April 12, 2020
Welcome: Rev. Paula Norbert Responsive Call to Worship:
L: Out of the earth Rises light, Rises life, Rises spring.
All: May we join with the miracle that is springtime and enter into life with lightness and joy.
L: Out of the spirit Rises faith, Rises hope, Rises love.
All: May we join with the miracle that is Easter and enter into life with hope and love.
L: Let us resurrect with spring.
All: Let us resurrect with the spirit and enter into renewed life as we gather into our time of worship together this Easter morning.
Hymn: Morning Has Broken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0TInLOJuUM&feature=youtu.be
Holy One, On this Easter Sunday, we are reminded of the resurrection of Jesus, the promise of a life anew. How even in the darkest of days, we can be raised up, broken open, and made new again – just like the promise given to us.
Lord, we hold in our hearts the fear, the sorrow, the worries and yes, the joy in our world today. Walk with us in our journey to resurrection. Break us open, give us new eyes and a new heart. Let peace be on the tip of our tongue and in the palm of our hands.
Holy One, you know our hearts. Heal our hearts and our heads. Use our hands to feed, give, and comfort. Raise us up, break us open, and breathe new life into us so that we may be reflections of your peace, love, and justice in the world today and forever. Amen
Awakening: Christ Is Risen
Matthew 28:1-10, The Resurrection of Jesus
28 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead,[b] and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Love overcame Emerging from a cold tomb
All the truth, majesty and creativity of a living God
Transforming a broken heart Making a quiet return, in a still and sorrowful garden
The grave stone rolled away, to release redemptive love
Jesus resurrected and restored Comforts a weeping woman Speaks with travellers on a journey Meets with his faithful friends
And they bow down before Christ alive And acknowledge that the saviour has arrived
That the word of God has come alive
And that the extraordinary transformation of heaven and earth
“Love Overcame” poem by Julie Palmer © Copyright 2017 Capernaum Publishing, England. All rights reserved.
Prayers of Gratitude and Hope:
Lifting our worries, our burdens, our hopes this day
Reflection: Her Faith was Restored by Mother Goose
(Elizabeth Barbera) Rev. Paula Norbert
A Litany of New Life
L: Jesus is resurrected–because his message of love, justice, healing, and liberation transcends time and space.
All: Jesus is resurrected—because in his story we hear our own stories of suffering and struggle and sorrow.
L: Jesus is resurrected—because we need to be called back to love our neighbor as ourselves, called back to see the inherent worth and dignity of every person, called back to fight for justice, called back to hope for a better life.
All: Jesus is resurrected—not only because he is The Messiah, the long awaited One—but because in his time, and our time, and all time, we need hope.
L: Jesus is resurrected—proving that hope is eternal.
All: Hallelujah. Jesus is resurrected.
May the stories of this day
inspire us in ways that bring us a hope-filled clarity
about who we are, what we can do, and what it is our lives
are about. As we walk this dusty path, may we see only
the love and passion of those who journey with us
and be inspired. Amen
Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world.
Sweet the rains new fall sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness on the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day.
Christ the Lord is Risen Today https://youtu.be/nzy7jFNUc3w
Christ the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
“To say ‘I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,’ is to say I believe that the Resurrection goes on and on and on forever. Every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways, the Resurrection happens again. Every time we see Jesus where we did not recognize him before — in the faces of the poor, in the love of the unloved, in the revelatory moments of life, Jesus rises anew. The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone but in the transformation awaiting us who accept it. — Joan Chittister
If we are to speak of miracles, the most miraculous thing of all is that God uses the very thing that would normally destroy you—the tragic, the sorrowful, the painful, the unjust—to transform and enlighten you. Now you are indestructible and there are no absolute dead ends. This is what we mean when we say we are “saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus.” This is not a cosmic transaction, but a human transformation to a much higher level of love and consciousness. You have been plucked from the flames of any would-be death to the soul, and you have become a very different kind of human being in this world. Jesus is indeed saving the world. — Richard Rohr
Easter Sermon — “Her Faith was Restored by Mother Goose”
Happy Easter to all of our friends, our neighbors, our sisters and brothers throughout the world! We have been walking through the season of Lent, a time during which we remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, wrestling with some very difficult things before he set out on his public ministry. In the final days of his life, he gathered with friends to celebrate the Jewish Passover where they broke bread and shared the cup together. He taught them about true service to one another by getting down on his knees and washing the feet of his dearest friends and followers. He was later betrayed by one he thought he could trust and was put to death on a cross by the Roman authorities. As he traveled the countryside and spoke to so many people and in that final act of suffering and sacrifice, he joined the suffering of all of humanity; he joined in their sorrow and struggles, their pain and disappointment and he embraced that pain with the deepest compassion.
In these recent weeks, many have asked where God is in all of this suffering and loss, struggle and fear of the coronavirus. I truly believe that God continues to walk with each of us, inspiring and strengthening the caretakers and medical professionals, and taking on the pain of loss and death. In all of this, it is indeed difficult to imagine a day when new life will break forth, when we can once again gather at a table with friends and family, and yet, the promise of Easter is here this day, and the resurrection of Jesus is meant to bring us hope that love is stronger than death and that all of the love and kindness that has been shared in these days will break forth and bring us hope. We know that it may take time to get there. Easter is not just the promise of one day; it is the promise of a future in which the Christ lives in our hearts and in our world and inspires us to continue to work for that Kingdom of love and hope, boundless compassion and new life that Jesus taught. Let us pray, O God our help in ages past, we ask that you be with us this Easter morning. May our eyes be open to the hope and joy of this amazing day; may the peace of Christ and the promise of the resurrection inspire us and bring us comfort at this difficult time. Open our hearts to the joy of Easter today and always. Amen.
I’d like to share a simple story of quiet hope and inspiration this Easter day.
The Good News of the Easter message had taken on powerful meaning for Elizabeth ever since her adult son Jason died in a car accident. She knew Jay was alive and happy in heaven, and that she would see him again one day. But when she looked at Jason’s picture carved into the headstone she often wished for more.
For nearly 30 years she’d been his mother. She’d talked to him, listened to him, helped him, taken care of him, loved him. All the things mothers do. Now he was gone. She laid roses in front of the headstone. The plot was already covered in tributes: a heart wreath from Valentine’s Day, wind chimes she brought in the spring. She took good care of the grave, but it was a poor substitute.
And her heart ached with the prayer: “Lord, show me how to be a mother now that my son is with you.”
When they visited the grave, with her son Eric, they looked down the row and saw Canadian Geese walking along. Together, they visited a nursery, thinking about what to plant at the gravesite. She hoped to have something planted by Jay’s thirtieth birthday, which that year fell the day before Easter. How will I ever get through it? She worried as she approached Jay’s grave. It would be the first birthday, the first family holiday, the first Easter without him.
She stopped at a distance as she saw the Goose standing on her son’s grave…and all of the momentos she had left there, the Valentines and the wind chimes and other items were all in a pile, as if gathered by the Goose and then as she got closer, she saw they were all mixed together, along with down feathers and leaves and grass and at the top were palm fronds another friend had placed there.
As they tried to get nearer, they heard a loud hiss and loud honking and it was the Father Goose warning them to stay away. That’s when Elizabeth realized what she was seeing. The goose on Jay’s grave was making a nest. She was going to be a mother. Waves of emotion washed over her at the thought: wonder, excitement, sadness, envy. Elizabeth remembered preparing a room for her own children when she was pregnant. She knew the Mother Goose was preparing a nest and she realized she wouldn’t get anywhere near the grave for weeks. But she came everyday and watched from a safe distance, told others who came and also watched.
She told Mother Goose about her sons: Jay’s first day of kindergarten, Eric’s high school graduation. Maybe Mother Goose didn’t understand the words she said, but Elizabeth believes she knew something of the feelings underneath. Elizabeth realized that God felt close in the time she spent with Mother Goose. God felt close and so did Jay. Elizabeth e-mailed pictures of the goose family to her friends. Many came to see for themselves.
When the days she’d been dreading—that weekend in late April that held Jay’s birthday and Easter—arrived, they brought all her raw grief with them. All the memories of all the birthday and Easter celebrations and rituals seemed terrifying to walk through without him. How can I celebrate without both my children, was her first thought when she opened her eyes that Sunday morning.
Then she thought of Mother Goose. That goose didn’t know about birthdays or Easter with its meaning or all the rituals. That goose wouldn’t hunt for Easter eggs or wrap presents or bake cakes or send cards or have Easter dinner with family or worship with her children. She would sit in her nest and love her babies.
What could be a better celebration? And this gave Elizabeth such comfort for she knew she could survive the day simply by loving her babies.
Elizabeth worked to explain this new peace to Eric, when the two of them met at the cemetery. And with heartfelt wisdom Eric declared, “Mom, I think God sent this goose family to bring us both comfort.” Elizabeth had to agree. She knew she would always love Jay. She would always be his mother. He would always be her son. Just because she couldn’t see him or talk with him like they used to, didn’t mean their love wasn’t as alive as ever.”
A few weeks later, Elizabeth snapped pictures of four newborn goslings marching behind their father toward the lake. One day they would spread their wings and fly away, out of their mother’s sight, but never out of God’s. Wherever they went, she would go on loving them forever. That’s what mothers do.
We hear in this morning’s Easter scripture that Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus at first. She was still too lost in her grief to really see clearly that there he stood: Love alive before her eyes. My prayer for each of you and for all who are suffering this day is that you may be blessed to trust your broken-hearted grief, your loss, your soul ache to our God of amazing transformations And May you be blessed to hear with new ears, to see with new eyes, and to feel with a new heart The Good News of this day and of our lives, is that Love lives beyond death, that Love is stronger than death and that our Hope of ages past is the Hope of the future yet to come.
*This story was adapted from “Her Faith Was Restored by Mother Goose,”
by Elizabeth Barbera, East Meadow, New York