Easter Sunday

Home Up

Prayer of the Day
O God, you gave your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. Make us die every day to sin, so that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened for us the gate of everlasting life. Give us your continual help; put good desires into our minds and bring them to full effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Acts 10:34-42
Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, {35} but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. {36} You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ--he is Lord of all. {37} That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: {38} how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. {39} We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; {40} but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, {41} not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. {42} He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.

     Peter traveled from Joppa to Caesarea Martima in response to the request of the centurion Cornelius for instruction in the faith. Although Peter was not comfortable with Gentiles he had a vision in which God showed him that no one should be called “common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
34: God shows no partiality: For the early church, indeed for the church at any time, this principle is primary. “…both Luke and Paul basically agree about God’s impartiality toward Jews and law-free Gentiles and the justified evangelization of the Gentiles….”[1] See Romans 2:10-11; 3:29.
35. anyone who fears him and does what is right: The criterion is to “fear God” and to do his will, and that means basically putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ by whom peace was preached.
36. the message he sent to the people of Israel: Jesus said, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24).
peace: “‘Peace’ expresses not just the absence of war…, but [shalom], the state of bounty or well-being that comes from God and includes concord, harmony, order, security, and prosperity.”[2]
37-39: “Verses 37-39 give a résumé of the Lucan kerygma, a recital of Jesus’ ministry that is very close to the thrust of the Lucan Gospel itself.”[3]
39. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree: See Acts 5:30, “The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.” Jesus was not only killed but he was dishonored (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Paul also refers to Deuteronomy in Galatians 3;13.
40. but God raised him…: The resurrection was also a part of the primitive preaching of the apostles. By raising him God ascribed to him ultimate honor.
on the third day: Lazarus was in the grave for four days (John 11:39). Nevertheless, “The date of the ‘raising’ is not important; the fact that the Father raised him is!”[4]
40-42. allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen…commanded us to preach to the people and to testify…All the prophets testify about him….: Literally, “God…made him manifest.” Jesus honored the disciples by appearing to them. They, in turn, honor Jesus by testifying to him as the prophets did.
42. he is the one ordained by God as judge: See Matthew 25:31ff.: Jesus did not only come to preach and teach and heal during his earthly life, but he would return as the judge of the last times.
      “The discourse (10:34-43) is another missionary speech, which repeats a bit of the kerygma. It has, then, affinity with the missionary speeches already addressed by Peter to Jews. Now, however, it is addressed to a Palestinian Gentile, a Jewish sympathizer and Godfearer, and those whom he has invited to be present…. even though it is the last great missionary speech that Peter delivers in Acts, it is the beginning of apostolic testimony being borne to Gentiles without insistence on the obligation to obey the Mosaic law. In Peter’s activity in Caesarea the mission to the Gentiles is thus formally inaugurated. In its kerygmatic section the speech presents the fullest formulation of the early proclamation about Jesus in Acts…The speech, however, included another important element of apostolic testimony, viz., an explanation of god’s impartiality: the Word sent to Israel is now preached to others.” [5]

Or Isaiah 65:17-25
{17} For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. {18} But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. {19} I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. {20} No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. {21} They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. {22} They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. {23} They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-- and their descendants as well. {24} Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. {25} The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent--its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

17-25: “…this passage is dominated by verse 17, in which Yahweh declares that he is about to create (hinneni bore) new heavens and a new earth; and this impression of a radical cosmic transormation is strengthened by the final verse (25). But the intervening verses (18-23) have no cosmic reference: they are wholly concerned with the renewal of Jerusalem and its people (cf. chapters 60-62).”[6]The theme of new heavens and earth will be revisited in the Second Lesson for the fifth Sunday of Easter, Revelation 21:1-6.
17. to create new heavens and a new earth: This is not just a renewal of the old heavens and earth, but a completely new creation. 
The former things shall not be remembered
: The “former things” are the troubles suffered by the people (see verse 16) which will not be remembered in the light of a new creation. 18  I am about to create Jerusalem: The new creation is now specified as the creation of Jerusalem “as a joy.” Cf Isaiah 59:20, 60:1-5. Jerusalem will be the effective center of the new creation.
no more shall. Weeping, cry of distress, an infant who lives only a few days, and old person who does not live a full like will no longer be natural phenomena in the new creation.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them: Jeremiah delivered an oracle from Yahweh to the exiles in which they were told to build houses in exile and live in them. Now the returned exiles are advised that they will build houses in Jerusalem and live in them. Also vineyards.
22: This is a reversal of the curse on those who disobey Yahweh’s law in Deuteronomy 28:30.
like the days of a tree: Psalm 92:12-14.
24. Before they call I will answer: Contrast this with what the singer implies in the Psalm (118:21), “I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.” Yahweh will answer prayers before they are even uttered.
25. See Isaiah 11:6-9.
The serpent—its food shall be dust
: Whybray suggests that this is a gloss on the verse based on Genesis 3:14 that was later incorporated into the text.[7]

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
{1} O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! {2} Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever"…. {14}  The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. {15} There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly; {16} the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly." {17} I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. {18} The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. {19} Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. {20} This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. {21} I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. {22} The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. {23} This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. {24} This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

    The Psalm is a song of thanksgiving by one who has been close to death, but who has survived to thank and praise God for caring for him/her.
1-2: These verses are a part of the liturgical introduction to the Psalm. The invitation to the house of Aaron and those who fear the LORD also to say, “His steadfast love endures forever,” have been passed over (verses 3-4).
14. The Lord…has become my salvation: A quotation of Exodus 15:2 (see also Isaiah 12:2).
15. glad songs of victory: The quotation is intended to represent these “glad songs.” “In vv. 15-16 we might have an ancient song of victory that was sung after a battle that had had a fortunate ending…. The ‘lifting of the right hand’ cold point back to an old gesture: after the battle the victory lifts his right hand and thereby attests his powerful superiority.”[8]
17-21. The Psalmist has been brought to the point of death, he/she has been severely punished, but Yahweh has answered his/her prayer and relieved the punishment.
18: The singer has suffered at the hands of Yahweh (verses 5, 13 and 18), but he will not die (17-18).
19. the gates of righteousness: “At the gates leading to the sanctuary inquiry is made about the [tsedaqah, “righteousness”] of each participant in worship…. The [tesediqim, “righteous”] may enter (v. 20b; Isa 26:20).
21. I thank you that you…have become my salvation: The singer enters the sanctuary and thanks Yahweh for his/her salvation.
22-23: The singer’s companions “express their amazement at the rescue of the person threatened by death.”[9]
the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone: “The wondrous change in life is commemorated in a graphic picture. He who was cast into the realm of death was like a stone which the builders threw away as unfit. Yet this stone has achieved the honor of becoming the ‘cornerstone’…. a despised stone has come to a prominent and important position. “Verse 22 is very likely a proverb that emphatically bears witness to the wondrous change wrought by Yahweh (v. 23). One who was despised has been brought to honors. One who was consigned to death is allowed to see life (v. 17a)…. That v. 22 is in the NT applied to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is implicitly intelligible on the basis of the intention of the OT text (cf. Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; but cf. also Isa. 28:16 and 1 Peter 2:6f.). The early church read Psalm 118 as a prophetic witness to the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”[10]
24. This is the day that the Lord has made: A festival day for the singer, for punishment has turned to forgiveness and exaltation.

1 Corinthians 15:19-26
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. {20} But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. {21} For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; {22} for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. {23} But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. {24} Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. {25} For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. {26} The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people, most to be pitied: To be a member of the body of Christ is to live in the power of the Spirit, and in the community of the resurrection. And these are realities, not mental constructs. The resurrection life changes our way of living in this world, not because we have changed our presuppositions, but because our basis for life has been transferred to an eternal dimension. Its not just the future, eschatological, aspect that is in play here; it is the awareness that our whole being has changed.
20. in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died: Christ is risen as the first fruits of those who have died in faith. They know in its fullness what we who, though we live in the resurrection, know only by anticipation.
26. The last enemy to be destroyed is death: “If we set out from the mythological idea, then the annihilation of death is the presupposition of the resurrection…. Paul now reduces the mythological element by the very fact that it is not the devil, but death that is declared to be the last enemy…. Victory over death does not consist in man’s escaping death and its (abiding) power, but in death itself being overcome.”[11]

Or Acts 10:34-42
See the first lesson above.

John 20:1-18
{1} 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. {2} 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." {3} Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. {4} The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. {5} He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. {6} Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, {7} and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. {8} Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; {9} 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 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.

     “This text present many difficulties for the preacher. It is a combination of two different traditions. The one is the well-attested and reliable tradition that Mary Magdalene…visited the grave of Jesus on Easter morning, found it empty and reported the fact to the disciples. The other, less attested is of Peter’s visit to the grave (see Lk 24:12). (In the earliest and strongly attested tradition, Peter was the recipient of the first appearance.)”[12](see 1 Corinthians 15:4-5).
1. the first day of the week: The beginning of a new creation.
the stone had been removed from the tomb: The stone at Jesus tomb is not referred to before in John. The stone at Lazarus' tomb is also mentioned (11:39, 41).
2: Mary did not check inside the tomb. 
the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved: This person is not identified by the writer of the Gospel. Tradition identifies this disciple with “John,” the evangelist. Floyd Filson who suggests that he was Lazarus, of whom it is said that Jesus loved him (11:3).
Mary complained that Jesus’ body had been moved.
3-10: The description of the Peter and the other disciple has been seen as a reflection of a contest for leadership in the early church. They both looked in, then the other disciple went in and “he saw and believed” (cf. 9:37-38: Jesus said, “You have seen him”…. He said, “Lord, I believe.”) But then they simply go home.
11-13: Mary weeps, sees two angels, and makes her complaint.
14-17: Mary is confronted by Jesus, and complains to him, then she recognizes him. He instructs her to tellmy brothers” that Jesus is ascending to God.  Jesus does not immediately ascend.
18: Mary tells the disciples what she has seen and heard.

Or Luke 24:1-12
{1} But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. {2} They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, {3} but when they went in, they did not find the body. {4} While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. {5} The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. {6} Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, {7} that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." {8} Then they remembered his words, {9} and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. {10} Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. {11} But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. {12} But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

10. it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women: Mary Magdalene is mentioned by all four gospels. Luke mentions Mary the mother of James. Matthew mentions “the other Mary,” who may be the same person. Only Luke mentions Joanna. He also mentions a Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward” in 8:3. Mark mentions Salome (Mark 16:1).
3. when they went in they did not find the body: Not mentioned by either Mark or Matthew. Mary Magdalene did not check inside the tomb (John 20:1), but told Peter and the other disciple that the body is missing (John 20:2).
“two men in dazzling clothes” appeared to the women, rebuke them for seeking “the living among the dead,” and announce the resurrection (verse 4-5). Both of the men speak,  so they provide the necessary “two witnesses” to establish the truth.
6: The commission to tell Peter and the other disciples, “He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see him as he told you” (Mark 16:7) is transformed into a reminder of Jesus’ predictions of the Passion which he made while he was still in Galilee.
9. they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest: In Mark the women are afraid and tell no one anything. In Luke they tell the disciples and others what they have seen, “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
12. This verse is omitted by many translators, including the Revised Standard Version as a “Western non-interpolation.” “One of the features of the Western text is the occasional omission of words and passages that are present in other types of text, including the Alexandrian…. Such readings, despite their being supported by the generally inferior Western witnesses, ought to be preferred rather than the longer readings, though the latter are attested by the generally superior manuscripts, B and aleph.”[13] A majority of the Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament “regarded the passage as a natural antecedent to ver. 24,” and recommended its inclusion.[14] The editors of the NRSV seem to have agreed with them, for they have included the verse as a part of the text. Peter’s visit to the tomb is also recorded by John (John 20:3-10). See the notes on this passage, above.

The writer of Isaiah 65:17-25 has used ideas and images that were familiar to his audience to describe the wonders of the future. The best of the past will be forgotten in the face of this future, the orders of the past will be nullified, the disruptions of harmony of the past will be reversed.
     “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” It is a festival day, a day of rejoicing, the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, the day of our resurrection.
     Luke turns Mark’s “messianic secret” into “a misunderstanding of the Passion.”[15] The disciples do not protest Jesus’ announcement of his Passion as in Mark (cf. Luke 9:45; 18:34). The misunderstanding has to do with what kind of Messiah Jesus is to be, that is, a suffering Messiah. “In Mark the important thing is that he is the Messiah, in Luke what kind of Messiah he is.”[16] The whole of Luke’s the so-called travel narrative (9:51-18:14), is less a narrative of a physical journey than of a journey of understanding (or misunderstanding), until full understanding becomes possible with the resurrection

With One Voice (e.g. 762v), Hymnal Supplement 1991 (e.g. 725s) and LBW (e.g. 32).
E=Entrance; D=Hymn of the Day; I=First Lesson, P=Psalm; II=Second Lesson; G=Gospel

132--E--Come, You Faithful,
131--D--Christ Is Risen!
133--D--Jesus Lives! The
710s --P--Psalm 118: This
747v --P--Christ Is Made (819s)
138--G--He Is Arisen!
151  --G--Jesus Christ is
678v --G--Christ Has Arisen
672v --G--Christ Is Risen
692v --G--For All the Faithful
     210, 129, 136, 140, 673v,677v

Prayers of the People[18]
P or A: This day is death defeated!  This day has new life triumphed!  For God has raised the Crucified One from the dead.  That we  might live in the light of Christ's resurrection, let us pray, saying: "Christ is risen!", and respond, "Christ is risen indeed!"
A: For the church throughout the world, that we would surrender all that needs to die for the sake of the gospel, and trust you to bring new life, for Christ is risen! Christ...
A: For the leaders of the world, that they would be guided in all their undertakings by a vision of the new creation, and work to bring justice and peace, for Christ is risen!  Christ...
A: For the newly baptized, that they would grow in baptismal grace, dying to sin and rising to new life throughout their journey of faith, for Christ is risen!  Christ...
A: For this community of faith, that we would know the new life offered to us in the gift of Holy Communion, for Christ is risen!  Christ...
A: For the sick, the dying, the grieving, and suffering, especially __________ and those whom we name in our hearts (silence), that the promise of Christ's presence and the hope of resurrection would bring them peace and strength, for Christ is risen!  Christ...
P: In Holy Baptism we have been joined to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and are assured of God's presence with us throughout our lives.  Trusting in your power to make all things whole and new, we commend our prayers to you, our gracious and victorious Lord.  Amen. 


Presider or deacon
Joined by those who are newly baptized in Christ, and filled with joy on this queen of feasts, let us offer prayers to God who fills the darkness of the world with the light of Christ.
Deacon or other leader
For the holy churches of God, N our bishop, the presbyters and deacons, our new brothers and sisters, this holy gathering, and all the holy people of God.
For the world and its leaders, our nation and its people. For all those in need, the suffering and the oppressed, travelers and prisoners, the dying and the dead.
For ourselves, our families, and those we love.
That our Savior may grant us triumph over our visible and invisible enemies.
That with Christ we may crush beneath our feet the prince of darkness and all evil powers.
That Christ may fill us with the joy and happiness of his holy resurrection.
That we may enter the chamber of the divine wedding feast and rejoice without limit with the angels and saints.
Remembering our most glorious and blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, let us offer ourselves and one another to the living God through Christ.
To you, O Lord.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Hear our prayers which we offer in the hope of eternal glory, and grant that we who have received new life in baptism may live for ever in the joy of the resurrection. Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and unto the ages of ages.

[1] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 1998, p. 463.
[2] Ibid., p. 463.
[3] Ibid., p. 464.
[4] Ibid., p. 466.
[5] Ibid., p. 459.
[6] R. N. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66. Greenwood, SC: The Attic Press, Inc., 1975, p. 275.
[7] Ibid., p. 279.
[8] Hans-Joachim Kraus, Psalms 60-150: A Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1989, p. 398.
[9] Ibid., p. 399.
[10] Ibid., p. 400.
[11] Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, p. 273-274.
[12] Reginald H. Fuller, Preaching the New Lectionary: The Word of God for the Church Today. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1974, p. 24.
[13] Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament: A Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament,  (third edition). London: United Bible Societies, 1975, pp. 191-192.
[14] Ibid., p. 184.
[15] Hans Conzelmann, Theology, p. 56.
[16] Ibid., p. 64
[17] http://www.worship.on.ca/text/rclc0001.txt
[18] http://www.worship.on.ca/text/inter_c.txt
[19] http://members.cox.net/oplater/prayer.htm