Welcome to Broughty Ferry Baptist Church online on Easter Sunday morning 12 April 2020 the fourth Sunday of our temporary way of life that we share with billions of other people around the globe.
Today is Resurrection Day when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The most important things haven’t changed. The tomb in which Jesus died is empty and Jesus rose from the dead and is in heaven today praying for us- hallelujah!
- An outside event that you may find of interest is Spring Harvest Home coming up this week Easter Monday 13 to Friday 17 April 2020- it is a series of worship and teaching ministry opportunities that are available from your own home.
- JAM Kids’ focus: There is the fourth of a series of Bible based activities for children on the Out of the Box website. This series looks at the Armour of God from Ephesians 6 – Watch the video.
- JAM Kids’ Activity sheet available here.
- Sunday Evening Prayer Livestream 7.00pm
We will be continuing the Prayer Livestream at 7.00pm on Sunday, celebrating the theme of Resurrection Hope with live prayer and news from churches around the country. This will be another significant time of national prayer for us. Please join in and, if you don’t already do so, would you let your fellowship know about this and put it on your social media.
- In this service we will endeavour to share the Lord’s Supper together so if you could gather some bread and juice to represent the body and blood of Jesus before starting the service that might be helpful.
Call to Worship
Christ is risen (Worship leader)
He is risen indeed (Congregational Response)
‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.”’Mark 16: 6-7
Our Easter songs of praise today have been chosen by Moraig.
The first song is the modern favourite hymn ‘See what a morning’
Our second song of praise is the magnificent older hymn ‘Crown Him with many crowns’
Before we come to prayer let us sing the rousing Easter song Happy Day (Greatest Day in History)
Heavenly Father, On Easter Sunday the most sacred of days in the Christian calendar we come with a real sense of joy into Your holy presence as we celebrate the amazing truth of the bodily resurrection from the dead of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. His resurrection from the dead reminds us that no situation in life is hopeless, that our despair can be turned to great joy in the same way that the lives of the first disciples were transformed that first Easter Sunday.
Today we confess that we miss the opportunity to celebrate this worship service in the same physical space as do other Christian congregations around the globe. However though church buildings are closed, You are not confined to religious premises, instead by Your Holy Spirit You are present in the worship offerings of Your people wherever we are found today. Collectively we can bring our praises to honour and glorify Your wonderful and glorious name.
Once more we ask for the forgiveness of our sins and the fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit to equip and empower us for the week to come. Speak into our lives today in accordance with our needs, we pray in Jesus’ name Amen.
Let us say together the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever Amen.’
All Age Talk
So boys and girls I have a very special mission for you today, I am also hoping everyone else will join in too. But I will let you into a little secret boys and girls I think you will be the best at doing this! Don’t tell the big people I said that though! So to do this special mission you just need to listen to what I am going to say and think about how you could do some of it. You might even want to design yourself an amazing costume to wear while you are doing it to make it even more fun.
So our world today is very different from the last time we were all together in church at Panmurefield. You have maybe heard that there is a virus that has been spreading and is contagious and so that is why we are at home, being very careful. Along with the virus spreading, there is something else which is spreading too and that is fear, fear is sadly becoming contagious as well.
But this morning I want to speak to you about something else which as Christians we all are carriers of, something that we can spread, it can be contagious too and it’s not a virus or fear- it’s HOPE.
Today we are celebrating the good news of Jesus, he is the resurrection and the life, death could not defeat him, the grave could not hold him; he is our risen king of kings and our lord of lords. Jesus came for broken people, people in need and for all of us we were made right in his name by God. That is the good news of Easter that we celebrate every year but especially this year and good news is worth sharing, good news is worth spreading and good news is contagious too.
Even when we might be finding it hard right now we must put our hope in the good news that Jesus is risen and God will never leave us. I wonder will people see that ringing out, spreading out, shining out from all of us in this strange time we are going through.
In the bible Paul talks about Gods people being faithful workers, doing loving deeds and having enduring hope. You can read about this in 1 Thessalonians 1 verse 3. It says: “When we pray to God our father, we always thank him for the things you have done because of your faith. And we thank him for the work you have done because of your love. And we thank him that you continue to be strong because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul reminded everyone at that time that they have these things and can do these things because of Jesus. As part of Gods family we too have this same faith, love and hope.
So what is this special mission that I would like us all to do? I would like us to do what Jesus called us to do- go into the world and let our light shine. We are carriers of Christs light and during this difficult time we can and need to let HIS light shine out through us in our community. We are going to be faith spreaders, love givers and hope makers.
We need to think about ways we can show God’s world that we care for all the people in our community through prayers, giving and practical acts of kindness.
Lots of people are hoping for this all to be over soon and life to go back to normal. I am absolutely sure that we are all praying for that too, but I am also absolutely sure that God will be planning something better than normal. Jesus is the good news, our God is amazing and as our bible verse of the year reminds us- he can do more than you could ever hope or imagine. I am certain that through this experience God will do wonderful things and teach us important lessons about what really matters in our world and lives.
So what can we do boys and girls, here is your special mission:
Pray! Pray for everyone you know and love, pray for our amazing NHS, pray for our government, pray for everyone who is sick or sad right now, pray, pray, pray!
Make pictures for your windows. You have maybe already put a rainbow in your window which is a great sign of hope so now I would like you to make an Easter picture with the words good news and hope on it. So that when people are out for their daily exercise they can see the words good news and hope. It will get them thinking and wondering.
Find a medium sized stone in your garden and write the word hope on it. Decorate it and make it look amazing with felt tip pens. Then when you are out with your mum/dad for a walk this week put the stone someplace on your route for others to see. You could do a different hope stone each day you go out for your daily exercise.
Peebles Baptist church is asking all the members of their church fellowship to make a cross from two sticks/bits of wood to display it in their front garden. Attach a sign to it that says hope.
Look through your cupboards with Mum/Dad and see if there are an food products you could donate to the new Broughty Ferry Food bank. Mum/Dad can hand these into the Clydesdale Bank in Broughty Ferry.
When you are out for your daily exercise, smile and say hi to people. Give the lorry drivers that are delivering food a wave or a thumbs up. Give your post person a smile and wave from the window. Clap for a wonderful NHS every Thursday evening at 8pm.
I know that you will probably have lots of even better ideas and if you do ask Mum or Dad to email them to me, I will collate list and we can send it out so everyone can join in.
Finally let’s remember that when so many people right now are looking for hope, we need to let our light shine. Good news will spread even though the world seems like it’s getting darker our light must shine brighter. Whatever we are facing right now we look to Jesus for he is the good news. We need everyone to pray for daily opportunities to spread that good news. May this good news that we carry continue to spread the love of Jesus to everyone. We are HIS faith spreaders, love givers and hope makers here in Broughty Ferry and beyond. Amen
Our next song reminds us we are part of a world church celebrating Easter Sunday together –‘Jesus Hope of the Nations’
Prayers for Others
Once more in this time of international crisis we come before You to remember in our prayers our politicians and other national leaders who are grappling with the challenges before them. In particular we remember our First Minister in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and her government in Edinburgh, together with our Prime Minister Boris Johnston and his government in London. We give You our thanks for the Prime Minister’s improvements in health and pray for a complete restoration of his health and strength.
Lord we continue to remember all those who in difficult times in different workplaces who are so courageously serving our country at this time. We particularly remember those in the NHS and Social Care professions who are assisting so many people in need at this time.
We also want to pray for those struggling with the pressures of self-isolation and lockdown, together with others who are being treated for different health conditions including the covid-19 virus. Please restore each one to good physical, emotional and mental health.
From our national Prayer Guide we want to remember the following in our prayers:
Stuart Murdoch (Chaplain, Strathcarron Hospice) He is continuing to serve God caring for Patients at End-Of-Life, their families and Staff at the Hospice. This is always an emotional journey. We pray that he would continue to serve God with passion, compassion, and quiet diligence.
Cowal BC, Dunoon – We pray for Cowal Baptist Church as they seek to keep Jesus as the centre of all that they do.
Cowdenbeath BC – We give thanks for the positive spirit in this church, a growing sense of togetherness and unity, and an increasing desire to engage with God in prayer. The have also been encouraged by the development of the children’s work. We pray with them as they search for a new pastor and hope that the congregation would be patient to wait on the Lord and trust in His timing and provision
Crieff BC – We give thanks to God for the number of new families joining with them in the last few months. We pray that they will be able to find more helpers to assist with the crèche and Sunday School. We pray too for them as they engage in discerning forward planning and commitment in reaching out to the youth in our community as we engage in a new endeavour working with nearby Youth Projects and alongside Young Life UK.
Baptist Union of Scotland – We pray for the on-line meeting on Thursday 16 April of the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Union of Scotland, as they meet to discuss various things regarding BUS governance; We give thanks for these men and women who volunteer their time and skills for this important role.
Our own church families – Heavenly Father you have called us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’ and to weep with those who weep’. During this time of separation we have been delighted for Anne M’s news of the safe arrival of her granddaughter Mya and are thankful that both mother and baby continue in good health.
However, we have been so conscious that there have been so many people both within our congregation and outside it who have had extremely difficult times to go through. We continue to remember those who are going through extremely difficult times in their health and we particularly ask for Your strength for Jim and Jan F –grant them a real sense of Your presence with them today.
We continue to pray for Your comfort for Elizabeth Fand her family in their time of bereavement. We remember too Eloise P and her family as they prepare for her brother’s funeral tomorrow. Please be very close to each member of that family at this time.
We also come with deep sadness to remember two other families who this week have lost precious loved ones. We thank you for the life of Ian R who together with his wife Betty have been such faithful members of this and earlier other congregations. Thank you for the dedication he showed to the end in caring for Betty. We ask Your comfort for Betty and their son Scott as they support each other at this time and as they prepare for his funeral service on Friday 17 April.
We remember also Betty W and her family as they mourn the loss of her grand-daughter Paula. Please draw very close to them as they come to terms with her loss.
We also bring before you now other people we particularly want to pray for …. ; We also bring our own needs before You …; Lord hear and answer our prayers we pray in the wonderful and all-powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb3 and they asked each other, Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? 4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 Don’t be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.Mark 16:1-8
Before we come to the message let us sing once more, this time the Easter song: ‘Led like a lamb to the slaughter’
We now turn to God’s Word:
Mark 16:1-8 The most extraordinary day in history!
This year more than any previous year in our lifetimes – unless you have memories of 1918-1920 and the ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic – places us in circumstances as unsettling and disturbing as the people who played key roles in the Easter story. Real life is stranger than fiction more often than we like to imagine.
But there are a small number of times in most of our lives when the ‘comfort blanket’ of familiar schedules and secure routines goes out of the window. For some of us riding on a roller-coaster in a theme park is a fun experience, but in times like this when you cannot get off the ride it is anything but fun. On the contrary, there can be panic and a growing sense of fear at the uncertainty before us. What is more, there is no human we can turn to who can tell us with certainty that everything will be alright in a few months’ time. There is no-one alive in our families or circles of friends who can say I’ve been there before – it will work out.
The events of that first Easter were beyond the wildest imaginings of almost, if not everyone, close to it in Jerusalem that weekend over 2,000 years ago. On the day we call Good Friday Jesus was confirmed as dead by 3pm and placed in a stone tomb on the outskirts of the city by sunset. They thought it was all over and no-one could have blamed them for it. Mark 16:1-8 records the initial responses of a small number of the followers of Jesus early on the Sunday morning, the first Easter Sunday morning. What was their response? Can we stand in their shoes today?
1. Their Devotion (Mark 15:40-41, 47)
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Who was it that remained at Jesus’ cross when the vast majority of followers of Jesus had gone into hiding? No speeches of devotion from these ladies to rival the oratory of the male disciples at the Last Supper. Here there was silent suffering as they supported the mother of Jesus helplessly observing the death of her eldest son. Who was it that observed where the body of Jesus was taken after Pilate the Roman governor gave it to Joseph and Nicodemus, leading Jewish figures who had taken responsibility for burial arrangements after His death, but had never had the courage when He was alive to identify with the cause of Jesus of Nazareth, because of the possible cost to their reputations or career? It was these women who were consistent in their loyalty and devotion.
There are people in our society who are sceptical about the accuracy of the resurrection accounts in the Bible. They tell us: ‘dead people cannot come back to life, it is impossible’. What they often don’t know is that in that culture a woman was not acceptable as a witness in a legal case. Had the Gospel writers been writing fiction, rather than describing a historical event, there was zero chance the ‘witnesses’ would have been women. All would have been male in order for the story to have credibility.
Therefore, for each of the Gospel writers to tell us that the people who had the honour of recognising that Jesus had risen from the grave were female could only be because this is exactly what had happened on Sunday 5 April AD33, 1987 years ago. God is looking today for women and men who will be faithful followers of Jesus through tough times as well as good – can He count on you making this commitment?
2. Their Sacrifice (Mark 16:1)
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
This was not all, Luke 23:56 records that prior to the start of the Jewish Sabbath they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. Funerals in the Middle East to this day take place remarkably quickly after a death. It is not uncommon for funerals to be arranged and carried out on the same day as a person’s death, where this is possible. A mixture of the hot climate and Middle Eastern cultures had led to this practice becoming standard. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were two wealthy men who had done at least all that the law required in terms of taking care of the body of Jesus and arranging His burial.
What these ladies did went beyond that in their love and devotion; not forgetting the high financial cost of their actions. Money and material things, however, was not the source of their motivation in life; doing what Jesus wanted was number one for them. Aromatic oils had been purchased to anoint the body of Jesus and spices to offset the odours from a decomposing body. As this was the third day after Jesus’ death, only the most dedicated follower would engage in such a practise so late after death in that culture. In addition, it has to be remembered that no followers of Jesus were expecting His bodily resurrection, despite Him mentioning it on numerous occasions to them.
The Bible portrays God’s people honestly as they were, revealing their strengths and their weaknesses. The fact that none of them was really convinced anything good would happen on that first Easter Sunday reminds us that they like us at times are weak in faith and having low expectations of what God might do in our midst and in our lives. They were not concerned about what other people were doing, or not doing. Their sole focus was on what I can do for Jesus. Here we see their sacrificial financial giving, their gift of time and their willingness to carry out tasks that were decidedly unpleasant. Does Jesus have first place in your life today? He still did in theirs even when they had no expectations of bodily resurrection. When we stand the other side of this amazing event surely we have no good reason not to want to acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives.
3. Their Obedience (Luke 23:56)
Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment (Luke 23:56). Too often when the subject of religion comes up some people immediately have the mental caricature of emotional women and hard-headed men addressing this subject, with only the former ‘needing religion’.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In the real world it is so often the women who are prepared to be honest with each other about their feelings or how life is going. By contrast too often men stick to safe subjects such as work, sport and the weather to avoid discussing what is really going on in their lives. The tragedy of so many young men who commit suicide in our country is just one piece of evidence to support this point. These women were distressed, but as good Jews they were in control of their minds observing the religious guidelines of their faith even at such a difficult time as this.
We need to be honest that women are more willing than men on many occasions to stand up for their principles when men may be absent. It has often been commented that when candidates are sought by Christian mission societies for service in some of the toughest mission fields overseas, that a large majority of the candidates are women, in proportions greater than from a representative sample of church members. On the contrary here it was the male disciples who had gone all emotional and hidden themselves away after the death of Jesus had been confirmed. Then and now it takes real guts to take a stand for Jesus at school, university and in the workplace, where a majority of people will hold to different views.
Yet at the present time in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis things look quite different. The Sun newspaper headline on 8 April 2020 with reference to the Prime Minister Boris Johnston declared: ‘He stayed at work for you, you pray at home for him’. When did you last recall a national tabloid newspaper recommending prayer for divine intervention as a civic duty? As Christians we have a message to share and a faith to proclaim that is so relevant in our current crisis. Will you pray for opportunities to encourage others to consider following Him too?
4. Their Reward (Mark 16:5-8)
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6Don’t be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Instead of allowing the obstacle of a tombstone too heavy to move frustrating their plans and not even bothering to start on their journey, they did everything they could and entrusted the rest to God. Is that not a great idea for you and me as well in the current crisis? There can be sensible steps we need to follow in the choices we make, but ultimately whether we live or die, or whether we succeed or fail in particular efforts is in His hands.
The challenge to us today is that these women were people of faith who trusted that God would make sense of the crisis they were experiencing. They didn’t have all the answers to the big ‘why’ questions of the week – nor do we; but the bedrock of our faith is established on what happened on Resurrection Day.
The angel told the women these remarkable words in Mark 16:6: Don’t be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. This day changes everything.
The women’s immediate reaction was this: Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid (Mark 16:8). Thankfully this wasn’t the final scene in the story, but today it is right to pause for a moment and acknowledge our current fears and frustrations to God. They too were struggling to make sense of what was happening to them. Yet God chooses to use ordinary fallible people to be His witnesses. People like you and me! They gossiped the gospel from Jerusalem to the capital of the Roman Empire in only thirty years.
What might you and I accomplish for God in the next twelve months, if we step out in faith to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus with others? I look forward by next Easter Sunday to finding out some of your stories of what God has accomplished in and through you. Amen
In a moment we will sing the hymn ‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene’ before we endeavour to share the Lord’s Supper together.
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.
Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’
Thank you Lord Jesus for the privilege of participating in this special act to remember Your costly sacrifice in our place. Help us in this coming week to live our lives in a way honouring to You, for the glory of Your wonderful and holy Name, Amen
Our closing song is one of the best known Easter hymns: ‘Thine be the glory’
Benediction: The Grace
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore, Amen
Remember tonight the national online prayer service at 7pm in Scotland on Facebook live.