Good Friday and Easter Sunday

9th April 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
Acts 2:24

I have long loved these words spoken by the apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. They seem especially appropriate this Easter, when many of us are locked down and feel shut up. I suppose you could say that Jesus’ tomb was the ultimate ‘lockdown’: as if it wasn’t enough for him to be dead, there was also a stone placed over the tomb and a guard stationed outside. Now if death couldn’t hold him, how did they think they were going to?!

And why couldn’t death keep its hold on Jesus? Because death is for sinners, and he wasn’t a sinner: he died not for his own sins but for ours. The wonderful truth, then, is that if we are ‘in Christ’, if we put our faith in him, death will no more be able to keep its hold on us. We may die – we will die – but it won’t be for ever. That’s what we’re celebrating this Easter weekend.

The rest of this message will explain how to access our Good Friday Reflection and our Easter Celebration on Sunday, along with a few other things. The details are once again slightly different to previous Sundays, so please read them carefully. Thank you for your patience while we’ve been working out the best way to do things online. We think we’ve now settled on a long-term solution, so it should be the same following this Sunday.

Good Friday
Our Good Friday Reflection will be streamed live via YouTube.

The service will be live at 10am, and it can be paused or watched later. Please feel free to share this link as widely as possible!

We will be following Luke’s account (Luke 23:26-49) as we reflect on Jesus’ death together in four sections of Bible reading, reflection, quiet and prayer.

Following the Reflection there will be the chance to catch up over ‘coffee’ at 11.30am using Zoom.

Easter Sunday
Our Easter Celebration will be available here from 10am.

This will be an All Age Service, including songs, with a short talk on John 20:1-20. So we very much hope that everyone will feel able to join us. Please feel free to share this link as widely as possible!

Following the service there will be the chance to share the Lord’s Supper together at 11.30am using Zoom. You may wish to have your own bread and wine ready at home, although that is not essential.

Family Bible Time. Please go here to find resources for an Easter Family Bible Time.

Face Masks
We have received a gift of 1000 masks from Christians in China. They aren’t suitable for hospital use, but they are fine for the rest of us. If you would like some, please email Andy Martin and we will try to get them to you.

Staying in Touch
Like me, I expect you’ve found yourself using the phone a lot more than normal. I’ve really enjoyed hearing people’s voices and catching up with them. I hear that a number in our church family are picking up the phone and giving someone a call when they think of them. Why not do the same? You might be surprised how much it’s appreciated!

You’ve probably been bombarded with resources to use and opportunities to take up in these coronavirus times, including many Christian ones, many of which are excellent but can feel overwhelming. While we want to keep you up to date with what we’re doing as a church, we don’t want to burden you with lots of other things. What we will do is to put details of anything that seems especially good and useful on our church website.

And finally…
We may feel that the world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, and in many ways it has. Very few of us will have seen anything quite like it. So, as we remember the events of the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it’s worth remembering that that truly was a weekend that changed the world. There we meet a God who loves us enough to give his Son to die for our sins, a God who is powerful enough to raise his Son from the dead, a God who forgives our sins and gives us eternal life, a God who is ushering in his new creation with no sickness, pain or death. And so,

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)