Readings, Hymns, Prayers & Reflection
Service of Light
A candle may be lit
This is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life. Throughout the world Christians celebrate the power of God. As we hear his word and proclaim all that God has done, we are confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him for ever.
May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.
The Exsultet (the Easter Song of Praise) may be said or sung.
Listen to Dorothy singing it, below:
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
O Universe, dance around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the victorious trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in glory, revealing the splendour of your creation,
radiant in the brightness of your triumphant King!
Christ has conquered! Now his life and glory fill you!
Darkness vanishes for ever.
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour, our Lord of life, shines upon you!
Let all God’s people sing and shout for joy.
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
A joyful fanfare may be played, bells rung, cymbals clashed, noise made
Prayers of Penitence
Prayers of Penitence might be said from an Easter Garden
Like Mary at the empty tomb,
we fail to grasp the wonder of your presence.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Like the disciples behind locked doors,
we are afraid to be seen as your followers.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Like Thomas in the upper room,
we are slow to believe.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Prayer over a vessel of water
God our Father,
your gift of water brings life and freshness to the earth;
in baptism it is a sign of the washing away of our sins
and the gift of life eternal.
Sanctify this water, we pray.
Renew the living spring of your life within us,
that we may be free from sin
and filled with your saving health;
through Christ our Lord.
People are sprinkled with water
we thank you for our fellowship in the household of faith
with all who have been baptized in your name.
Keep us faithful to our baptism,
and so make us ready for that day
when the whole creation shall be made perfect in your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ the Lord.
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.
The Day of Resurrection
The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness,
the passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over,
with hymns of victory.
Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear, so calm and plain,
his own “All hail!” and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.
Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.
At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
Thus says the Lord:
The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall take your tambourines,
and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
GOSPEL: John 20. 1-18
(Gospel reading from Julia; click above, or listen to the reading here)
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Love’s redeeming work is done
Love’s redeeming work is done;
fought the fight, the battle won:
lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er,
lo, he sets in blood no more.
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
Lives again our glorious King;
where, O death, is now thy sting?
dying once, he all doth save;
where thy victory, O grave?
Soar we now where Christ has led,
following our exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise;
ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrection Thou!
The four gospels that record the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth each have a different account of the story of the empty tomb. Notice how the light changes as the narrative is passed on from one voice to the next – toward the dawn on the first day of the week (Matthew), very early on the first day of the week when the sun had risen (Mark), on the first day of the week, at early dawn (Luke), early on the first day of the week while it was still dark (John).
The account of the resurrection found in John’s gospel has none of the jubilation of traditional Easter hymns, no earthquakes and mighty tremblings. It is the stillest of the resurrection stories. At this Eastertide, like it did for the first disciples, joy mingles with grief and dread. It is through lament, through grief, through suffering, through fear of death and death itself that the resurrection takes place.
Mary of Magdala, an outcast woman who followed Jesus, was the first person to encounter Jesus after his death in the Gospel According to John. Mary Magdalene walks into the garden, where the body of Jesus had been laid, full of grief and pain and sadness and loneliness – and into the dawning brightness of the first Easter. Terrified to discover an empty tomb, she imagines the body has been stolen. In her grief and fear, she sees a man she assumes to be a gardener. It is not until she hears him say her name, ‘Mary’, that she recognises the risen Lord.
If we stand at the foot of the cross with Mary, we see that Mary endures the darkness and the desolation. She remains faithful to the end. Powerless to help, she nevertheless stays. She watches what is unbearable to watch. But because she endures the darkness at the foot of the cross, because she endures the darkness on the way to the tomb and because she endures the darkness of the empty tomb, Mary is there to witness the resurrection.
Jesus entered into the darkness. He went to the furthest depths where the most desolate of the world lie helpless. He felt the collective darkness of all the peoples and places ravaged by wars, famines, disasters, the darkness that thickens as more and more succumb to its power. Jesus went to the depths of the darkness because only then could he bring with him all that was there into the dawn of the new creation. He died the death of the most abandoned so that the most abandoned might share in the resurrection.
But Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross does not know this. Mary endures the darkness because there is nowhere else for her to go. Mary stays in the darkness, waiting, not knowing that there is anything to wait for. Mary’s love and faithfulness are all that keep her there. Because of her love and faithfulness, she has nowhere else to go.
And so it is for us. If we abandon our bafflement, our need for explanations, if we allow the darkness that is in our own lives and the darkness in the world to surround us, if we wait, in love and faithfulness, not knowing for what it is that we wait, then we, like Mary, will hear the voice of the risen Lord calling us by name.
from Paul Snow
Let us pray, giving thanks for all our blessings and rejoicing that Jesus, our Lord, has risen from the dead.
Let us pray, with thanks in our hearts, for Julia and all who minister to us and pray for us.
Let us pray for the nations of the world and their leaders that they may work together to resolve the Covid19 outbreak. We pray also that they may heed the words of the UN Secretary General who has called for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Let us pray for all who support our community and the many volunteers showing compassion, giving support to vulnerable persons in our neighbourhood.
Let us pray for all who care for the sick and for those who continue to work to keep our lives as normal and safe as possible.
Let us remember the troubled or sick in body or mind whether due to the pandemic or other causes.
Let us pray for those who grieve, especially those who could not be with friends or relatives.
Let us remember those who have died, especially those who have died alone or in tragic circumstances.
Let us, in these strange and troubled times, draw strength from God and remember the words of today’s epistle, ‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things’.
This joyful Eastertide
This joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
has sprung to life this morrow:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
not burst His three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain;
but now has Christ arisen,
but now has Christ arisen!
Death’s flood has lost its chill
since Jesus crossed the river;
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver: [Refrain]
My flesh in hope shall rest
and for a season slumber
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number: [Refrain]
who out of defeat brings new hope and a new future,
fill us with his new life;
and the blessing…
Do remember they can’t cancel the spring © David Hockney