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Easter Day

A Traditional Church Service for Easter Day

Alleluia! Christ is risen

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Let us pray….

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.

Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit now and for ever


Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;

break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For the Lord has comforted his people,

and will have compassion on his suffering ones.

Isaiah 49.13

Jesus said, ‘This is indeed the will of my Father,

that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life,

and I will raise them up on the last day.’

John 6.40

Hymn - To God Be the Glory

To God be the glory! Great things He has done!

So loved He the world that He gave us His Son;

Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,

And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!

Come to the Father, through Jesus the Son:

Give Him the glory! Great things He has done!

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood!

To every believer the promise of God;

The vilest offender who truly believes,

That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!

Come to the Father, through Jesus the Son:

Give Him the glory! Great things He has done!

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,

And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;

But purer, and higher, and greater will be;

Our wonder, our worship, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!

Come to the Father, through Jesus the Son:

Give Him the glory! Great things He has done!

The Collect

Lord of all life and power,

who through the mighty resurrection of your Son

overcame the old order of sin and death

to make all things new in him:

grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be praise and honour, glory and might,

now and in all eternity.



Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord, we come to you in sorrow for our sins, and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

We have lived by our own strength, and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived by the light of our own eyes, as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived for this world alone, and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

John 20 v1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

A letter sent to the apostle John at Ephesus from Mary of Magdala. Date: Easter 63AD

Dear John,

I was delighted to receive your letter asking for my recollections. I am so pleased you are writing a Gospel; I am sure it will complement the other ones, and I hope that you can explain what happened in a way that throws light on what was really going on. After all, in the 30 years since those amazing events, belief in our Lord has spread all over our world, faster than anyone would have thought possible.

You will remember that I joined Jesus and his group of followers as they travelled south from Galilee to Jerusalem. I used what money I had to pay for food and lodgings; this cost quite a lot with so many people in the party. Why? I had suffered from prolonged mental problems during my early life at Magdala on the Sea of Galilee. My parents tried all sorts of healers, but none was any use - until Jesus came along. He went to the heart of the problem and got rid of the evil spirits. I had my life back! That is why I supported Jesus: he was a healer, and he cared about ordinary people like me.

As the months went past, it became clear that Jesus was determined to head for Jerusalem and the inevitable conflict with the religious and political authorities that awaited him there. You could say he was provoking the crisis: the entry on a donkey, like Zechariah's King of Israel, the disturbance in the Temple, recalling Jeremiah; the arguments with the religious leaders. I was not there when he was arrested: only the disciples, and they soon ran away.

At least you and Peter were there in High Priest's courtyard: we women had to stay out of sight. We could only speculate about what was happening to Jesus. We knew it would end badly for him, and for us. What would we have to live for if he was killed? I don't remember what I did that night. The following day he was taken out and crucified. At least you were there, and you supported his mother.

I watched the final agony, standing on the edge of the crowd. Then I watched while they took him down and buried him in Joseph's tomb. Another night of wretched misery followed, then the Sabbath with its compulsory rest. And then the day of all days that I want to describe to you. I know you were there too, but here is my recollection of what happened.

I got up before dawn: I couldn't sleep, and I didn't particularly want to be observed. When I got to the tomb, I was astonished to see the stone had been rolled away. I couldn't think how or why that had been done. As you remember, I ran round to the place where you and Peter were lodging, and woke you both with the news. You both quickly went to see for yourselves. Others have said they saw an angel, but actually the two of you went back to your lodgings, and it was I who bent down and looked into the tomb: it was I who saw the angels at either end of where the body had been. They asked why I was crying. I thought it should be obvious to them, but I said, "They have taken my Lord away, and I don't know where they have laid him!"

Now something unexpected happened. You know how sometimes you get the feeling that there is someone behind you, looking at you? I had that feeling and I stepped back out of the tomb and turned round. I saw a man standing there; I assumed he was the gardener. I asked for his help in finding the body, and then turned back towards the tomb. The it happened: he spoke my name. "Mary!". A second time I turned round, this time as if I had had a powerful shock. At once I knew! It was Jesus. "My Teacher!" I cried, and I fell at his feet. I was overcome, but he sent me back to you and the other disciples; I went with the news, "I have seen the Lord!!"

I know you will record these facts faithfully, John. You were the particularly close friend of Jesus, and Peter was the one whom Jesus picked to be leader of his Church - for all his faults. I do not want to boast, but I was the first person to whom the risen Lord appeared. Women were as important as men to him - or rather, it made no difference to him whether someone was male or female, Jew or Greek, or even slave or free (I got this from a letter our brother Paul wrote to the people of Galatia a few years ago). After all, he entrusted his mother and you to each other while he was in agony on the cross.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Mary Magdalene

Note: It is very likely that John went to Ephesus in Turkey, and wrote his Gospel there. There is also a tradition that Mary the mother of Jesus went there with him. It is likely that he wrote about 65 AD, but although this was about 30 years after the Crucifixion, he makes it clear that he was a close friend of Jesus and an eye witness of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the events of Easter Day and the final story, ch 21.

John explains what the point of his Gospel was:

"Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20.31).

John was well aware that miraculous events do not necessarily lead to belief. His whole Gospel shows how Jesus' miracles were signs which pointed to the truth of who he was. The miracle at Cana caused the disciples to believe; the events at the well caused many Samaritans to believe; the official whose son Jesus cured believed with all his household; the man born blind believed and worshipped him. On the other hand, his wonderful deeds provoked fear and hostility in others.

Where do we stand? Do we join with the religious leaders in accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath regulations? or of blasphemy, because he claimed to be the Son of God? Or do we accept the significance of what he did and said as pointing to an astounding conclusion: that he was fully entitled to heal on the Sabbath as he was Lord of the Sabbath, and fully justified in claiming equality with the Father.

(Thank you to James Bradby from St Michael's Monkton Combe for writing this)

Hymn - Crown Him with many crowns

Crown Him with many crowns,

The Lamb upon His throne;

Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns

All music but its own!

Awake, my soul, and sing

Of Him who died for thee,

And hail Him as thy matchless King

Through all eternity

Crown Him the Lord of Love:

Behold His hands and side;

Rich wounds yet visible above

In beauty glorified:

No angel in the sky

Can fully bear that sight,

But downward bends his burning eye

At mysteries so bright

Crown Him the Lord of peace,

Whose power a scepter sways

From pole to pole, that wars may cease,

And all be prayer and praise.

His reign shall know no end,

And round His pierced feet

Fair flowers of glory now extend

Their fragrance ever sweet

Crown Him the Lord of years,

The Potentate of time

Creator of the rolling spheres,

Ineffably sublime.

All hail, Redeemer, hail!

For Thou hast died for me;

Thy praise shall never, never fail

Throughout eternity.


Let us pray,

God, through the mighty resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ you have liberated us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your love; grant that as he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we may walk in newness of life, and look for those things which are in heaven, where you are, Father, and the Holy Spirit, his is alive and reigns for ever and ever


Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.

Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.

Hear my prayers for others and for myself, and keep me in your care.


Jesus, our Lord, we praise you that nothing could keep in dead in the grave

You are stronger than death and the devil.

Help us to remember that there is nothing to be afraid of, because you are alive and by our side.


Let us pray to God,

who alone makes us dwell in safety:

For all who are affected by coronavirus,

through illness or isolation or anxiety,

that they may find relief and recovery:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies, that they may make wise decisions:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,

that through their skill and insights

many will be restored to health:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful,

for the gravely ill and the dying,

that they may know your comfort and peace:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.


A prayer by Tom Wright, New Testament scholar and former Bishop of Durham

Gracious Father, on the cross your son prayed, "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?" I want to pray for all the people around the world who find themselves feeling abandoned by you, by their fellow human beings, by family who can't see them.

Father, in the name of your son Jesus and in the power of his Spirit, will you come and be with them, be with your suffering world at this time. Give us fresh resources of courage, faith and hope.

Give our leaders worldwide the scientific wisdom, the faith that they need to say the right things to encourage people.

We pray specially for the doctors and nurses and all the medical professionals and researchers looking for vaccines.

We pray that ways forward may be found that unnecessary deaths may be stopped, and the proper care given to those who are now dying.

We pray for all those who are seriously ill right now, finding breathing difficult. Gracious Lord, be near them, be with them, bring good out of this trouble.

And Father, as you have promised that one day the earth shall be full of the knowledge and glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Give us even in the present time, a foretaste, a glimpse of that, and help us to live by that glimpse, to live in hope and to become, in our time, people of hope to your wounded and waiting world.

We pray this in Jesus name and for his sake. Amen.

Our Father in Heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin

against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, the glory are yours, now and for ever.


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!

A blessing from 2 Thessalonians 3

May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you and peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you (us) all.


Traditional Church Services on Television and Radio

There is a weekly service on Radio 4 (FM) every Sunday at 8.10am

There is a daily service on Radio 4 (LM) every morning at 9.45am.

Bells on a Sunday (the sound of church bells ringing on Sunday from around the country)

5.43am Radio 4 (FM)

BBC One broadcasts Songs of Praise every Sunday at 1.15pm.

Premier Christian Radio broadcasts Bible studies at intervals throughout the day. You need a digital radio (DAB) for listen to Premier Christian Radio – let Polly know if you would like to borrow one.

At noon and at 2.30pm they have “worship hours” which include worship songs, prayer and Bible readings.

You can also access Premier Christian Radio via your TV if you have Freeview on channel 725

For Holy Week

Good Friday Meditation

BBC Radio 4 - Friday 10 April, 3-3.30pm

At The Foot of The Cross

BBC Radio 2 - Friday 10 April, 8-10pm

An assortment of spiritual and traditional music

Easter Sunday Worship

BBC Radio 4 - Sunday 12 April, 8.10-9am

In a spiritual gathering across the nation, Radio 4 broadcasts a specially compiled service to celebrate the joyful story of Easter resurrection with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

BBC1 at 11.25 am - Sunday 12th April - an Easter service from Bangor Cathedral

Words and Music

BBC Radio 3 - 5.30-6.45pm

An Easter Sunday special celebration of music, prose and poetry


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