Sunday 4th April 2021 Easter Day

An act of worship at home

Reading     Mark 16.1-7

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”’


Some years ago when I was the Minister of Maldon United Reformed Church an Anglican colleague and I reintroduced the Easter sunrise service held on The Hythe where beautiful old Thames barges were moored. I always found it a deeply moving service as we gathered in the cold dim light before sunrise and an Easter reading was read and we prayed and sang as the sun rose.

Sometimes the sun would remain hidden behind clouds which slowly lightened in tone, but my most vivid memory is of the year when the sky was clear and as we sang “Christ the Lord is risen today” just as the sun broke the horizon a high-flying plane appeared to fly straight out of the sun and, lit from below glinted in the rising sun like a golden cross which rose higher and higher over our heads. Immediately below and in front of us was moored the only white Thames barge aptly named “Reminder” adding to the symbolism and power of this extraordinary vision.

This has been a strange, difficult, painful year for so many and it will be a year we won’t forget, and nor should we; especially those who died and whom we miss so much.

This is a new day, the new day, the day to celebrate God’s gift to us through Christ of new life.

But the message of Easter is not of the past being forgotten, it is about the past being redeemed.

It isn’t forgetting the pain of Good Friday but remembering and recognising the world changing nature of God’s act of love, the life changing nature of God’s act of love, in bringing a sure and certain hope for the future from the pain and even the death of the past.

As we remember and celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead may we see light dawn, literally – light dawning in our world as the sun rises and the light gets stronger and brighter – light dawning in our lives as we celebrate the resurrection life of Jesus Christ conquering death – and light dawning in our minds as the light dawns on our understanding of the limitless nature of God’s love for us, for me, for you.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.

He is not here – he has been raised! Look, here is the place where they put him. Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: ‘He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Here is our God going ahead of us, through life, death and resurrection. Here is our God reaching into our past to redeem it and reaching into our future to give sure and perfect hope.

God with us, that we may go with him where he will lead. Amen.


Lord Jesus Christ, this is a season of new beginnings — not just your glorious resurrection from the dead, but the resurrection of broken dreams, crushed hopes, shattered faith — and we praise you for it.

Yet it’s hard sometimes to believe such new beginnings can apply to us, that we too can start again. We look at our own situations —the problems which refuse to go away.

Help us to remember that, for your followers, there seemed no reason to hope.

Yet you came to them, risen and victorious, the same Jesus who had suffered and died, and you brought new power, new purpose.

Risen Saviour, raise us to newness of life.

Teach us never to lose sight of that truth. Save us from losing our sense of all that you are able to do, from growing disheartened, disenchanted, disillusioned, resigned to treading the same old ground rather than stepping out into new avenues of faith.

Lord, keep us open to the journey of discovery you hold before us, and give us faith to walk with you, wherever you would lead us, confident of your transforming power in our lives.

Risen Saviour, raise us to newness of life.

Lord Jesus Christ, this is a time of new beginnings, a fresh start, a day in which we celebrate the promise of resurrection for all, your gift of new life from old, and we praise you for it.

Risen Saviour, raise us to newness of life. Hear our prayer, for we offer it in your name. Amen.


Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son

Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won

Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away

Kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay

Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son

Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won

Lo! Jesus meets us risen from the tomb

Lovingly, he greets us scatters fear and gloom

Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing

For her Lord now liveth death hath lost its sting

Thine be the glory…

No more we doubt thee, Glorious Prince of life

Life is naught without thee, aid us in our strife

Make us more than conquerors through thy deathless love

Bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above

Thine be the glory…


May God whose arms were spread on the cross to embrace the whole world help us this Holy Week to follow him: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be with us all, this day and forever more.


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