Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday Service – Empty Promises or Good News

Reading: Matthew 28:1-10

Preacher: Rev Phil Swain & Rev Kevin Kim

Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus in this all-aged service! Lively singing with the Easter worship band, great joy and lots of fun as we worship the risen Jesus. Phil will be exploring whether Easter is about empty promises or Good News – a creative talk that has both a message for the kids as well as reminding all ages of the profound message of Easter. While the kids make their Easter Hunt Bags, Kevin will be also sharing and will introduce our special performers – the Turramurra Community Choir.
It will be a time of worship full of energy and joy … followed by the Jesus is alive Easter Egg Hunt at 10am on the front Lawns! Everyone is invited to watch or participate in this amazing hunt for eggs.


Turramurra Uniting Church’s choir will be singing a song called, “Sing an Easter Alleluia”, composed by Mary McDonald. Mary McDonald is well-known in sacred music. Her music and talents have blessed choirs and congregations across the world for more than twenty-five years.

The words of this song, “Sing an Easter Alleluia” are adapted from Mark chapter16.
This song starts the veses, “Night had turned today; the stone was rolled away. Yet Christ was not there; the tomb was bare; his body was taken away!”
In Mark 16, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they go to anoint Jesus’ body. On that first Easter morning, when the women made their way to the tomb, they had just one question in their minds, “Who will roll away the stone for us?” For it was a very large stone. It would have taken about twenty men to roll the stone away, given what we know about tombs at that time. So these three women knew they did not stand a chance.
When they arrived at the tomb, the stone was already rolled away from the tomb. When they entered the tomb, S they saw a young man dressed in a white robe and they were alarmed.

Then the choir song goes, “Mary knelt and cried, when a stranger by her side said, “Mary, don’t weep, I no longer sleep. My spirit will arise!”
The reference for this part is rather from John 20:11-18. Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, thinking someone has taken Jesus’ dead body away. When stranger talked to her, Mary thought that was a gardener, but it was Jesus and he said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” then Mary realized it was Jesus. Jesus told Mary to share the news with his other disciples.

Then chorus of this song goes –
“Sing an Easter alleluia! The stone’s been rolled away! Christ Jesus who died, was crucified, has risen this glorious day!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Sing an Easter alleluia!
Alleluia! Sing alleluia! Sing an Easter alleluia!”
Alleluia basically means “praise the Lord.” So S when we say Easter alleluia, it is simply to praise the Lord for his triumph over death. Because Jesus breaks the power of death, we all should sing an Easter alleluia. Tim Keller said, “Jesus Christ has paid the penalty. So now that means not only has he broken the power of death objectively over you if you believe in him, but the resurrection means he’s also broken the power of death subjectively, that is, the fear of death.”
Then the next verse says, “Christ has overcome! The victory has been won! The grave has lost its deathly sting in Christ, the risen one.”
Worldwide, there are approximately 56,600,000 deaths each year. That works out to 4.7 million per month, 155,000 per day, 6,500 per hour, 107 per minute, and 1.8 per second. I believe the story of Easter says that death is not the end of the story for those who know the Lord. Because on the event we call Good Friday, Jesus died on the cross to take my sin and your sin onto himself, so that the power of death would be cancelled. We have hope beyond the grave, as Jesus himself rose from the dead.
The last verse of this song goes –
Lift your voice and sing alleluia to the King! All glory and praise to Jesus we raise; forever his praise we sing!
Jesus defeated death once and for all.
Death where is your sting? Where is your victory? Death will not bring fear and dread to our lives anymore. In Jesus, and through Jesus, we have life in full – in this world and in the world to come. So we continue to give our Praise and thanks to God as we sing an Easter Alleluia.
And then choir repeats the chorus to finish the song –
“Sing an Easter alleluia! The stone’s been rolled away! Christ Jesus who died, was crucified, has risen this glorious day!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Sing an Easter alleluia!
Alleluia! Sing alleluia! Sing an Easter alleluia!”
When Easter season comes back, I always think of the movie, the Shawshank Redemption. The movie stars Tim Robbins as Andy, and Morgan Freeman as Red.
If you have watched it, you may still remember the scene that Andy, played raises his arms to the sky, feeling the rain washing him clean, soon after he escapes the prison by crawling five hundreds yards underneath of the Shawshank prison.
This movie portrays Andy spending nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison, and his friendship with Red, a fellow inmate. Andy never loses his hope. Even though he is in a situation that he is not able to have a hope for future, he never gives up.
Andy finally escapes the prison in such a dramatic way. Red misses his friend. S One day Red receives post card with nothing written on it. He knows that it is from Andy. Andy waits for his friend outside. Red is finally released on parole after serving 40 years at Shawshank. Red is afraid of the outside world after 40 years in prison. But Red realizes he has a hope. S Red recalls his promise to Andy and he begins his journey to meet his dear friend on the pacific coast. On his way, Red talks to himself that,
“I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain… I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams… I hope.”

What do you hope in this Easter? What sort of hope leads you to live in your life day by day?
One of my hopes came true today on Easter day. Earlier this year, our choir has not found any new members and not sure about our future, but we now have quite a few new members from our community and can perform this morning. Now I invite our choir members to come and sing for everyone!!