Worship for Easter Sunday 2021, by Rev. Joy Rulton

Call to worship:

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Hymn: Jesus Christ is risen today

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia,
our triumphant holy day; alleluia,
who did once upon the cross; alleluia,
suffer to redeem our loss; alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing; Alleluia,
unto Christ our heavenly king; alleluia,
who endured the cross and grave; alleluia,
sinners to redeem and save: alleluia!

But the pains which he endured; Alleluia,
our salvation have procured; alleluia,
now above the sky he’s King; alleluia,
where the angels ever sing: alleluia!


Easter Jesus, risen and alive,
we praise you for your power over death
and for your patience at our hesitancy to believe.
We praise you for your words to Mary and for your words to us.
We praise you for knowing our need of assurance
and for trusting us to share your gospel with others.
We praise you,
for you know the reality of suffering
yet bring us a living hope at Easter, and always.

Forgive us, Lord, when we are afraid to witness
to your risen presence in our world today.
Where we are reluctant, make us resolute;
and where we are daunted, make us daring,
that we would leave behind the tomb
of comfort and complacency
and follow you on an Easter adventure.

Reading:         John 20:1-18

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 toward 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. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 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. 13 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.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 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.’” 18 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.


Jesus is alive! Death could not hold him!

A few years ago Bryan and I climbed a hill, (appropriately perhaps, called Bunny Hill), to join a sunrise service. The sunrise was spectacularly beautiful. And we gazed at it, two plane trails in the sky formed a cross. Then half of it disappeared to form a V – for those of us watching, a sign of victory over death.

The resurrection of Jesus is not just about finding a tomb empty one morning, it affirms that love will always be victorious, that love is powerful and transforms our lives and even the whole of creation. The way of self-offering expressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus is a way of life, life in which we can share. It’s easy to accuse the first followers of Jesus of being a bit slow on the uptake, but so often we are like them, caught in our limited expectation of what God can do. We can celebrate Easter knowing that God has done, is doing and will do so much more than we will ever be able to comprehend. When we encounter Jesus it means new life, changed life, transformed life.

Knowing Jesus, his ministry, his death and resurrection, changed the disciple’s lives for ever. The news of resurrection moved them from being people shattered by grief to people who found a new song to sing. We are an Easter people, people of the resurrection, who sing God’s praise in our hearts and with our lives.

Jesus said to Mary “Go and tell them.” Mary ran to tell the disciples. The disciples moved on to begin the Christian church. Like them, we are called to share the good news of God in Jesus Christ. Mary wanted to stay, to hold onto Jesus, not to be separated from him again and yet she had the courage to go forward.

We’re called to anticipate and celebrate the life to come in how we live now, as people with hope for the future. We can make a difference to the world around us, sometimes more than we realise. We all trouped from Bunny Hill down to the local McDonalds for breakfast. At 6.30 in the morning there were people who wanted to know where we had been and why.

There’s a story about a man named Nikolai Bukharin who was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address an enormous anti-God rally. For an hour he abused and ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if it was in ruins. Questions were invited when he had finished. A priest from the Orthodox church stood up and asked to speak. He turned, faced the people and gave them the Easter greeting, “Christ is risen.” Instantly the whole crowd rose to its feet and the reply came back like a crash of breakers against a cliff: “He is risen indeed. Alleluia”

Hymn:  See what a morning

See, what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the graveclothes, tomb filled with light
As the angels announce, “Christ is risen!”

See God’s salvation plan
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow, she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!

This voice that spans the years
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us
Will sound ’til He appears
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honour and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with power and authority!

And we are raised with Him
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

C: 2003 ThankYou Music

Prayer of intercession

Let us pray:
for those who know it is Easter, but do not join in the celebration;
for those who walk in the sunshine, but cannot feel the warmth;
for those who see the flowers, but fail to appreciate their beauty.
We pray for all those in need of joy this day.

We pray:
for those who see the joy in others, but look away;
for those who mourn what might have been;
for those who spoil the good things in life.
We pray for all those in need of love this day.

We pray:
for those who long to step out into the daylight;
for those who want to dance in the rain;
for those who want release from their captivity.
We pray for all those in need of hope this day.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father …


Hymn:   All ye who seek the Lord who died

All you that seek the Lord who died,

your God, for sinners crucified,

now, now let all your grief be o’er!

Believe, and you shall weep no more.

The Lord of life is risen indeed,

to death delivered in your stead;

his rise proclaims your sins forgiven,

and shows the living way to heaven.

Haste then, you souls that first believe,

who dare the gospel word receive,

your faith with joyful hearts confess,

be bold, be Jesus’ witnesses.

Go, tell the followers of your Lord

their Jesus is to life restored;

he lives to quicken humankind;

he lives that all his life may find.                                                                   

Charles Wesley

Spiritual Communion:

Glory to you, O God:

you raised Jesus from the grave,

bringing us victory over death

and giving us eternal life.

Glory to you, O Christ:

for us and for our salvation

you overcame death

and opened the gate to everlasting life.

Glory to you, O Holy Spirit:

you lead us into the truth

and breathe new life into us.


The risen Christ came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Then they were glad when they saw the Lord.

Alleluia! The peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you. Alleluia!


Spend a few moments giving thanks for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection before praying:

Jesus, who brought divine life out of human death, you are meeting me here and now in this place, in this moment.

I pause to remember that the one thing I desire above all others is for you to be with me.

Though I cannot receive you in bread and wine today, come into my heart and show me you were already there within me, by your love lighting my darkness from within.

Open my eyes to your sacred presence in each thing you have created and in every moment you give.

As each of your followers does their part where they are, may be all grow together in love and in richer, fuller communion.

Make us one with you and with all who love you in every time and place.

Help us to feel and to know that we are united as members of your body.

With all your people, may I share your risen life, which renews all creation.

I offer myself to you in service, as an act of spiritual worship.


Hold a moment of silence


God of salvation,

thank you for uniting me with the risen Christ and with all who love him on earth and in heaven. Strengthened by his grace,

may we each serve you faithfully all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Hymn:    Thine be the glory

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
Risen conquering Son
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won

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
Risen conquering Son
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won



God the Father,

by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,

strengthen us to walk with him in his risen life;

and may almighty God bless us,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.



Go in joy and peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Alleluia!


Prayers adapted from Rootsontheweb

CCL no: 57681