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notre dame montreal

Easter Sunday 15 April 2001

Year C, Colour White or Gold

Verse of Scripture

Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.


Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Old Testament Readingæ¡°saiah 65:17-25

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach [1] a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. (This is the Word of the Lord-Thanks be to God)

New Testament Reading桱ohn 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. (This is the Gospel of Christ-Praise to Christ our Lord)

Post Communion Prayer

God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection have delivered us from the power of our enemy: grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Lesslie Newbigin warned about the misunderstanding created by the medieval crucifix, which shows Jesus as a drooping, defeated, pain-drenched figure - a symbol of abject submission and defeat. This picture of the cross as the defeat of goodness by the powers of evil has been enormously influential in Spanish Christianity and is part of the background of Latin American liberation theology. In English, when we want to express our pity for a helpless victim of circumstances, we are inclined to exclaim: 'Poor devil.' The Spanish equivalent of this expression is 'Poor Christ!'

But the earliest representations of the crucifixion do not portray it like this. They depict Christ with head erect, the warrior beating down the powers of death and hell, the victorious challenger of all the powers of evil. This is the > understanding of the cross as the New Testament teaches us. The cross is not abject submission to the power of evil; it is the price that paid for a victorious challenge to the powers of evil.

And so the final act of this triumph on the cross is celebrated today in the events of the resurrection. The battle has already been won but the disciples do not yet know it. The resurrection is nothing more than conformation of something that Jesus had shouted from the cross was 'finished'. In a sense the resurrection is therefore not a miracle at all, it is the natural consequence of the defeat of death which Jesus secured-on the cross. That was the turning point -'crux'- this is now the proof. Praise God.


John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress includes this famous incident:

"Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. He ran thus till he came to a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a Sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the Cross, his burden loosed from his shoulders, and fell off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the Sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by His death."
Bunyan concludes, "Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on his way singing."

Easter is a time for joyful leaps and singing hearts.

Prayers for Sunday

Dear Lord God we give you thanks today for new life, for how what seems to have died, can be transformed and emerge a new creature. We thank you for raising Jesus from the dead and for giving to him new life and through him for giving us the same. We thank you God for overcoming sin and death. Amen

Lord Jesus we know that your resurrection gives us hope. Those who are spiritually dead inside may be brought back to life. No longer need our lives be ruled by fear, depression, guilt, and worry. We are so thankful, Christ Jesus, that you conquered death and in the process liberated us from the chains of sin. Yet O God, like the first witnesses of the resurrection, we too, come to the empty tomb with a variety of responses. We hear the good news that Jesus has risen, but so often the evidence for this is difficult to detect in our lives. Forgive us, Lord, when we tarry too long in the many graves of depravity that seem so inviting. Too often we have sought life in the dead things of this world. With joy and adoration in our hearts we praise you, Redeeming God, for gifting us with everlasting & eternal life. Amen

Lord, as this day we come to the empty tomb of Jesus and gaze within - help us to remember that not only is his tomb empty, but that he is both with you in your eternal kingdom and here with those who believe in him and worship him. We pray you, enliven our faith and help us to make the risen Christ evident through our words and our actions help us to believe that we may see - that others may see and then believe.

In this season of new life help us God to spring forth with new signs of vitality and hope. Nurture all of our relationships with your reconciling spirit. Strengthen each of us, O Great Physician, so that we might overcome the challenges that we face as mortal & imperfect people. May your sustaining love encourage those who struggle with grinding poverty, malnutrition, and natural disasters. Encourage us to emulate your compassion, Lord, as we seek to put our faith into action by reaching out in our own ways to marginalised in our global community. Bless us, O Prince of Peace, with harmony and hope as we praise your Holy name. Amen.

Father, we pray this day that your resurrection power may surround and embrace those who grieve on this day. Grant to them the fullness of the joy that comes with trusting in your goodness and may we too be made whole in a way that all the saints have looked forward to since death first entered this world. Amen

Hymns for Sunday - Mission Praise

(1).Christ the Lord is risen today 76 (2). There is a Redeemer 673 (3). My God and is thy table spread-on notices (4). If Christ had not been raised-on notices (5). Thine be the glory 689


Sermon: Getting the Message Across


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