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As the morning of the first easter began the stone was rolled away, and hope was born again. With gratitude and love we share with you the Sunrise Song, by our own Kerrie Lutz. May you enjoy this song of praise today!
Woodcliff "Worship at Home" 

He Has Risen!
Let the Joy of Easter fill your homes and hearts with happiness and hope!
He has Risen indeed!

Please grab a cup of coffee, tea, water, juice - heck an easter egg or two and enjoy this service by watching the worship video link and/or reading through the printed service included below. If you joined us for Facebook Live this morning, thank you! The worship video is the same but there is some extra content here we hope you enjoy! 

Peace and love,


Woodcliff staff team!
Woodcliff United Church Easter Worship

We are all treaty people. We come to this gathering acknowledging that we are on Treaty 7 traditional territory - the land of the Blackfoot, Tsu Ti’ina and Nakoda peoples and the Northwest Metis homeland.  

Wherever you are, whomever you love and whether you come dressed in your Easter dresses and best suits of watch from the comfort of your warm bed still in pyjamas - You are welcome here!

Opening Prayer

Great and glorious God,
you have rolled away the stone and raised Christ to life,
      and now you invite us to share in the Good News.
Give us the courage to welcome the winds of change in our lives
      as it sweeps the sidewalks
      and brings hope to hungry families, released prisoners,
      sick and sad people of all ages.
In this season of Easter,
      run with us in the joy of new life
      that transforms the way we see the world and one another.
For Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

—from Worship in the City: Prayers and Songs for Urban Settings
by Nancy Elizabeth Hardy (UCPH, 2015)

With a flameless candle or, if you are able to do so safely in your home, light a candle as you read through the service or whenever you take the time to be present in worship in your home.
 
We come to our place of worship alone,
seeking Jesus in the familiar story of our faith.
 
We rejoice and thank you for the life of your son, 
resurrected by the power of your loving vibrant Spirit.

 Let this flame we light surround us with your Spirit and fill all the places of our lives, 
that we may know and feel and remember the truth of resurrection for the rest of our lives!
The night has passed and the day lies open before us
as we rejoice in the gift of this new day
so may the light of your presence,O God
set our hearts on fire with love for you
now and forever. 

Thank you Sandy for these words
HYMN - I WAS THERE
May the Peace of Christ be with you, 

In this time of not meeting face to face you are encouraged to pass the peace of Christ in a new way. We encourage you to reach out to others by picking up the phone or by sending a quick text or email. 

Finding new ways of showing our love for each other makes us remember we are not alone. 

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. 
There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 
Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

From our scripture this morning the strangely beautiful but shocking imagery was read - His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 

This year, for the first time in my life, I am discovering that Easter is not about just chocolate or about fancy dresses and elaborate meals. Easter isn't even about packed churches or homes bustling with grandparents. In a way it feels shocking yet strangely beautiful. 

The Easter that we had planned is not the Easter we will have. This Easter we remember the solitude of the the tomb, the earthquake like surprise that things were different than expected. The stillness of the empty cave where peace was found. The praise for new life in the words and feelings that if you close your eyes you can actually feel what Mary must have felt. Unbelievable love turned into believable everlasting hope for a world made new each time this story is recounted. 

The ending I spoke of last week is our beginning this week. Easter this year brings deep meaning to the words above that I can feel and hear in my heart in different ways than I expected, different ways than I remember from years gone by - celebrations in groups, chocolate abound and fancy dresses. Instead - solitude, surprise, hope, light and praise for new life - this time in an a vulnerable and intimate way. It is quiet, but purpose filled. I hope as you gather in worship alone or with your wee family you can hear and feel the Easter story told for you again but in a new way. This Easter is like all of the ones before and unlike all of the ones before. This Easter it feels especially true - it is about life over death, it is about answered prayers and it's about hope for a new tomorrow. May the rising of the sun and the soft sound of birds singing remind you of the tender but powerful love God has for us all these years after the first Easter. There will be Easter, this story the is the foundation of our faith - for all of the world, a new beginning filled with hope. 

May the hope of the day fill your heart with song, 

Sheri
In this time of uncertainty our mission to help others does not cease. 

If you are on PAR, thank you for your continued givings to the life and mission of the church. If you would like to send an offering to the church through our website you are welcome to do so through the link below. Mailed envelope givings is also an option for you to consider as your way to continue to support the life and work of the church. 

At this time, we would like to thank you for supporting our Lenten focus - the Drop In Centre. Please hang on to your donations until we can meet again or forward them directly to the DI if you wish. Thank you again to Outreach for supporting this Lenten project with a $500 donation to the DI on behalf of our congregation. 

Your offerings are greatly appreciated in all times. 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

 
DONATE TO WUC ONLINE
I will miss seeing you this Easter - I really love the annual gathering of so many of our children - looking for treats and retelling a story comfortable and yet surprising. I hope you wear your most amazing Easter best clothes. I hope you jump up and shout Hosanna. I hope you see signs of spring and love and joy in your day. Will you send me a picture of your family celebrating Easter?

Easter hugs and love to you - I cannot wait to see you again!

Love, 

Sheri

Questions for family discussion for after listening to the Easter service together

Who were the first disciples to visit the tomb? 
When did they go to visit the tomb?
What happened as the women approached the tomb? 
What did the women see when they got to the tomb? 
What did the angel say to the women? 
What did the women do when they heard this Good News?

Activity

It’s hard to avoid Easter eggs and the like at Easter time. But for this activity - no need. The beloved easter egg has purposeful representation here and I think that this image you will create helps explain the connection between current day easter celebrations and the true meaning of Easter.

What you will need:

  • 2 Paper Plates (if you cont have two circle of paper will work!)
  • Black Paper (you can colour these too)
  • Yellow Paper
  • 2 craft pins or even a paper clip 
  • Paper and pencils to decorate an easter egg
  • Scissors
  • Glue

What to do:

Cut out the light like a sun from the Yellow Paper and glue it to the first plate. Cut out the cross from the Black Paper and glue it over the light.

Draw and decorate an Easter egg and glue it on the front plate. Cut the plate down the middle. Attach with pins to the first plate so that it slides open.

Spread some Joy

This week: bang you pots and pans at 7:00 pm for all to hear as a thank you to all of the helpers in our world: the doctors, nurses, caregivers, heck even all the parents and awesome kids! Let the world know you are happy to be in it and grateful for all the goodness!
 

Last week, we talked about fear and Harry Potter jellybeans. How many of you saw the last Avengers movie? I won't spoil anything in case you didn't. We used this example previously talking about Hope, but it's a good one! Tony Stark, in the beginning of the movie, comes back to headquarters, seemingly defeated and feeling anything but hopeful. Later, while working on an equation to help save the world, what does he find? The answer to their problem (potentially), and something else....hope.

Wishing and hoping are often used interchangeably; if you're hoping for something, you're probably wishing for something, too. I hope I win the lottery is just as easily "I wish I would win the lottery", right?

The Bible talks about hope, but it isn't just wishful thinking. Hope in the Bible isn't a wish, it's a guarantee and a promise of better times ahead. 

Our world is a fearful place right now, and we talked about fear last week. In our house, we've decided to refrain from watching the news--at least for now. This is a time that might feel hopeless; you might feel overwhelmed with powerful negative emotions some days. The Bible tells us something different, though. The Bible gives us a story of hope.

Grab your Bible and find the following verses: Psalm 25:5, Romans 5:5, and Psalm 62:5. What does this all tell us? Take a few moments to reflect on these verses and write down some brief thoughts before you continue reading.

It tells us that God is with us and that he brings us hope that we can actually count on. Jesus came to Earth to bring hope to our world; God saw that things weren't good and that the world was in pure chaos. He remedied that by sending Jesus, who was crucified and risen, to bring us peace in the chaos, to bring us power to overcome struggles, to bring purpose to our lives, and to enable you to touch the lives of other people. 

Jesus brings us so much hope. That empty tomb, the tomb that was left vacant after 3 days, will be empty forever, because Jesus was sent as a promise of hope and a promise of life and love. 

In your journals or on a piece of paper, I want you to reflect on these questions:

  • Are there situations in the world or in life that you think are hopeless?
  • Have you ever felt "empty"? What brought you hope?
  • Is there anything that is hard about placing hope in Jesus?
  • Think about Easter. Is the word empty a bad thing when we look at the meaning of Easter?

Have a Hoppy Easter!

-Nicole

Easter Prayer

God, we confess to you 
that while we know well the story of your victory over the grave, 
it is not a story we always live. 
We are dragged down by all manner of death – 
Fear may suffocate us: the loss of dreams and hopes 
for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation. 
Sorrow may wall us off like a grave, 
isolating us with anger, frustration, and grief. 

Breath of Silence

Yet the stories of our faith are inscribed 
not with the marks of death, 
but with the word, “Alleluia!” 
So on this Easter morning, 
we pray that you will fill us with “fear and great joy” 
so that, like those women who came to the tomb expecting death, 
we may instead find the radiant new life 
that is ever before us in your Resurrection! 

Amen.

GO NOW IN PEACE

May we find rest in our avoidance. May we find peace among worry and hope in the coming spring. May the comfort that knowing this Easter story we enter is for us a bring light into our weeks and our world! 

An Easter message form the moderator of the United Church Of Canada
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Our mailing address is:
5010 Spruce Drive SW T3C 3B2
403-249-3121

office@woodcliffunited.com

Find more information about the wider Church at:
Chinook Winds Region: https://albertanorthwestconference.ca/
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Woodcliff United Church · 5010 Spruce Dr. S.W. · Calgary, Ab T3C 3B2 · Canada

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