tempered by feelings of anxiety or loss, that’s okay. I understand that and, more importantly, so does God.
Nevertheless, the passage we are given this morning is not Mark but John, the only account in which Jesus actually appears at the empty tomb itself and seems to me the most personal and direct account of Easter morning itself. This account, too, resonates in a year which, as well as seeing much death, has seen extraordinary stories of survival against all expectations.
The papers regularly tell the stories of those who came back from the brink of death from Covid. Like the man who was given a 1% chance of survival but came out of his coma. ‘When I first woke up after 50 days on a ventilator,’ he said, ‘I was completely confused — there was a nurse there clapping and saying ‘well done’ and I had no idea where I was or what had happened.’ Or the woman who described finally leaving hospital: ‘It was freezing outside. I only had a hospital gown and flip flops on, but I could feel the air on my face and I was elated.’
Most of us, thankfully, have not seen our loved ones slip into comas, but then we haven’t needed to in order to know something of the pain of separation, the pandemic has caused all of us to miss someone. Not only this but amongst our church family we have brothers and sisters from and Iran and other countries who have been forced to leave their homes and come here as refugees – the rest of us can only imagine the pain of separation that this must cause.
How wonderful, then, to hear from John’s gospel, the moment when Jesus calls Mary Magdalene by her name. Mary is distraught that the body of her Lord has disappeared. Mistaking Jesus for the gardener, Mary begs him to tell her to where they have carried him away. Jesus calls her by her name, ‘Mary,’ and she immediately knows him and embraces him, ‘teacher.’ This is a wonderful moment of recognition and it vividly illustrates what we all hope for, the joy of reconnection, of being reunited, perhaps even with those we thought we had lost. The resurrection tells us that this is what God wants for us, life not death, connection not alienation, unity not separation.
There is still a way to go before we can really feel we have our lives back. I know that many of us long to see our loved ones, I can’t wait to be with my sister, who I haven’t seen in the flesh since February last year, and my Mum who I’ve only seen once since then. And when I think of being parted from them, it recalls to me the sadness of losing my Grandma, on Christmas Day 2019.
But the resurrection is the proof that none of these separations are permanent, not even our loss of those who have passed away. By rising from the tomb on Easter morning, Christ conquered death and forged a path that we can follow. Hi gift to us is the chance live in the truth of the resurrection, believing that new life is coming, that faith, hope and love are possible, that nothing is truly lost and that no one finally beyond the reach of God.
Renewal of baptismal vows
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, we remember that through the paschal mystery we have died and been buried with him in baptism.
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.
Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?