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When the vessel of his body was shattered
in death, Christ was poured out over all the cosmos;
he became actually in his very humanity what he had always been in his divinity,
the innermost centre of creation.

Carl Rahner

 

Prepare the space: Use bright yellow and white cloths draped as the centerpiece - a lot of tea lights lit - and fresh yellow and white flowers.

Gathering:

Leader: The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope along which we can advance together towards a world more just and mutually supportive, in which the blind egoism of the few will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many, reducing entire peoples to conditions of degrading misery. (John Paul II, Easter 2000)

As we gather to ponder and celebrate Easter, let us acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we are gathered on and let us also be blessed by the earth we stand on.

All stand and first face west

Reader 1: We ask the West for a blessing, the Spirit of Shalom:
Make us whole, make us holy, help us to love You and one another
with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole body and our whole soul, we pray:

All: Spirit of God, empower us and enter this place.

We turn and face north

Reader 2: We ask the North for a blessing, the Spirit of Integrity:
Give us your strength and the courage to endure, we pray:

All: Spirit of God, empower us and enter this place.

We turn and face east

Reader 3: We ask the East for a blessing, the Spirit of Illumination:
Open our eyes to the sacredness of every living thing, we pray:

All: Spirit of God, empower us and enter this place.

We turn and face south

Reader 4: We ask the South for a blessing, the Spirit of Transformation:
Help us to grow in wisdom and grace and the goodness of the ages, we pray:

All: Spirit of God, empower us and enter this place.

All turn and face the centerpoint and sing:

Song of the Body of Christ

We come to share our story, we come to break the bread
We come to know our rising from the dead.

We come as your people, we come as your own,
United with each other, love finds a home.

We are called to hear the broken, to be hope for the poor
We are called to feed the hungry at our door.

Bread of life and cup of promise, in this meal we all are one,
In our dying and our rising may your kingdom come.

You will lead and we will follow, you will be the breath of life,
Living water, we are thirsting for your light.

We will live and sing your praises, “Alleluia” is your song.
May we live in love and peace our whole life long.

(As One Voice No. 27)

Readings and Reflection:

Reader 1: The Rising Cost of Bread

I went to Emmaus to visit the spot where I heard that Jesus had broken bread with two of his disciples. I expected to find a plaque or monument commemorating this special occasion.

I walked in. There was the most wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread. And I could see why. There were stacks and stacks of bread fresh from the oven. I picked up a loaf and was tempted to start eating it, but realized that I needed to pay for it. Strangely enough, there was no price on it. I thought it must be free.

So I looked for the check-out to make sure. There was none. How odd. As I looked about there was only heaps of bread. Then my eye caught sight of a large wall covered with photographs. I moved in to take a closer look. Sure enough. There were hundreds of pictures and many of them were familiar to me. They were pictures I had often seen on the evening news. There were refugees from Central America. There were run-down housing projects. Sad faces in nursing home. Battered men, women and children. Long lines of unemployed. Thousands of hungry faces. Then I was startled. There were familiar faces of my own family. They looked lonely.

It finally hit me. There was a price on that loaf that I held in my hand. As I walked toward the door, I was caught in a terrible dilemma. Should I take the bread with me or did it cost too much?

(The Rising Cost of Bread - John R Schmitz, Service No.2, April-June 1984)

Pause

Reader 2: Christian faith speaks about the paschal mystery, about Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection as the first fruit of an inclusive harvest, about new unimaginable life breaking out through death itself and as a corrective to death. Although for a time there was no glimmer of hope, God was near at hand, nevertheless, and Jesus was not ultimately abandoned. The victory arrives through the living communion of love, overcoming evil from within... the cross and resurrection scandalize and cannot be reconciled theoretically. Rather, this event deepens the mystery of how God’s solidarity with the suffering world brings about a future even for the most godforsaken. It points to the real mystery of the trinitarian God as an ally against suffering and moves the community to the practice of love that corresponds to the mystery.

(She Who Is - Elizabeth Johnson, pp.268-269)

Pause

Reader 3: The power of the Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, is continuously at work in the world. Through the generous sons and daughters of the Church likewise, the People of God is present in the midst of the poor and of those who suffer oppression and persecution; it lives in its own flesh and its own heart the Passion of Christ and bears witness to his resurrection.

(Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, #74)

Pause

Invitation to reflect and share with each other:

Leader: The death of Jesus is not the last word;
the Resurrection is the ultimate word of God about life and death.

Mary of Magdala finds no dead body. She finds an empty tomb.
The disciples come away from the empty tomb with faith and mystery.

In the midst of awesome human problems and serious injustice, resurrection is possible.
Change is possible; growth is possible. Peace and reconciliation are possible.

More than ever the world needs to experience resurrection.
More than ever we need a spirit that will help and heal the death, violence, and injustice of the world.

An understanding of resurrection that does not address these issues is shallow and not consistent with the spirit of Jesus. Change is possible; growth is possible. Peace and reconciliation are possible.

Where do I find hope THIS Easter?
Is there a particular challenge for me this Easter?
What nourishes my spirit in these times?

Song:

No one has ever seen God,
But as long as we can love one another…
God will live in us;
God will truly live in us!
God is love
And anyone who lives lovingly is already living in God and
In that person God is already breathing.

(Rising Moon - F Anderson)

Acknowledging Our Role:

Leader: Each of us has an important and irreplaceable role to play in the transformation of our world - in bringing about the reign of God in our world. Each of us has distinctive gifts to bring... ones that will allow each of us to do what no one else can do. We are going to stop for a minute and listen to the story of some of those who have gone before us on this journey and then reflect on our own story.

Different people read the stories… short pause between each…
(Ref: Sparks of the Cosmos - M Abbott, p.161ff)

Take time to reflect on our story… (separate sheet - see below)
Invitation to Share…

Invitation - Symbols:

Invite participants to come forward and take one of the following: an egg (use boiled eggs or polystyrene or chocolate ones), sunflowers or other yellow flowers, or a butterfly (picture or ornamental one). Give people time to think about what is it they want to take from this time together:

Is there something that has challenged them? …
Is there one word that they want to remember?…
Take the symbol as a reminder …

Blessing:

Leader:

May the Spirit of Awakening touch us, keep us alert, centred and focused;
May the Spirit of Nourishing feed us, that we in turn may feed one another;
May the Spirit of Transforming recreate us,
that we in turn may give new life to one another,
and to all earth’s creatures, and to earth itself;
May the Spirit of Love continue to fill our hearts
so that by our daily living the world will be a better place;
May we be ever open to the God within,
working for and living in peace all the days of our lives.
Amen.


I am .......................................................................................................................

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My challenge is to ..................................................................................................

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As a result of my efforts ..........................................................................................

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28 April 2003

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