Sunday Service 12 APRIL 2020

Easter Day

 Thatched Cross 

The term ‘Spiritual Communion’ has been used historically to describe the means of grace by which a person, prevented for some serious reason from sharing in a celebration of the Eucharist, nonetheless shares in the communion of Jesus Christ. The form of prayer, below, offers Christians an opportunity to give thanks for their communion with him, particularly at times when they would ordinarily be present at the Eucharist. 

The Church of which we are members is not defined by the walls of a building but by the Body of Christ of which we are members. In making our communion spiritually, we are joining with Christians everywhere to be nourished by the one who tells us, ‘I am the Bread of Life’.

The readings, intercessions and sermon may be read (using your own Bible for the readings) or listened to, whichever you prefer


Easter Day is the Sunday of Sundays, the first day of the new creation, which extends into a whole season of joyful reflection on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The miracle of the resurrection lies not only in the triumph of Jesus over death, but also in the inner experience of the Christian who is dead to sin and has risen with Christ in Baptism. This victory is a trailer of the final victory and redemption at the end of the age.

The Easter or Paschal Candle is lit today and burns at every service throughout Eastertide. It symbolises the light of Christ overcoming death and sin – a light which can never be extinguished. The candle is also used throughout the year at baptism services (and sometimes funeral services) to remind us of our vocation as Christians to be children of the light, and bearers of it in the world around us.

This Easter Day service is intended to be a real experience of new life for the worshipper – a passing from darkness to light which offers hope to all the faithful. The service begins in relative darkness, as a reminder of the fact that Jesus died on Good Friday. The Paschal Candle is then lit, symbolising the presence of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and also the Light of the World. The Easter Gospel is proclaimed with all the joy and splendour that the Church can find. We renew our baptismal vows, as we call to mind that Christian baptism is a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, a dying to sin in order to be reborn in him. Finally, we join together in a celebration of the Eucharist, calling to mind the fact that Jesus broke bread and shared a cup of wine with his followers at the Last Supper before he died. He asked us to take and consume the bread and wine, symbolising his body and his blood – his life given for us, that we might one day enjoy eternal life with him.

Traditionally, the service starts in darkness with the lighting of the Paschal candle. In your own home, whatever time you celebrate Easter, you may like to light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ coming anew into your life: 

This is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ 

passed from death to life. 

Throughout the world Christians celebrate 

the awesome power of God. 

As we hear his word and proclaim all that God has 

done, we can be confident that we shall share his 

victory over death and live with him for ever.

       May the light of Christ, risen in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.                    The light of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Click on the arrow below to hear the hymn: "Jesus Lives! Thy Terrors Now...".
Ignore any adverts that pop up.

Reflect on the day and on your relationships.

- What good things have come from God today?
- Where have I fallen short?

- What might I do tomorrow?

You may wish to say or pray

     Lord, have mercy.
     Christ, have mercy.
     Lord, have mercy.

Let us pray that we may reign with the risen Christ in glory

Collect for Easter Day 

   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. Amen.

Click here to hear the collect read by the Rev'd Annita Denny 

The first lesson for Easter Day is from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 10, verses 34-43
Peter gives a summary of the story of salvation brought by Jesus, but the crucial point here is the universal scope of the work; it is for gentiles as well as for Jews. A major step in the Church's life and the spread of the good news.

Click here to hear the first lesson read by David Wade

The second lesson is from St Paul's letter to the Colossians chapter 3, verses 1-4
To become a Christian is to enter a whole new sphere of life, with Christ as its principle, indeed its true setting. This is the real fruit of Easter.

Click here to hear the second lesson read by Pauline Wade

Click on the arrow below to hear the hymn: "This Joyful Eastertide". 
Ignore any adverts that pop up.

The Gospel according to John, Chapter 20, verses 1-18

Click here to hear the Gospel read by the Ven. Trevor Jones 
Two stories of Easter Day, telling first of the abandoned tomb and then of Jesus' meeting with Mary Magdalene. A new world is born, and the old is put behind. And love and recognition are the marks of the new.

The Sermon is given by the Ven. Trevor Jones:

We are all confined.  We are in a time of enforced isolation for the benefit of others, their health and well being; for the sake of our National Health Workers, carers, emergency service workers and key workers responding to and providing for our essential needs. So, I don’t know about you, but this period of home confinement, apart for the once a day walk and essential shopping trips, is a time for doing the things we often keep putting off, like having a sort out. Now as I sorted through some drawers, I discovered a postcard from the Church of St Margaret, Bodel Wyddan in North Wales.  And this is what it says on the card:

     ‘Every time I pass a Church
     I pay a little visit.
     So when at last I’m carried in
     The Lord won’t say:
     'Who is it?’ ‘

In our gospel reading from John, Mary, in the company of Peter and John, the Beloved Disciple, comes to the tomb. It is still dark.  And they come by cover of darkness, possibly because they fear for their lives. Their crucified Lord and Master, Jesus, had been accused of subverting the nation; of attempting to overthrow the ruling powers.  And, for this, he had been put to death, the death of a common criminal, by crucifixion.  So those who were his followers, were, if you like, ’tarred with the same brush’, they too were suspect subversives.  So, they come to the tomb ‘while it is still dark’. 

Darkness can often be a bit ‘spooky’, darkness can distort reality, cast shadows and run riot with the imagination. Mary, Peter and John come to complete the burial preparations.  Jesus, by all accounts had a hurried burial because his death was close to the sabbath, the holy period when work was forbidden.  So now, as the sabbath passes with the dawn displacing the darkness of the night, Mary, Peter and John, come to the tomb.  Mary appears to stand back as Peter and then John enter the tomb only to find it empty, with the grave clothes of death cast aside. Somewhat downcast and bewildered, Peter and John return to the company of disciples in hiding, again for fear of their lives.  But Mary remains; she  also finds the tomb is empty. The only person she could enquire from is a man whom she assumes is the gardener.  But Mary’s perception is about to change radically, as the supposed gardener addresses her by name, ‘Mary’.  And in that moment of intense intimacy, Jesus calls her by her own familiar name, and in so doing reveals a new relationship; ‘do not cling on to me’; don’t hold to the past, look to the future.  For this is resurrection, a new beginning. And Mary, having come in the darkness; the darkness of fear, the darkness of unknowing;  as the night gives way to the dawning of a new day; as the shadows begin to disappear and fears dissipate,  Mary leaves the garden and the empty tomb, bathed in the sunlight of a new dawn, a new day, a new hope. And all this Mary takes joyfully to the fearful disciples. ‘I have seen the Lord’.

The person on my postcard, always calls into a Church to pay a little visit so that, at his end, the Lord wouldn’t suddenly say, ‘Who is it?’  As Jesus knows Mary by name; as Jesus calls Mary by her name, so too, he knows us by name. And it is with our name that we are called to live the life of resurrection; the promise of hope now and the promise of a new creation beyond the grave. We are known for who we are. And we are called to be people who live, not with optimism, but rather people who live in hope.  

And we do so in these difficult and stressful days when the cruel disease, Coronavirus, is taking lives throughout the world, and significantly in our own country, restricting all of us, damaging economies and stretching relationships. In these days the church has been called on to live out the resurrection hope of not only life beyond the grave, but in bringing peace and light and hope to people living in the darkness of fear and dread. We are discovering afresh what it means to live resurrection. In these days our buildings are closed, yet the Church is open: open in our praise of God; open in our prayer for others; open in sharing in service to others, and with others, in our communities.  To do this, against the odds as some may say, is to live the resurrection hope.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus. God’s love is revealed afresh in Jesus, and we are called to live that love in the joy and peace; in the confidence and hope of his resurrection. Amen. 

Click here to hear the sermon read by the Ven. Trevor Jones

The intercessions are by Carolyn Croft: 

We pray to Jesus who is present with us to eternity
Jesus, light of the world, bring the light and peace of your gospel to the nations.
Guide our leaders across the world.  Ensure justice, truth and peace prevails in our uncertain times. Help us all to work together and not against each other. 
Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, bread of life, give food to the hungry.
While we sit in our homes we pray for those who have    no homes.  For those who are hungry, scared and needing help. Inspire us to give generously to the foodbanks and the other charities working hard to help those in need.
And we pray that you nourish us all with your word.
Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, our way, our truth, our life, be with us and all who follow you in the way.
We pray for Christians across the world, those celebrating Easter today and those of the Orthodox Church celebrating next week. Help all of us to remember your message of forgiveness and love in this difficult time.
Deepen our appreciation of your truth and fill us with your life.
Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, Good Shepherd who gave your life for the sheep, recover the straggler,
bind up the injured, strengthen the sick and lead the healthy and strong to new pastures.
Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us.

Jesus, the resurrection and the life, we give you thanks for all who have lived and believed in you. We think of those who have lost loved ones to the Corona virus and also those families where someone has died of other causes in the last weeks. Comfort them all in their sorrow and distress and we pray that you will raise us with them to eternal life.
Jesus, Lord of life, in your mercy, hear us, accept our prayers, and be with us always. Amen.

Click here to hear the intercessions read by Carolyn Croft

Give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus and ask him to be
with you now.
     Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
     for all the benefits you have given me,
     for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
     Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
     I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. 
     O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
     may I know you more clearly,
     love you more dearly,
     and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.

                after the Prayer of St Richard of Chichester

You might then add one or more of the following prayers:

     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. Amen.

     O God,
     help me to trust you,
     help me to know that you are with me,
     help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love

     revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     Lord, in these days of mercy,
     make us quiet and prayerful;
     in these days of challenge,
     make us stronger in you;
     in these days of emptiness,
     take possession of us;
     in these days of waiting,
     open our hearts to the mystery of your cross.

                 Angela Ashwin

     Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
     we your unworthy servants give you most humble and hearty thanks
     for all your goodness and loving kindness.
     We bless you for our creation, preservation,
     and all the blessings of this life;
     but above all for your immeasurable love
     in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
     for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
     And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies
     that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
     and that we show forth your praise,
     not only with our lips but in our lives,
     by giving up ourselves to your service,
     and by walking before you in holiness and
     righteousness all our days;
     through Jesus Christ our Lord,
     to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
     be all honour and glory,
     for ever and ever. Amen.

End with the Lord’s Prayer.
     Our Father...

Post Communion Prayer

     God of Life, 
 who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross,

     and by his glorious resurrection have delivered us from the power of our enemy:

     grant us so to die daily to sin, 

     that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;

     through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Click here to hear the post communion prayer read by the Rev'd Jon Rose 

Click on the arrow below to hear the hymn "Jesus Christ is Risen Today".

Ignore any adverts that pop up.

     The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil,

     and keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Click here to hear the Organ Voluntary for Easter Day played by Bob Millington 

Thank you to all those who are continuing their regular donations to the church. We appreciate all donations to support our the maintenance of our building and the continuation of our ministry. Click here if you would like to find out how you can make your offering.

He is not here

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb to anoint the body                      …. the angel said, "he is not here, he has risen" (from a window in Sidmouth Parish Church)