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Christ is risen!

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter Message and an intimate communion service from his own kitchen at Lambeth Palace.

The Archbishop of Canterbury cannot this year give his Easter Message as usual to a packed Canterbury Cathedral. Instead he is speaking to the nation as part of Easter Sunday Worship, which will also include an intimate communion service with his wife from the Archbishop's own kitchen at Lambeth Palace. Easter music sung by massed voices in happier times includes 'Jesus Christ is risen today, and This Joyful Eastertide. “Thine Be the Glory” was recorded this week by a virtual congregation of the homebound. The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin shares something of what churches in the Diocese of Canterbury are doing to enable prayer and worship while Christians are unable to gather together in church buildings. Readings: Acts 10.34-43; John 20: 1-18. Producer: Andrew Earis.

48 minutes

Last on

Sun 12 Apr 2020 08:10

Easter Day Eucharist

The service takes place in the Archbishop’s kitchen.

Music: Jesus Christ is risen today
(Choir and congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields – 2013 BBC recording)

The Archbishop of Canterbury says:

The light and peace of Christ be with you all. Welcome to our home on Easter Day, where we will celebrate together the story of God’s saving work in the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

I am joined virtually by the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who will read from the Bible and share something of what churches in the Diocese of Canterbury are doing to enable prayer and worship while we are unable to gather together in church buildings. And we are also joined by Theo, aged 10 who will lead us in prayers. In common with the rest of the clergy and people of the Church of England, we are each at home, where we have recorded our own parts of the service.

Our music today is no exception. Some of it was recorded well before the current pandemic, and some of it has been recorded this week from individuals own homes, and edited together.

At this very difficult time in the life of the nation and of the world, our prayers are with all who are suffering, with those who care for them, and for all who mourn. God’s Son Jesus Christ experienced the fullness of human suffering and yet has made all things new. Let us together light the candle which represents the risen Christ, he who said, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’

Lighting the Easter Candle

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

The light of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Music: Gloria from Jazz Missa Brevis – Will Todd
(sung by St Martin's Voices, on CD 'Passion Music - Will Todd' - Signum)


Archbishop of Canterbury
Churches up and down the country are responding to this challenging time in lots of innovative ways. + Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover in the Diocese of Canterbury, is going to share something of how churches are stepping up to the present challenges.

Insert: Stories from the Diocese of Canterbury with +Rose

Music: This joyful Eastertide
(recorded by a Chorister Family from Canterbury)

Reading: Acts of the Apostles. (10.34-43)
Read by Caroline Welby

Hymn: The Day of Resurrection
(Choir and congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields – 2013 BBC recording)

Gospel Reading: John 20: 1-18
Read by the Bishop of Dover

Hymn: Christ is the King, O friends rejoice
(Choir and congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields – 2013 BBC recording)


In 1944 a British soldier, in the Normandy campaign was asked by a friend what he would do after the war. He had been an architect in peacetime and his answer was that he would build a Cathedral. His name was Basil Spence, and his friends must have thought he was mad, for only one  cathedral had been completed in England since St Paul’s in London 350 years earlier. In 1950 Spence, fired with hopeful inspiration and ambition, won the competition to design Coventry Cathedral, one of the greatest of the post war symbols of peace and reconciliation. It was completed in 1962.

Imagination, ambition, hope, are some of the foods that nourish our minds in dark times. They can be mere escapism, or they can give us a settled direction and intention. That sense of a new direction and intention, of hope that carries us forward, is likely to be mocked by many. Cynicism tells us that all will go on as before. Despair tells us that the road is coming to an end. Fear tells us to look after ourselves. Imaginative hope gives us a level-headed courage and a grand ambition when it is based on what we know to be true.

Neither the women nor the two disciples had hope when they went to the tomb. Mary was so filled with sorrow, so caught by an utterly reasonable despair that she could not even recognise Jesus when he stood in front of her. Who would recognise someone known to be dead?

Yet within a very short period we find Mary announcing that she has seen the Lord. Not long after Peter is telling Cornelius that Jesus had risen and that this was the foundation of hope for all people. There are three astonishing things in what Peter says. First, that someone could rise from the dead. Peter’s change from frightened denier of Christ to bold advocate is one of the great evidences for the resurrection. Second, that God would reach in love to the whole world. Third, that Roman occupier and Jewish occupied could be drawn together in unity.

To this day the resurrection of Jesus is the solid foundation of all hopes for a better world. The first Christians found that God had made new life possible and offered it to us In Christ Jesus, the first Christians were empowered with the resources to live in ways that brought abundant life to rich and poor, strong and weak, the privileged and the rejected. An amazing community grew and loved and served in time of peace and war, of health and of great epidemics. This is the same community, the global church, that still lives and grows all over the world  The resurrection changes not just us individually, but is the fuel for hope-filled ambition and for imagination that builds dreams into reality. The key 3 Christian distinctives are Faith, Hope, and Love.

Which brings us to today, Easter Day 2020. Who does not feel the shock of the last weeks? So many have suffered from the virus, been in hospital, or mourn someone who is gone. We were probably shocked as the Prime Minister went into intensive care. We pray for him and his family especially today. So many people right across the country are anxious about employment, food, are isolated from loved ones and feel that the future looks dark. People right across the Globe feel the same uncertainty, fear, despair and isolation. But you are not alone.

The women went to the tomb in the dark, and there they found the light and hope of Christ risen from the dead. Mary Magdalene turned the disciples’ world back to light; that woman who, as a previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Lancelot Andrewes, said was “last at the cross, and first at the tomb.” In the weeks and months that followed they had a new vision of justice, they shared their goods, they cared for each other so powerfully that over time the world changed, and changes to this day. This was a vision of the Kingdom of God come on earth, where death would not be the end.

Which brings us back to ambitious imagination and unreasonable hope. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a hope that is surer than stone; than any architecture. Even in the dark days of this Easter we can feed on hope. We can dream of what our country and our world will look like after the pandemic. There will still be wickedness and war, poverty and persecution, greed and grasping. There always has been; always will be. Yet in the resurrection of Jesus God lights a fire which calls us to justice, to live in humble generosity, to transform our societies. After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS, so much   effort, once this epidemic is conquered here and round the world, we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all is normal. There needs to be a resurrection of our common life, something that links to the old, but is different and more beautiful. We must dream it because it is the gift of God. Then we must build it in partnership with God. In the new life of the resurrection of Jesus, we dare to have faith in life before death. We hope, because of the resurrection.

Music: In Christ alone
(specially recorded by Geraldine Latty and Carey Luce)

Profession of Faith


The Peace

Music: This is Amazing Grace
(specially recorded by Geraldine Latty and Carey Luce)

The Preparation of the Table

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

Breaking of the Bread

Giving of Communion

Music: Now the Green Blade Riseth arr. Simon Lindley
(sung St Martin’s Voices, BBC recording)

Prayer after Communion



Hymn: Thine be the Glory
(Recorded this week by a virtual choir of BBC Radio 4 listeners from their own homes, and edited together)



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