Easter Sunday 2021

4 Apr 2021 by Trish Rooney in: Sermons

Welcome to the Church

Welcome to church this morning on the holiest of days. Welcome to those gathered here and to those gathered at home. My name is Trish, thank you for inviting me to share in worship with you all this morning. It is a privilege to share worship with you on this resurrection Sunday. I pray this time will be a blessing for us all.

Call to Worship 

Christ is risen!
  Christ is risen indeed!


Acknowledgement of Country 

Your spirit brought life into the land and blessed your Wallumedegal Clan of the Eora Nation, the custodians of the land on which we now stand. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Hymn: Morning has broken


(This has been adapted from a liturgy by Norman Hogg W.A. It was published in 'On the Move' some years ago)



A loosely folded white cloth is placed on the communion table with these words:
This reminds us of the cloth in which they wrapped the body of Jesus. On Easter morning it was found empty, lying in the tomb where Christ's body had been placed. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
  Christ is risen indeed!



A jar filled with fragrant oil is placed it on the communion table with these words:
This fragrance reminds us that very early on Easter Day some women came to the tomb to prepare Jesus' body for proper burial. The women were the first to hear of Jesus' resurrection. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed!



A stone is placed on, or in front of, the table with these words:
This stone reminds us that on the resurrection morning, the stone which sealed the tomb was rolled away. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed!



A large round loaf is placed on the table with these words:
This bread reminds us that on the first Easter evening, Jesus walked and talked with two of his followers on the road to Emmaus. It was not until he broke bread with them that they recognised who he was. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
  Christ is risen indeed!



The chalice is placed on the table with these words:
This wine, representing Christ's blood, helps us to remember that Jesus died for us. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed!


THE CROSS: A cross is placed against the front of the table with these words:
The cross you see is an empty cross. Jesus is not dead. He is risen. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed!


THE CANDLE: A lit 'Christ candle' is placed on the table or candleholder stand with these words:
This candle reminds us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
   Christ is risen indeed!


God of new life;
Hear our joyful cries of hallelujah,
as they echo from the empty tomb and resonate throughout the world.

May they ring out into the cities and towns of all nations,
into deep forests and rugged mountain tops,
through canyons and river deltas.

Let all the creatures of the earth,
feathered and furred,
armoured and leathered,
those that dwell in the depths of the sea,
join our song.

You are alive,
with us and within us,
you abide in all the earth,
abundant and bountiful life is assuredly ours.

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!


Living God, this is a day full of the extraordinary,
yet extraordinary things are hard to grasp.

When the amazement of God’s Easter moment
immobilises us and leaves us dumbfounded:
         Be with us.

When we are afraid that the tomb empty is an ending not a beginning:
         Forgive us.      

When the terror of stepping into the unimaginable stops us
from moving ahead into this miracle of grace:
         Gently urge us on.

When, because of our discomfort, we put the kybosh on mystery:
         Appeal to our inner knowledge of you.

When skepticism means our hallelujahs are forced from tight lips and hard hearts:
         Stir our souls with joy.

When we fear that a love that can conquer all is impossible:
         Reassure us.

When the audacity of faith in resurrection is a bridge too far:
Open our hearts to recall the promise that
nothing is impossible to God.


The promise of Easter is that there is no stone locked in place blocking our way into relationship with our eternally loving God,
All obstacles are rolled away, and we are invited into the assurance that God’s forgiveness endures beyond anything that would separate us from God.

Open your hearts to the wonder of God’s love and grace and let it guide your way.

Hear, believe, and live the good news. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!

Thanks be to God!

HYMN:Yours be the Glory


Isaiah 25:6-9 

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
    of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
    the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
    the sheet that is spread over all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
    and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
    This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

John 20:1-18

20 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[a] 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.


That first Easter Day began very strangely.  Mary comes to the tomb and finds it empty. She has no idea what has happened.  She thinks someone has stolen Jesus’ body, so she runs to tell Peter and the other disciples.  They ran to the tomb in search of answers and the tomb is empty just as Mary had said.  

Then, a very strange thing happened.  Peter and the other disciple just went back to their homes.  And left Mary there, weeping. 

What a strange and bizarre way to begin the story of Easter. 

Mary then meets Jesus but believes He is the gardener. She is so desperate to find Jesus’ missing body and won’t leave the tomb until she know where it is. As she begs who she believes to be the gardener for information, she fails to see that it is Christ is she talking to. 

Our gospel reading today suggests that when we encounter Jesus we don’t always recognise Him. There are many reasons why Mary did not recognise Jesus. Her eyes were red, swollen and full of tears, she is so distressed and the horrible, violent images of Friday are still so vivid. The possibility that grave robbers may have taken Jesus is more real to her in that moment than seeing Jesus alive. 

Mary doesn’t entertain the possibility that Jesus has risen from the dead and to be completely honest if it was any of us in Mary’s shoes I am sure we would not entertain such a possibility because the world tells us that death is final and some situations are hopeless. 

Mary was all alone. 

Then Jesus calls her by Name. 


In that moment Mary encounters the risen Christ and discovered that she is not alone that Christ is with her in life and death.  

When Christ called her name, Mary discovered that it wasn’t just anyone with her but the very One who raised Jesus from the dead and who has the power to do that for you and for me as well. 

There are times when we feel all alone, there are times when we struggle to comprehend the world around us, there are time when we can’t see God because of the tears in our eyes. 

Then Jesus calls US by name. 

In our responding we experience life and we know that no matter what struggle we may face, we know we are not alone. We know the living Christ will encounter us where we are and call us by name. 

The message of Easter is this: 

We are not called to cling to the presence of the risen Christ, instead we are to shout out with joy what we have seen and in doing so you will experience the vast, unchanging, everlasting faithful love of God. 

What will you do when you hear the astonishing news of the resurrection and Christ call you by name?


In response to the Word let us affirm our faith. 

The Apostle’s Creed 

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

HYMN:I danced in the morning

<Prayers of Intercession>


On this day in which we receive the extraordinary gift of salvation, may we too give good gifts to the world.

Our free will offering will now be received. 


Through the goodness of God, new life is on offer today, and so these gifts that we offer are dedicated to bringing new life to all those who are recipients of them.


The stone is rolled away,
the grave clothes are scattered in an empty tomb.

Christ is risen!

God invites us into God’s eternal realm,
Go into the world with the assurance that love abounds.

HYMN:Sent forth with God’s blessings


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who is risen today,
The love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with you this day and remain with you forever more.