The Great Fifty Days of Eastertide form a single festival period in which the tone of joy created at the Easter Vigil is sustained through the following seven weeks and the Church celebrates the gloriously risen Christ.
The Easter candle stands prominently in church for all of this season. The Alleluia appears frequently in the liturgy and white/gold as the liturgical colour for vestments and decorations emphasise the joy and brightness of the season.
Theme: Open Minds
Gathering and Opening Prayers
A call to worship and a gathering prayer
Jesus says, ‘Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened
and I will give you rest.’
In worship, let us come to the one who offers peace and rest.
Against the noise of the world we cover our ears;
at distressing sights we close our eyes;
to confusing thoughts we close our minds;
amid the clamour of distress we close our hearts.
Loving God, your ears and eyes are ever open to our needs;
help us to worship with open hearts and minds,
that we may have open ears and eyes
to see the work that you call us to do,
and open hands to do it. Amen.
The Collect for Easter3:
Risen Christ you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Gathering around the Word
The two disciples have returned to Jerusalem after their walk to Emmaus and back. Their conversation with Jesus on the Emmaus road has brought some comfort but may have raised yet more questions. Their maelstrom of emotions includes shock and grief at Jesus’ death and confusion and disbelief at the disappearance of his body. However, as Jesus eats with them, these feelings give way to an expression of pure joy and, when Jesus explains the Scriptures to them, understanding of the truth about who he is.
Knowing that the disciples experienced times of anxiety in their journey of faith can be encouraging to us, and offers an opportunity to explore how we respond, emotionally, in different situations. What would help our minds to be open – when we are distressed – to know the peace of Christ, and to trust in his word?
- Why, or when, might we describe life as like a rollercoaster?
- What place do feelings have in your faith?
- If/when you are anxious, how do you find peace?
An Easter Affirmation of Faith:
As Christians throughout the world what unites us, not only at this time but always, is our belief, our trust in a loving and ever present God – but today because we live in extraordinary times we join in this unusual version.
We believe that behind the Lenten mist the sun waits.
We believe that beyond the dark night of Good Friday it is raining stars.We will not be robbed of faith and Easter hope, this shall not be broken.We believe – and may we live to prove, on earth as it is in heaven:that goodness is stronger than evilthat light is stronger than darknessthat love is stronger than hatethat life is stronger than death.(Adapted from: ‘Confessing our Faith Around the World’ from Chile, in ‘Bread of Tomorrow’ ed. by Janet Morley 1992 and Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
Prayers of Intercession
Prayers of Intercession: led this week by Oby Jideofor
Response: Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
- We continue to hold in our prayers the countless bereaved, but this week also among them all who are mourning the loss of HRH Prince Philip, and closer to home St Catherine’s member Jutta Ross. May they rest in peace and their loved ones find comfort and strength in God’s abiding presence.
- We pray for Queen Elizabeth II as she marks her first birthday as a widow this week.
- We join all of Germany as it lights candles to mark ‘Lichtfenster für die Corona-Toten’
The Our Father
We join with others of the St Catherine’s family across the globe to pray…
The Sending Out
A sending out prayer
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Peace be with you’ –
they responded with turmoil.
Jesus said, ‘Have you anything to eat?’ –
they served him fish.
Jesus opened their minds –
they became his witnesses.
So, Lord, may we too find peace in your service,
with opened minds and hearts on fire.