Prayers Services, Devotions & ReflectionsRector's Desk

Easter Sunday Worship

(For home use)

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

God’s and peace is with us,

the love at our beginning and without end, in our midst and with us.


On this Easter Day,

we celebrate that the powers of despair and destruction do not have the final word; that new life can still break out; that love is stronger than death; and that nothing can stop the life, hope, and determination of Easter people.


God of grace, we come today with Easter joy,

seeking to be a people of renewal and faith. Gather us together now, form us into a community of your people, and reveal to us the Holy One. Amen.


Glory to God in the highest,

And peace to God’s people on earth. We worship you, we give you thanks, and we celebrate your love in a world of so much need.

Jesus Christ, Your very own child, grown into one who embodied true love, love that transforms the sin of the world by his words, compassion and example.

The Holy One, the Prince of Peace, You are the Messiah, with the Holy Spirit, in the love of God our Creator.


Collect: Eternal Giver of life and light, through the life and love of Jesus, you have shown us our potential to make a world of love and peace. You make all things new, in Him. May we, inspired by what we see in Him, be alive to all life, all people, and all of creation, making heaven on earth by embracing and living in that love. Amen.


The Proclamation of the Word

First Reading: ACTS 10:34-43

Psalm PSALM 118:1-2, 14-24;

Second Reading: COLOSSIANS 3:1-4

The Gospel: JOHN 20:1-8


Sermon: see below, after the closing prayer.


Easter Affirmation of Faith

We believe in the love of Christ to overcome all deaths, deaths in us and deaths in the world. We believe in life which rises in freedom and carries us in joy towards grace beyond our imagining, calling our spirits to soar in freedom with wings of hope borne high in the wonder of Easter Day. The gift of life will never be taken from us. The costly life of Christ will be our company for ever and for ever.


The Prayers of the People

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, let us celebrate resurrection across the world and in all of creation, saying:

Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


For the whole bright earth. As the Covid-19 virus has quieted the world down and spring time temperatures rise, waters start to run again and bird songs grow, let us not be beguiled into thinking that our environment is safe. The earth needs our continuing care and protection. Let us be life-nurturers, willing to defend the rights of our planet home.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life


For all the nations, tribes and peoples of the earth that they would come to know a God in whom there is no partiality.  At this dark time in our history, may we be transformed by compassion to live together in hope: doing away with hate and fear; finding better ways to work together; and showing the way to peace and justice for all.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


For all holding office in the parliaments and councils of our country. We give thanks for leaders who have emerged in this time of crisis, and at every level of society, and who are bringing new hope and new life to a citizenry in need of support, care and concern for our communal welfare.


Let us never forget those who, at the best of times, are blighted by the disparities that life has thrown at them, but who are under increased threat in these times of illness and isolation.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


For the church throughout the world.  As buildings remain closed and physical gatherings prohibited, may we be open to Christ breaking into our lives, cracking open seeds of hope, joy and peace that have lain dormant for far too long, so that we may bear fruit for God’s world in what, for us, may be new and different ways.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


For our heroes: for our carers, our doctors, nurses, ambulance workers, and for all who work in what are deemed essential services – for their protection and support; for all who lift our spirits daily with postings on face book, calls and messages by email, card or telephone; and, for all the artists who share so much of themselves and their creativity for our comfort and joy – our grateful thanks.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


For all who suffer in mind, body or soul; for all those in hospital and

homes of extended care; and for all those suffering at home.


We pray for all who are grieving – remembering especially those who are dying alone and without friend or family for succor and support.


In our giving and receiving, may we plant seeds of love and hope.


Resurrecting God, fill us with new life.


God, you promised to be with us always.  In Jesus you showed us that life goes beyond death: that in dying, new life is called forth. May we live in the joy of new beginnings. Amen.


God our strength and inspiration, all things come from You, and are meant for all your people. Grant us the wisdom and passion to recognize that nothing is ours, for we are a people not of owning, but of giving. Help us to live in equality, to create a world inspired by the spirit of Jesus, where all have enough. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Amen.


Prayers of Intention

It is right and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, God our Creator, God of Love.


You make all things and call them good. You love us into being, you form us in your image and breathe into us the breath of life.


When we turn away, and our love fails, your love remains steadfast.


You deliver us from captivity, and bring us to a world where all are one.

You set before us the way of life.


Therefore we commit ourselves to living his message of love, and we praise you and we bless you.


The Lord’s Prayer (New Zealand version)

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen


Closing Prayer

Risen Christ, whom we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands;

the word of life in whom our joy is complete, send us out to live your message of love,

and embrace your unshakable faith in what we and this world can be. Amen.



*** This service is a contemporary adaptation of the following sources:

The Anglican Book of Alternative Services; The New Zealand Prayer Book; the archives of Easter liturgies of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the City, Auckland New Zealand (adapted for inclusive language and theology). Prayers of the people were written by Gerry Punke (New Glasgow).





The question we left off with on Palm Sunday, was whether the world really will change. I do think the world can change. And I do think the insights are right here, in the midst of our current pandemic. If we hold on to them. And what better time to talk about transformation and hope, and how to get there, than Easter Sunday?


We are seeing another side of global society. It has always been there, but in times like these we see it so much more clearly. Last week we were focusing on how global society is dependent on a consumerist global economy, which in turn depends on exploitable people, animals and nature. A worldwide addiction to profit, regardless of the consequences. Thus, pandemics, human created suffering, extreme disparity, and a planet built on inequality.


Now, with that very real world acknowledged, let’s look at what we are seeing that is so opposite to that.


We are seeing the mobilization of the entirety of humanity, in just a matter of a few months. Weeks, in some places. If there were ever a very real and present sign of how unlimited our power to change is … this is it!


There are so many discussions among environmentalists, human rights activists, and advocates of every kind about where the real power for change is. How often have we heard that if we want to protest a particular company or industry for its violations of the sanctity of life, we act en masse and stop consuming the products of that industry. Same principle for climate change. Simply stop what we need to stop. And change.


Well guess what? For entirely different reasons, we just saw it happen! The insight is that we are capable of acting together to protect one another, life and the planet. There is no longer any question about the will and ability to do it. It can’t be relegated to the bleeding heart, the activist or the idealist. We now know, it is in the heart of all of humanity.


There is an awareness on a global scale of not just the need to care for and protect each other, but the actual living out of that by the majority of humanity, on every level and by every kind of person, regardless of circumstance.


We are part of a level of cooperation, working together, to solve a problem, globally (though much is left to be said about the inadequacy of political priorities at the expense of community, spirituality, emotional/physical health) that is inspirational.


We are part of a profound connection, through mutually understanding suffering, and the mutual embracing of a compassionate response to one another. Isn’t that what this is, for most of us? We feel the suffering of everyone, and we changed the way we live, out of compassion.


Oh sure, there are a few stories, like Trump hijacking a shipment of medical supplies meant for Germany, and ordering 3M to stop making masks, etc. for Canada. But remember, the vast majority of human beings are not sociopathic narcissists with barely functional intelligences (yes, I enjoyed saying that).


And we certainly have seen those who do not truly embrace a new world. Banks deferring mortgages and car loans is something many of us desperately need! But the banks are also being profiteers, by charging interest and adding that to the principal loan. Make no mistake. When this is over, the profits being made by banks on the interest being charged for deferred loans will probably exceed the profits of their highest income earners… NSF’s, overdraft fees and service charges.


Our province, just as one example, is protecting the corporate landlord sector by enforcing rent payments to businesses that have been forced to shut down, and are no longer able to use rental properties for income, prioritizing those they see as potential capital investors by making them feel safe with a guarantee of rent even if small businesses go bankrupt or collapse. And the loans being promised to small businesses are actually just another debt that will have to be dealt with and repaid, for a period when no income was possible. It creates a glaringly obvious disparity. Not everyone suffers equally in this equation. There are businesses in our own province who will not raise the wages of employees, while keeping them in high-risk situations.


There are absolutely many valid criticisms to be levelled at the way things have been handled. The impact on education, setting up homeschooling, providing online education…these things could’ve been addressed months in advance rather than as a knee-jerk reaction. The impact on community, with sudden isolation and social distancing enforcement has led to the breakdown of so many vital things to the health and well-being of people spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically. There has been an unimaginable cost. Worldwide.


Relegating human contact to Facebook, Skype and FaceTime is not a solution in and of itself. But what we see on the street level, are people committed to not losing contact and finding every way imaginable to continue supporting one another, reaching out, and acting on compassion. Ah, those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies.


We are experiencing solidarity that is possible on all levels literally from one neighbour to another, on up to cooperation between nations. Yes, out on a walk, we might see someone cringe, or show fearful body language. But what does that evoke from within us? Empathy. Which one hopes can be seen in our body language too.


Ghandi once said that it is both our suffering and love that connect us most deeply. That is what humanity is experiencing now.


What we are seeing on the level of individuals is that we are so interconnected. This is us! We are not created to be alone. We are acknowledging, embracing (from a distance), cherishing, and missing.


Every breath we take is because of the interdependence of life. Every human being and living creature is connected in the web of life. In realizing how connected we are, empathy and compassion are not just possible, they are vital.


Every human being and living creature can understand one another’s suffering, and every one can respond with compassion.


The basic human desire is that no one suffers, and to wish and to give compassion to all.


The recognition that we can shift perspective, that we can see what is wrong, that we are capable of acting together as an entire species, quickly and decisively, for the good of all … that is our true nature, our true capacity.


This new world we hear being spoken of is possible. It is made of connectivity through suffering and compassion. It is being lived, right now in this moment, by the majority of the entirely of humanity. It is the the truest expression of who and what we are.


The only question is, when the coronavirus wave has finally passed…. will we combine the stark reality of how this happened, with what we see as our truest nature (to cooperate, to act, to empathize with suffering, to be compassionate as an entire species, and to withdraw from this consumerist, profit addicted, exploitive reality)?


We are seeing our truest selves right now. The new world depends on whether we recognize the kind of compassion we are feeling, as the world we want.

And so here we are. It is Easter Sunday. And it is so very different than any other Easter Sunday. On Palm Sunday we saw Jesus weeping, and we looked at the present world with an uncompromising, unflinching assessment of how things are. Tears need to be shed. Tears for what people suffer and endure, and those who create it. And also tears of joy, knowing that most human beings are people of heart and compassion. I think some of Jesus’ tears were simply about how much love he felt.


On Good Friday, we waited at the foot of the cross and listened to the last things Jesus felt he needed to say. Every year, that journey reminds me that nothing about the cross was the will of God. The cross was created by people. And as we so often feel that perhaps the overwhelming sense that those in power cannot be stopped, was the same then as it is now.


But I also cannot help but to think that what really kept Jesus on the cross, was not some big bad sacrifice hungry God, or the political and social power of Pontius Pilot, or the dynamics of a religiously and culturally volatile occupation, or even a mob mentality. What kept Jesus on the cross, was compassion and love.


On Easter Sunday I am trying to imagine the kind of love Jesus must have felt for humanity. The kind of compassion that must have filled his heart and mind. The kind of empathy he must’ve been capable of, to have been so moved to such acts of love all through his life.


And I am reminded that although I can never truly know the mind of Christ, I can see what he was made of. I can see his belief in us. I can see that so many of the insights he shared throughout his life, were about exactly the same insights that we can see now, today, because of the circumstances in our world.


What better time could there be than now, to embrace change? Change that begins with empathy, and becomes compassion. This is the resurrection of the human soul, and the soul of humanity. This is how we rise.