Easter Eve

This is the shortest of our services this week – remembering how the disciples stood in the emptiness of Holy Saturday, without the busyness of decorating the church, without the joyful expectation of Easter dawning, without a bonfire to light and a discussion over whether a vigil could or should be Saturday evening or Sunday dawn. It was, instead, empty, full of uncertainty. You are invited to hold this space – remembering perhaps how those observing the Jewish faith still try to save their sabbath – a sabbath we seem to have had enforced on us, so perhaps at least for today, we can embrace it…

Full audio here.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
All    Amen.

A reading from the book of Lamentations (3:1-9, 19-24)

Read by Ethel Ramsey
Lamentations 3:1-9,19-24

For the word of the Lord.
All    Thanks be to God.

Canticle

Read by Jamie and Connor Hughes

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?
From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;
shut not your ears to our prayers,
but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,
do not let the pains of death
turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

A reading from the Gospel of John (19:38-42)

Read by Phil Brown
John 19:38-42

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All    Praise to you O Christ.

Silence is kept.

Anthem

Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.

(From the Prayer Book Funeral Sentences)

Prayer

Read by Stuart and Evie Johnson

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who at this evening hour rested in the sepulchre, and so sanctified the grave to be a bed of hope for your people: make us so to abound in sorrow for our sins, which were the cause of your passion, that, when our bodies lie in the dust, our souls may live with you, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
All Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, sustain the dying, calm the suffering and pity the distressed; all for your love’s sake.
All Amen.

As our Saviour taught us, we are bold to say:

All    Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done;
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn    

The stone is rolled to seal the grave,
the soldiers stand to guard the door;
the years of hope, the hearts of faith,
cold as the tomb, dead as their Lord.

The tears of anger and regret,
the cock has crowed, the traitor fled;
disciples frightened and confused,
where once was peace, now only dread.

Where can they go, where can they run?
His words were true, eternal life;
yet even Christ has felt death’s sting,
sin’s curse extinguishing love’s light.

We stand with them, with the bereaved,
stand with the broken, torn and bruised;
we hold our doubts, our tears, our pain,
and, by our nails, hold to the truth.

There is a sun we cannot see,
a resurrection yet to dawn,
a hope that holds us through the night,
a path that leads to Easter morn.

© Sam Hargreaves / RESOUNDworship.org, Administered by The Jubilate Group