Worship Connection: Easter Sunday 2016

February 25th, 2016

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; John 20:1-18 (or Luke 24:1-12)

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: Welcome today! Look where our Lenten journey has brought us!
P: We walked the seashore and the hills with Jesus; we went to the upper room and to the Garden of Sorrows, we stood at the cross and hid in a room out of our fear.
L: Now we are here, in the splendor and beauty of this place!
P: Everything is bursting with life. Jesus is alive! He is risen!
L: Hallelujah!
P: Hallelujah! AMEN

Call to Worship #2

L: The darkness is banished!
P: The brightness of God’s love floods in on us!
L: Christ is risen from the dead!
P: Christ is alive forevermore!
L: Hallelujah!
P: Hallelujah!
ALL: AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, P. 2258, “Sing Alleluia to the Lord”, offer the call to worship as directed.]
L: It happened! Jesus was absolutely right!
P: Christ is risen! It was as he said it would be!
Choir: (or small ensemble): sing verse 1 of “Sing Alleluia to the Lord”
L: Darkness is gone! Brightness reigns!
P: God’s love has poured over us, bringing us joy and hope!
Choir: (or small ensemble): sing verse 2 of “Sing Alleluia to the Lord”
L: We are free from fear and doubt!
P: We are free to celebrate and dance, and shout the Good News “Christ is Risen!”
Choir: (or small ensemble): sing verse 4 of “Sing Alleluia to the Lord”
ALL: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4

L: Run from fear and darkness! Hope is on the move!
P: Run to tell the world, Christ is risen!
L: Do not be afraid. Jesus has conquered death!
P: We can proclaim with great confidence that God’s love rules.
L: Christ is risen!
P: CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
ALL: AMEN
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PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Christ the Lord is Risen today! Alleluia! Our hopes and dreams have come true. We do not have to fear death, for Christ goes before us. Praise be to God who has raised Christ from the dead and given to us new life. Open our hearts to receive your wondrous words of love, O God. Help prepare us for the opportunities to serve you by serving others. In Christ’s Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

We have to admit it, Lord, that we had our doubts. We have heard the Resurrection story and for so many years it has remained just a nice story. But this time it is different. This time we have walked the path with Christ. We have journeyed through the wilderness and valleys, to the mountaintops to the courtyard, the garden and the cross. Now you bring us to the empty tomb and to the joyous news of the truth of Christ. Forgive us when we so easily doubt the truth of his resurrection. Forgive us when we feel we have to have absolute proof of everything. Your love in Jesus Christ is all the proof we need. You conquered death and sin, you brought us to new life. We praise your holy name and sing our unending song of hope and thanksgiving. Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Come into the light of God’s love! Christ is risen! Death has been swallowed up in victory! Know beyond all doubt that God’s love is always with you, surrounding you, leading you, comforting you. Be at peace. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

How magnificent this place is today. The flowers that grace our worship area shout the good news of new life. Their colors and shapes dance with joy at the news of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we also rise in hope and celebration at this good news. The journey has been long, and it does not end here, but rather we are given new “marching orders” to go forth in confidence for God, to witness to the good news of the resurrection and the power of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We are called to be bearers of the light and hope to areas in which darkness still stands. Keep us open to the needs and hearts of other people. Help us not to be so quick to condemn as we are to love. Help us to reach out in kindness and compassion whenever and wherever we can for healing and hope. Remind us again of the many ways in which you have and continue to bless our lives. For we ask these things in the name of the Resurrected Christ. AMEN.

Litany/Reading

L: Christ is risen!
P: We walked the valleys and saw the people crying in need. Jesus reached out to them. He did not criticize or diminish their needs. He touched their lives and they were never the same. The love that flowed through him to them was God’s healing love.
L: Christ is risen!
P: We sat at table in the Upper Room as Jesus told of his death and we wanted to discount his words. How could he die? We did not want to believe it. It was easier to proclaim with bravado our faith than to listen to his words.
L: Christ is risen!
P: We waited in the Garden of Sorrows while he prayed and watched in horror as he was betrayed with a kiss. We followed at a distance and denied, with Peter, ever knowing who he was. We were in the crowd that clamored for Barabbas’ release and turned our backs as Pilate washed his hands of the crime.
L: Christ is risen!
P: We followed him to the hill and cringed as they nailed him to the Cross. We heard his words of forgiveness and love from the cross and felt the ground tremble as the sky darkened and he gave up his life, into his father’s hands.
L: Christ is risen!
P: We ran from the empty tomb today, with the incredible news that He is Risen! He was not captured by death, but is risen from the dead, just as he said he would be. We come with the joy in our hearts to this day. As the flowers in our worship area burst with color, so we burst with the absolute joyous news CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA. AMEN.

Benediction

Go forth in joy! Let your voices ring with victory; for Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!
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ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

Note: I recommend putting a brief paragraph describing or explaining the symbolism used in your visual display in the worship bulletin.

The traditional color for this day is WHITE. Additionally you may add GOLD to enhance the setting.

Surface: Create several different levels on the main worship table as well as around and in front of the table. These will hold candles and plants.

Fabric: Cover all the surfaces with white cloth. I use about 6 yards of gold cloth streaming down from the center of the worship table, across the “risers” and puddling down on the floor.

Candles: I prefer to use a lot of pillar candles wherever possible, but use what is customarily appropriate for your space.

Flowers/Foliage: What can I say? Easter flowers in their bright array are a wondrous way to celebrate the Resurrection. Some churches prefer Easter Lilies only. Go with your own tradition.

Rocks/Wood: Generally I do not use rocks during this display.

Other: You may use butterflies, or other symbols of the resurrection. We are using a large painting of the resurrected Christ on our worship center, surrounding it with Easter plants and candles. Generally, go with the symbols that shout “Easter!” for you.

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