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Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 10 April (Monday of Easter Week)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for Monday of Easter Week, 10 April 2023, including a reflection on Matthew 28.8-15

Preparation

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Matthew 28.8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ 

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day. 

Reflection

The chief priests told the soldiers: You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’

Jesus was dogged by the religious leaders throughout his ministry. We constantly read of their attempts to belittle him, and their plots to kill him. The teachings of Jesus challenged so much of what the chief priests of his day stood for. First century Jewish religious practice had evolved over many centuries. But, as the centuries had passed by the religious teachings, customs and laws had grown further and further away from the true word of God. So many religious rituals had become centred around an ostentatious show of a superficial piety. Jesus’ teaching followed a very different path. The arrogance of those who considered themselves to be most holy, most worthy, was shown up for what it was as Jesus modelled and preached a humbler way of living out one’s life.

In today’s reading we see one of Jesus’ first encounters with his followers after his resurrection. We are invited to visualise the very moment when all that Jesus had prophesied came true. The tomb was thrown open and death was conquered as, on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. But then we are called to reflect upon two reactions to this moment. Firstly, Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me. Secondly, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb rushed to tell their masters everything that had happened. As the last moments of the gospel narrative unfolds it becomes obvious that the disciples did as they had been bidden by their risen Lord. On the other hand, the soldiers were paid to lie, and to keep quiet.

The challenge for us today revolves around how we respond to the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection. Are we joining the disciples in proclaiming the joy of Jesus’ mastery over death and the redemption it brings to humanity, or are we pretending it never happened? The choice is as simple as that … there is no halfway house in this matter!

We live in a sceptical age, an age in which it is easier to maintain the status quo than to stand out as a person of true faith. It is easier to keep quiet than to proclaim our belief in Christ through our words and deeds. It is easier to betray (like Judas) and to deny (like Peter) than to walk with those who have entered into a true relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let us pray for the strength to proclaim our faith, and to help those who are wavering. Let us pray that our every word and action might reveal our love of Christ, and that we might help those who struggle to bear the light of Christ in this world. Let us pray in gratitude for all that Christ did for us, and let us never be ashamed to demonstrate that gratitude every moment of every day.

Prayers

To Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
and who now lives in the glory of the Father,
let us lift our voices in praise, saying:
risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

Lord Jesus, you are the Amen, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You are Alpha and Omega,
the one who is, and was, and who is to come:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You search into the thoughts and affections of all people:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You reprove and chasten those whom you love:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You open the eyes of the blind
and set the prisoners free:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

In your paschal victory,
you have proclaimed the coming of the kingdom:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on 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.

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.