Reading and Prayer – April 3

The Readings this week are taken from our Stations of the Cross service, which will be held on Friday. May this journey lead us not only to the cross, but to the Empty Tomb.

Reading:

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross – John 19:38-40

               After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 

               Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

14. Jesus is laid in the tomb – Matthew 27:59-66

Joseph took the body, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Prayer:

O Saviour of the World, we praise you again 

               for the victory of the cross and for your finished work.

You have done for us what we could never do for ourselves, and what we did not deserve you to do;

                              and you have done it once and for all.

Through your perfect and all-sufficient sacrifice

               sin is conquered, death is destroyed, humanity is redeemed, 

                              and heaven is opened. 

To God be the glory, forever.

Our Lord, 

               help us in our gratitude for all that you have done,

               to live lives of faith, of hope, of love.

Give to us the faith that overcomes the world 

               and enables us to face both life and death with courage.

Give to us the hope that looks beyond this life

               and grasps hold of the truth of eternity.

Give to us the love that binds us more closely 

               to one another, and to you, our risen Lord.

Give to us faith, hope and love that we might live lives 

               pleasing to you, and helpful to others.

May we live as you lived, helping the needy, 

feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely, 

healing the sick, 

befriending the friendless, giving hope to the aged, 

and courage to the weak. (over)

May not only our prayers but our lives 

               demonstrate your love, 

               as we seek not only to pray, 

               but to answer with action and faith.

We pray for people the world over who are frightened, hungry, lonely, and bereaved.

We pray for our own communities, 

               for our children, for our elderly, for the sick and infirm, 

                              and for those who grieve.

In Jesus Christ our Lord: Amen.