Worship for Easter Sunday 2023, by Rev. Sharon Read

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Come, let us rejoice, because Jesus who was dead is alive again.
Let us rejoice because he lives for evermore!
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

STF 309       See what a morning – Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

See, what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes, 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
The voice that spans the years
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us
Will sound till 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!


We come together on this not so ordinary Sunday.
It’s Easter Sunday, the day you rose from the dead!
We have gone through the fear and darkness
of Good Friday with you – now it is time to rejoice.
But emotions are funny things, Lord.
Sometimes we just can’t put into words how we feel.
Different feelings seem to contradict each other.
The women at the tomb were afraid, yet filled with joy.
How could that be? Life’s like that sometimes.
Thank you that today you have taken away all our fear.
And today we celebrate.

The Lord is risen.
He is risen indeed, hallelujah!

Reading:     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. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


Risen Lord, on this Easter Day,
we bask in the knowledge
of the amazing love you have for us.
Today is special.
We know it in the core of our beings,
in the depths of our souls.
The spirit witnesses within us;
our salvation is assured;
your love conquers all fear.
Mighty risen Lord,
we fall at your feet in wonder.
We worship and adore you for all time.

STF 295       Alleluia, alleluia


Do you like rollercoasters? My niece Ruby is obsessed with them. And I am thankful that my 2 teens have never been interested. Each year, there seems to be another new ‘white knuckle’ ride to enjoy. One of Ruby’s favourites is the Nemesis, where the seats dangle below the track, and the two minutes of twists and loops at high speed made the hour-long queue worth it! I would much rather do something else than go on rides – even stand in queues for ice-cream and donuts and much needed coffee. Rollercoasters thrill and terrify in equal measure. There’s a whole mixture of emotions – anticipation, excitement, trepidation, fear, exhilaration, joy – before the ride is over. The journey we have just shared this Holy Week can be described as something of a rollercoaster of emotions. Our reading today is no different. There is shaking with fear to being so overcome with joy, there are guards unsure of what happened: no doubt experiencing what we could say is a freeze/flight/fight response. The Angel appearing would have surely caused so much confusion as well. Fear, joy, stand, run, cry, laugh, stare, confusion….and so much more.

The two women were visiting the tomb as the day was beginning to dawn and nothing was as expected…..the tomb was empty and they see the Angel sitting on the stone that was the entrance to the tomb. The Angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid….He is not here, He has risen. Go and tell the disciples.’ As they ran away, Jesus met them and said, ‘do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers…..’

Comforting words, ‘Do not be afraid’. They aren’t always the words we want to hear when we are going through a period of darkness like the women and disciples were that morning. The death of Jesus that we recalled on Good Friday places us all in that darkness. The words of Jesus ‘Do not be afraid’ and that meeting of Jesus smashed the darkness away for the women and later for the disciples. Jesus died upon the cross – such a brutal death and the women were heading to the tomb to prepare his body as was customary. They were not prepared for their sadness, grief, loss and darkness to be broken by the words of the Angel and of Jesus turning them to joy that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead as he had said.

Prayer of confession

Among all the emotion and celebration,
we come before you now,
quietly trusting our lives to you.
When we don’t fully understand what is happening,
when we hesitate to act:
lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray.
Bless us with your forgiveness.

When we don’t trust you, O God,
when fear overtakes us.
When we take refuge in the tomb,
and don’t want to come out.
Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray.
Bless us with your forgiveness.

When we don’t take in
the true importance of your resurrection.
When we don’t live as an Easter people,
remembering that we have a faith to proclaim.
Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray.
Bless us with your forgiveness.

Assurance of forgiveness:

He has risen from the dead,
and is going ahead into Galilee.
There we will see him; no cause to be afraid.
Today marks the day when death was vanquished.
If God could do that,
how much more is he able to free us from our sins.
We bless you, Lord God. Amen.

Questions to ponder:

  1. How do you feel about the Easter account?
  2. How do you feel about a God that loves you so much that He sent his Son to die for you; promises the forgiveness of your sin and to share eternal life with him?
  3. How do you feel about a God where death is not the end, but just the beginning?
  4. Like the women, the disciples, are you read to rush and share the joyful news of the resurrection of Jesus?

STF 313       Thine be the glory

Prayer of praise and thanksgiving

Lord God, we thank you for today’s experience
of your amazing resurrection.
We want to take our response into our everyday.
We have to get out there, and live.
In the fear, in the joy,
in the rollercoaster moments,
as well as when the path runs smoothly –
wherever you call us, whatever you ask us to do,
we trust you, Lord.
You are always with us – thanks be to God.

STF 519       Father I place into your hands

Prayers of Intercession

God of grace,
we bring before you those who have no joy and no hope,
those who see no future, no light at the end of the tunnel,
those scarred by pain and sadness, those who grieve.
God of grace and resurrection power,
bring your joy and healing today.

We pray for those yet to hear your good news,
whether that is because they live in far-flung places,
or because they are closed to the message and the possibility
of ‘What if?’
May we be Easter people, willing always to share the good news
of hope, restoration and freedom to all those we meet –
neighbours, friends and strangers alike.
God of grace…

We pray for those recovering from natural disasters
such as earthquakes and hurricanes, famine, flood and poverty,
for all whose darkness is very real.
God of grace…

May all share in the joy of your resurrection.

STF 298       Christ the Lord is risen today

Closing Prayer

Father God,
we have come with the women to your tomb
and we have felt their reactions.
We have shared their dawning realisation that Jesus is alive.
We have experienced their joy at your living presence.
Send us out,
with your love in our hearts, and your praise on our lips
that those we meet might share our joy too.
In the name of Jesus, who lives for evermore.

All prayers used from © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2023. Reproduced with permission.