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Easter Sunday Worship: Inside Joy

Inside Joy - As we approach the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, our celebration for Easter Day comes from the Guild Chapel, Stratford Upon Avon, opposite Shakespeare's home. It was a building he would have known intimately and we are joined by the Choir and Orchestra of Stratford's world famous Swan Theatre performing Haydn's Little Organ Mass.
The Rt Revd John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick, preaches, and the Revd Dr Paul Edmondson of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust presides, at this joyous Easter Sunday morning celebration of Shakespeare's great themes of faith and redemption.
Producer: Stephen Shipley.

Release date:

48 minutes

Last on

Sun 20 Apr 2014 08:10

Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon - 20/4/14

Please note:

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.



Introit: This joyful Eastertide (Charles Wood)  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


This joyful Eastertide, 
away with care and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
hath sprung to life this morrow.
Had Christ, that once was slain,
ne'er burst his three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain;
but now is Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen, arisen.

Death's flood hath lost its chill,
since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver, Refrain

My flesh in hope shall rest,
and for a season slumber,
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number. Refrain

Welcome by the Revd Dr Paul Edmondson

Good morning - and a very Happy Easter!  We’re here in the beautiful medieval Guild Chapel in Stratford-upon-Avon, next door to the school that Shakespeare knew well and immediately opposite his family home, New Place.


Wherever you are listening in the world, may something of the glory of Easter reach out to you through this service.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!



Hymn: Jesus Christ is risen today (Easter Hymn)

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

[Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!]

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.      And also with you.

Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who sleep.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.


Lord Jesus, you raise us to new life.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you forgive us our sins.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you feed us with the living bread.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.



Kyrie eleison (Haydn)     1’40”


The Bishop of Warwick:

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.




Gloria in excelsis Deo (Haydn)  3’20”



The Collect

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.



The New Testament Reading


A reading from the letter to the Colossians:


So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.  (Colossians 3:1-4)

This is the word of the Lord

All:  Thanks be to God.




Hymn: Good Christians all, rejoice and sing! (Vulpius)


Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

[The Lord of life is risen for ay!
Bring flowers of song to strew his way;
let all the earth rejoice and say:

 alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!]

Praise we in songs of victory
that Love, that Life which cannot die,
and sing with hearts uplifted high:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thy name we bless, O risen Lord,
and sing today with one accord
the life laid down, the life restored:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!


The Gospel                       


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.


Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 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. 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.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 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.” ’ 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.  (John 20: 10-18)


This is the Gospel of the Lord      

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.









The Sermon:  The Bishop of Warwick


Mary Magdalene stands weeping outside the tomb. She will have wept before. Perhaps, as the Apostle Peter has done only days ago, they were tears of contrition. Perhaps also tears of deep joy when she first experienced the unconditional all-forgiving love of Jesus. No matter what we have done, no matter the state of our lives, this is how he loves us. 

She may have seen him weep too, at the death of Lazarus and over the people of Jerusalem ‘If only you had known the way which makes for peace’.  Human beings mess up. She knows that. We know that too. We mess up each other, we mess up ourselves. We mess up love. That’s the bad news. But to begin to see this in our tears prepares us for the best news of all. Blessed, says Jesus, are those who know their need of God. Mary is asked ‘Why are you weeping?’ First she answers ‘They have taken away the Lord.’ Then, to one she supposes is the gardener ‘They have taken away my Lord.’ The Lord, my Lord. God’s love is universal, embracing all he has made but it is also deeply personal.

He calls us by name. He says to her ‘Mary’. It is this that opens her eyes to see and turns her tears to joy. And so the inconsolable one becomes the apostle, the one sent, she becomes the angel – that is - the messenger announcing (angellousa, writes John) to the others the resurrection of Jesus. ‘I have seen the Lord.’

Just as the risen Lord comes to meet Mary Magdalene in her grief, so in the next days he will come, bearing the marks of his wounds, to the apostles and disciples, those who had followed but in the end deserted him. He comes to them in their guilt and shame, in their fear and anxiety bringing peace, a peace that nothing else and no-one else can give. And this is how he comes to meet us now, as we actually are, in the frailty and fragility of our real humanity.

Some years ago I heard the words of Pope John Paul II: ‘What the world needs most is experts in humanity who have shared to the full the joys and the hopes, the anguish and the sadness of our day’. ‘Experts in humanity’. Whatever religious positions may rightly or wrongly have been attributed to Shakespeare, we might all agree that he was conspicuously an ‘expert in humanity’, one who holds the mirror up to our human nature in all its nobility and ignobility, its wisdom and its folly, its sadness and its joy. His works resonate with the language and imagery of the Bible, the Prayer Book and the Homilies - sermons being read in every parish in the country in his time. But more than this, they embrace the great themes of pride and fall, blindness and sight, guilt and shame, penitence and reconciliation – themes at the very heart of the Easter Gospel.

In Shakespeare, the proud fall, hilariously in the Comedies, agonisingly in the Tragedies. But this humbling, this breaking open of human pride needs to happen to get to the place of truth and growth, of healing and reconciliation. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, Lear, Othello, Hamlet, have to learn so painfully is that their fall or humiliation cannot simply be blamed on others but that the seed of it lies within themselves. As the journey of Lent and Holy Week has reminded us, we all need forgiveness. Like all those first disciples, we do mess up, we do get things wrong. As Mother Julian of Norwich wrote, we need to fall and to see that we have fallen to discover the extraordinary grace and mercy of God. ‘Mercy’, as Portia reminds Shylock, is ‘an attribute of God himself.’ Just as all of us need this forgiveness, so all of us need to forgive.

In Lear’s humbling and humiliation he discovers a new compassion for the poor and a keen awareness of the wrong he has done to his daughter Cordelia. In this new humility, his eyes for the first time truly seeing, he speaks a new language of hope and redemption: ‘When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down/and ask of thee forgiveness; and so we’ll live and pray/ and sing and tell old tales and laugh at gilded butterflies…. And take upon’s the mystery of things/as if we were God’s spies.’

Encountering the risen Christ, Mary Magdalene and the disciples see themselves and the world around them with new eyes, we might even say as ‘God’s spies’, through the lens of the resurrection of Christ.

The Orthodox icon of the Resurrection is at one and the same time the icon of the descent into hell. The good news of Easter is not pie in the sky when we die. It does not bypass or deny the horrors of Good Friday. The risen Christ bears the marks of his wounds. He comes to his wounded world and to us in the darkness and struggles of our real lives to draw us into the light of his resurrection life.

So this ‘quintessence of dust’ - your life and mine - is destined for glory, for resurrection life, and that means now!  So we can pray with Herbert: Rise heart, thy Lord is risen/Sing his praise without delays,/Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise/With him may’st rise.’ 



Anthem: Rise heart, thy Lord is risen (Vaughan Williams)  5’00”             


Rise, heart, thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise 
Without delays, 
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise 
With him may'st rise: 
That, as his death calcinèd thee to dust, 
His life may make thee gold, and, much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part 
With all thy art, 
The cross taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same. 
His stretchèd sinews taught all strings what key 
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort, both heart and lute, and twist a song 
Pleasant and long; 
Or, since all music is but three parts vied 
And multiplied 

Oh let thy blessèd Spirit bear a part, 
And make up our defects with his sweet art. 



The Bishop of Warwick:

As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, we

remember that through the paschal mystery we have died and been buried with him

in baptism.


Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess the faith of the Church.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?

We believe and trust in him.


Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?

We believe and trust in him.


Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?

We believe and trust in him.


This is the faith of the Church.

This is our faith.  We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.



Almighty God,

we thank you for our fellowship in the household of faith

with all who have been baptized in your name.

Keep us faithful to our baptism,

and so make us ready for that day

when the whole creation shall be made perfect in your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.





Paul Edmondson: Intercessions  (concluding with sonnet)


In joy and hope let us pray to the Father.


That our risen Saviour may fill us,

this land and all nations,

with the joy of his glorious and life-giving resurrection:

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That isolated and persecuted people

may find renewed strength

in the good news of Easter,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That God may give us the grace

to follow Jesus’s example

and to love as he loves us,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That God may strengthen us

to provide for those

who lack food, work or shelter,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That war and famine

may cease throughout the world,

and for work of aid-agencies

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That all who are sick, weak, or dying,

may find comfort,

healing, and peace,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


That we may know

the glory of Jesus’s resurrection

in our lives and in eternal life,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ.



We are next door to the site of New Place, Shakespeare’s family home from 1597. The Stratford-upon-Avon archives record the visit of a preacher who stayed there with William and Anne Shakespeare exactly four hundred years ago and who preached in this very chapel. Our prayers conclude with a Sonnet I have dedicated to the Town in thanksgiving for Shakespeare’s life and creativity:


‘Preacher at New Place: Easter 1614’

I sense within the hall the wastes of time;

I see within her face a love turned cold;

I know he wants to make the moment rhyme;

He shows me to his study where I'm told:

'You're welcome here, please stay an extra night,

You're quite a handsome preacher, so I've heard.

Easter Eve in you it still shines bright – 

Let's have some wine and think upon your word.'

'The glory of an empty tomb', I said.

He takes a sip, leans back, looks up to see

A darkened space that is no longer dead – 

It bursts with life and joy; he sets it free.

Next day my words catch something of the grace

 Of labours loved and lost within New Place. 




The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples

and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia!  The peace of the Lord be always with you.    

All:  And also with you


All exchange a sign of peace



Hymn: Alleluia!  Alleluia! (Lux Eoi)


Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heaven and voices raise:
sing to God a hymn of gladness,
sing to God a hymn of praise.
He, who on the cross a victim,
for the world's salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the King of glory,
now is risen from the dead.

Christ is risen, Christ, the first fruits
of the holy harvest field,
which will all its full abundance
at his second coming yield:
then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before him wave,
ripened by his glorious sunshine 
from the furrows of the grave.

Christ is risen, we are risen!
Shed upon us heavenly grace,
rain and dew and gleams of glory
from the brightness of thy face;
that we, with our hearts in heaven,
here on earth may fruitful be,
and by angel hands be gathered,
and be ever, Lord, with thee.                                                                       



Lift up your hearts

All:  We lift them to the Lord.


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God:

All:  It is right to give thanks and praise.



It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy

at all times and in all places

to give you thanks and praise,

O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God,

But chiefly are we bound to praise you

for the glorious Resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,

for he is the very Paschal Lamb,

which was offered for us,

and has taken away the sins of the world,

who by his death has destroyed death,

and by his rising to new life again

has restored us to everlasting life.

Therefore with angels and archangels

and with all the whole company of heaven

we proclaim your great and glorious name

evermore praising you and singing:


Sanctus (Haydn)   1’10”


Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who, in your tender mercy, gave your only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; he instituted, and in his holy gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of his precious death until he comes again.  Hear us, merciful Father, we humbly pray, and grant that we receiving these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine, according to your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood;

Who, in the same night as he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.  In the same way, after supper, he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.   Amen.


Rejoicing in God’s new creation,

let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us:


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.



Agnus Dei (Haydn)     2’40”



Jesus says, I am the bread of life,

whoever eats this bread will live for ever.

Lord, our hearts hunger for you;

give us this bread always.



Benedictus (Haydn)   (with distribution of communion) 4’50”



God of Life,

who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son

to the death of the cross,

and by his glorious resurrection

has 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.



Hymn: Thine be the glory (Maccabaeus)


Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.

[Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting. Refrain]

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above. Refrain




The Bishop of Warwick:

God, who through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ

has given us the victory, give you joy and peace in your faith;

and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 

In the name of Christ.  Amen.



Orchestra: Trumpet Voluntary (Jeremiah Clarke)

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