Category : Easter

A Prayer for Easter from Frank Colquhoun

O Lord God of our fathers, who didst of old deliver thy people from the prison-house of Egypt through the paschal sacrifice: Mercifully grant that we thy new Israel, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, may be set free from the bondage of evil and serve thee henceforth in the joy and power of the resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who ever liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Easter from William Bright

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who have this day given thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

Kendall Harmon for Easter–Cry Freedom

How shall we understand freedom? Perhaps because I am in a state, South Carolina, where candidates….[not long ago] were running around saying “you are free so vote for me!” this has been much in mind.

There is a lot of sloppy thinking about freedom these days. For too many it only means the ability to choose a candidate or a product. Or it is understood to be the removal of external constraints, as in I need the government out of my—then fill in the blank: my business, my body, and on and on.

Christian thinking about freedom is a totally different animal.

For one thing, in the Scriptures, freedom has an interesting relationship to time. Freedom is something which was present in creation, and which will be fully present again at the end of history when God brings it to its conclusion. But what about the present? The people Jesus spends time with—say, for example, the woman at the well (John 4), or Zaccheus (Luke 19) are not free but constrained, imprisoned, and encased. When Jesus rescues them, freedom begins, but even then it is lived out in the tension between the already of new life in Christ and the not yet of the fullness of the eschaton.

So apart from Christ people who think they are free need to hear the bad news that their perceived freedom is an illusion. One would like to hear more from preachers these days on this score, since they are addressing parishioners who are workaholics or poweraholics or sexaholics and/or addicts to heaven knows what else. Why is it that a group like AA seems to know more about real freedom than so many churches? Because they begin with the premise which says their members are enslaved—that is the first of the twelve steps.

And there is so much more to freedom then even this. In the Bible, real freedom moves in not one or two but three directions.

Freedom from is one piece of the puzzle—freedom from sin, from the demands of the law, from the tyranny of the urgent, from whatever constricts us from being the people God intended us to be.

Equally important, however, is freedom for, freedom for Christ, for service, for God’s justice, for ministry. Paul wonderfully describes himself as a bondservant of Christ Jesus, and the Prayer Book has it right when it says God’s service is “perfect freedom.”

Freedom with should not be missed, however. For Paul in Galatians Christian freedom is not the Christian by herself changed by the gospel. This has too much in common with the individual shopper in Walmart deciding exactly what kind of popcorn or yogurt she wants. No, real freedom is to be liberated to live for Christ with the new pilgrim people of God who reflect back a little of heaven’s light on earth. A real church is one where people enjoy koinonia, fellowship, the richness of God’s life shared into them which they then share out in Christ’s name by the power of the Holy Spirit to the world.

Paul says it wonderfully in Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Do not settle for anything less than this real freedom, freedom from bondage, freedom with our fellow pilgrims, and freedom for the God who made the heavens and the earth.

–The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon is the convenor of this blog

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Easter, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Easter from Frank Colquhoun

O Blessed Lord, who didst promise thy disciples that through thy Easter victory their sorrow should be turned to joy, and their joy no man should take from them: Grant us, we pray thee, so to know thee in the power of thy resurrection, that we may be partakers of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory; for thy holy name’s sake.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Easter from the Scottish Prayer Book

O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Easter from the Book of Common Order

Almighty God, who broughtest again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the glorious Prince of Salvation, with everlasting victory over sin and the grave: Grant us power, we beseech thee, to rise with him to newness of life, that we may overcome the world with the victory of faith, and have part at last in the resurrection of the just; through the merits of the same risen Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

(Commonweal) B D McClay–You Can’t Earn Easter Finding Joy as Real as Sorrow

Does our response to Easter reflect poorly on us? There’s not a simple answer. Easter is simply a more challenging subject than Christmas; in that sense, it’s only to be expected. It could also be that there’s some amount of modern unease with enthusiastically declaring you think somebody, historically, did really come back from the dead—that, while Christians still live in expectation, they believe some of their expectations have already been fulfilled in history. Christianity is more easily lived as a sort of everlasting Ingmar Bergman film: better to expect and expect and never have to deal with the realization of expectation—to enjoy, even prioritize, uncertainty, doubt, and anguish.

Another reason, I suspect: Christianity, or at least American Christianity, has a difficult relationship with joy. (Though given that the most recent papal exhortation is called “rejoice and be glad,” perhaps it’s a global problem.) For those American Christians whose faith has been shaped—inevitably—by a reaction to the various feel-good Christianities that abound, the safest thing to do is simply to avoid any occasion of happiness. Focusing on anything other than the cross feels like cheap grace, a concession to the facile optimism all around us. We don’t deserve Easter, the general upbeat nature of the culture makes it impossible to celebrate properly anyway, and as soon as is humanly possible we should retreat back into the shadows.

It would certainly be foolish to claim that American culture is overly penitential, or that we aren’t ridden with cheap grace. But all grace, by definition, is undeserved; that applies no less to the brooding intellectual than it does to the flagrantly wicked. And what distinguishes cheap grace from grace isn’t the extremity of our penance or devotion to suffering (read: brooding), but recognition of sin and a contrite heart—not, precisely, the same thing. Avoiding cheap grace may mean avoiding grace altogether.

Read it all.

Posted in Easter

A Prayer for Easter from the Mozarabic Sacramentary

We give thee thanks, O heavenly Father, who hast delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of thy Son; grant, we pray thee, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us to joys eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer For Easter from Daily Prayer

O God, the living God, who hast given unto us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Grant that we, being risen with him, may seek the things which are above, and be made partakers of the life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What does an Easter Church Really Look like? (John 20:19-31)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Easter, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Easter to Begin the Day

O Christ, the light of men, Who on the third day didst arise from the grave and shed Thy bright beams upon the darkness of the world; grant, we beseech Thee, that, enlightened by Thy presence, we may walk as children of the day, to the glory of Thy Name Who livest and reignest, world without end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s April 2018 Letter

My dear people of God,

Around the world we have just celebrated the mighty resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty and Christ is Risen! Christ’s sacrifice of himself upon the cross really has broken the power of sin and death, the tomb could not hold him and it is only a matter of time before the Risen Christ will be revealed to all at his second coming as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He will indeed make all things new.

It is in the light of these great truths that the Apostle Paul gives us words of command and of encouragement at the end of 1 Corinthians 15, a chapter in which he reminds the church of the gospel they have received and the unshakeable hope that is theirs in Christ. These words are also for us, to give us strength to persevere and not lose heart in the face of discouragement.

Some of you face challenges such as persecution, disease, communal strife and food insecurity. Some have to struggle with less physically threatening problems which can still be very hard as you are marginalised because of your faithfulness and those who were once friends draw back from you. But in all these circumstances the resurrection of Jesus from the dead assures us that despite the sins, confusions, suffering and setbacks that are part of our experience now, ultimate victory is certain.

Gafcon is a movement which lives by this power of resurrection hope. We are determined to be steadfast and immovable in the face of great pressures to compromise the unchanging truth of the gospel, whether through money or seductive calls to unity which are based merely on shared history rather than shared truth.

Read it all.

Posted in Easter, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

An Easter Prayer to Begin the Day

O Risen Lord, Who after Thy passion didst show Thyself alive unto Thine Apostles by many infallible proofs, and didst speak unto them the things that concern the kingdom of God: speak unto us also who wait upon Thee, and fill us with joy and peace in believing; that we may abound in hope, and knowing Thy will may faithfully perform it, even unto the end; through Thy grace, Who livest and reignest, Lord of the dead and of the living.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

The Bishop of Sheffield’s Easter 2018 Sermon

We’ve just heard how, when the women arrive at the empty tomb, early on the first day of the week, hoping to anoint the dead body of Jesus, they’re shocked to find the tomb open and a young man sitting inside, dressed in white.  This angel speaks to them: ’Do not be alarmed.  You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised.  He is not here: look there is the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples – and Peter – that he is going ahead of you to Galilee: there you will see him, just as he told you’.

Go and tell his disciples, and Peter.  It’s those two words ‘and Peter’ that catch my attention.  Why are they added?  You won’t find them on the lips of the angel in the version of this story told by Matthew, Luke or John.  Why do they matter to Mark?  Well, I think there are two reasons, both of which might encourage us this morning as we celebrate afresh our Lord’s resurrection from the dead: the first reason has to do with what the Risen Lord wants for Peter; the second, with what he wants from Peter.

Let me say something about what the Lord might want for Peter to start with.  This is the first reference to Peter in the Gospel of Mark since the moment about 48 hours before, when the cock had crowed a second time and he had broken down and wept.  Our last glimpse of Peter is of his sobbing remorse at the realisation that he had indeed denied Jesus, as his Master had prophesied that he would.  This is a more catastrophic fall from grace than that of any Australian cricketer: as the curtain falls on his active participation in the Gospel story, Peter has failed.

So those two words ‘and Peter’ on the lips of the angel are full of hope.  They suggest that the Risen Jesus, far from having given up on Peter, far from having written him off, is intent on // re-establishing // a relationship with him.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

An Easter Prayer to Begin the Day

We give Thee thanks, Almighty Father, Who hast delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of Thy Son: grant, we beseech Thee, that as by His death He has restored to us hope and peace, He may raise us up with Him to life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer