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chick on grass next to egg shell

Sunday 31 March
Year B: Easter Day


  • Psalm 118: [1-2], 14-24
  • Acts 10: 34-43 or Isaiah 25: 6-9
  • 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11 or Acts 10: 34-43
  • John 20: 1-18 or Mark 16: 1-8

(Acts 10: 34-43 should be used as either the first or second reading.)


From the earliest times Christians gathered in the night before Easter Sunday (now the Easter Vigil Service) or just before its end (now the Dawn Service) to recall God’s saving work from the beginning of creation through to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us will include elements of both of these services in our Mid-Morning Eucharist or Service of the Word on Easter Day.

Some churches will also welcome, mark and light an Easter Candle (if you are using studs be sure to make the holes in advance – candles are tough!) and / or say prayers at an Easter Garden.

In whatever way we celebrate, we are leaving the emptiness of Holy Saturday and moving into the fullness of Christ’s resurrection; and through our participation in that, from a shadow life of condemnation and death, into forgiveness and new life in Christ.

Easter is traditionally a time for new baptisms, and we are also invited to renew (although I prefer remember and restate) our own baptismal commitments, and reclaim that new life afresh for ourselves.


Today and indeed over the Easter season we will be hearing readings about Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for us and for the church. The resurrection of Jesus is the end of the Easter story and the beginning of an entire new chapter. I sometimes think we are inclined to prefer Jesus on the cross and stay in Good Friday. Certainly, that is what comes across in many of the images and words of our hymns and worship songs right across the traditions. If we dwell in Good Friday we miss the ultimate message of Easter.

Interestingly, according to scholarly research by Nakashima Brock and Parker, for the first 1000 years or so, the church focused not on the cross (which was largely absent from paintings etc.) but on the resurrection, and in particular, paradise; the paradise Jesus’ death and resurrection instigated in this world as well as the next.

Imagine what a difference it would make if when someone said ‘Christianity’ the immediate mental picture was not of Jesus dying on the cross and a feeling of inadequacy and guilt, but of the risen Christ bringing new life and the invitation to make paradise a reality for us and our world.

If you look outside, nature has clearly got the message. Leaves and shoots and even some flowers are already arching to heaven in colourful praise of their creator. For me the hymn ‘Love his come Again’ sums it all perfectly.

Even the clocks go forward today, and although the daylight hours are not really affected by that, it seems to add extra symbolism.

So what?

As we restate our baptismal commitments we also renew our clean slate and chance to step into a new phase of life in Christ. We remember that we can put regret and disappointment behind us and allow all the good bits and bad bits of everything that has gone before to be transformed. And leave whatever needs to be left at the foot of the cross. And not stand there and keep looking at it! The only thing required for that new beginning is a walk of faith from Good Friday to Easter Day.