Worship Connection: April 16, 2017

March 15th, 2017

Easter Sunday

Lections: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: What a great day this is! Shout Alleluia!
P: Alleluia!
L: Is that the best you can do? The Lord is rsen. He is risen indeed. So shout it as though you ean it, with everything you have.
P: ALLELUIA!

Call to Worship #2:
L: Welcome to this joyous Easter day!
P: Praise God for the brightness and color.
L: The darkness has been overcome. Jesus Christ has defeated our greatest fear, death.
P: He is risen from the dead. ALLELUIA!
L: Sing your praises to the Lord!
P: For God has given to us new life! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2026, “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

Soloist: singing “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah” through one time; then
Choir: singing with the soloist “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah” through one more time

L: Do not stand at the tomb and weep. Christ is risen!
P: Do not let your hearts be in morning: Christ is risen!
L: Run to tell others the great good news: Christ is risen!
P: Believe the good news Christ is risen! HALLELUJAH!

Choir/Congregation singing “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah” through three times

Call to Worship #4:

L: Don’t weep! Don’t mourn! There is great Good News!
P: Christ the Lord is risen today!
L: Put away your garments of mourning; let the light of God’s love flood into your lives.
P: Christ the Lord is risen today!
L: No more do we have to fear the darkness; it has been overcome by God’s light.
P: Christ the Lord is risen today. ALLELUIA!

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Loving God of light, we hid in the darkness and you brought the light of Salvation to our eyes and our spirits. We praise you for the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have received the greatest good news of healing, hope, and restoration. Praise be to you, eternal God, for this gift of love. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, we confess that like the disciples of old, we ran and hid, in our hearts, from the terror and sadness of the crucifixion. We didn’t want to be there. We found ways of avoiding the scene and pretending that it was all a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream. Jesus our Lord was crucified. That’s a fact. And we were numbed by the news. But now we have been given the most blessed gift of forgiveness for our stupidity and stubbornness; we have been given the gift of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. New Light has shined in our deep darkness. Restore us again to your presence. Soften our hard hearts. Brighten our spirits, for we ask this in the name of the Resurrected One, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Do not fear. God has conquered death. Jesus Christ, who was crucified, is risen from the dead. Love has been poured out again for each one of us. ALLELUIA! AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord of mystery and marvels, you have walked with us on this Lenten journey. You have seen how we have responded to those whom Jesus encountered along the path. We have heard their stories and have seen their pain. We have witnessed the love that Jesus offered to them and the miracles that have taken place in their lives. Now we gather on this brilliant day in a place filled with candles and flowers, where the music soars and the spirits of all are lifted in joy. Be with us again, reminding us that the journey to the cross does not end in death, but becomes a road of joy. Lift our hearts and our spirits to sing your praises in gratitude for all that you have done for us. Let the light of Jesus Christ shine on us, in us, and through us as witness to your eternal presence and love for us; for we ask this in his name. AMEN.

Reading

[This is a retelling of the Easter story. You might consider using this in the place of reading the lesson from John’s gospel.]

How early it is! The sky is changing from deep darkness to the faded blue-gray of morning light. Now is her time to go to the tomb--in the dimness of early morning light, before the others awake--just to be there, near his tomb just one more time. And she runs to the place where he is buried, but the stone is rolled away. How can this be? This stone takes a number of strong workmen to put in place. It was guarded. But now no one is there and the stone is rolled away. She is frightened and runs back to tell Peter and the other disciples: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter and John run to the tomb. John reached the tomb first and looked in, and he did not see the body in the tomb; Peter went into the tomb and said that the body definitely was not there. He saw the linen wrappings lying there and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, but it wasn’t lying with the other linen wrappings; it was rolled up in a place by itself. John entered the tomb and was overwhelmed by the disappearance of Jesus. So they left the tomb and went back to their place of hiding.

But Mary stayed, stunned and fearful. As she wept, she bent over and looked in the tomb, and there she saw two angels in white, one at the place where Jesus’ head had lain, and other at the place where the feet had been. “Woman, why are you weeping?” they asked her. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him,” she responded. She turned around and saw someone whom she supposed to be the gardener, the one who attends to the burial sites. She did not know it was Jesus. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She was astonished at his words and through her tears implored him to tell him where the body had been taken. “Where has he been taken? If you tell me, I will go and take him away.” And then she heard it, the sound that would ring in her ears and in her heart for the rest of her life: “Mary!” he said her name. “Mary!” and in an instant, she knew who he was. “Teacher,” she cried and fell to her knees in front of him, seeking to embrace him. “Mary, 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.'” And with tears of joy, Mary ran from the place and went to the disciples, announcing, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Benediction

Alleluia! This is a day of new beginnings! This is the day of brightness and hope! For God has done wondrous things for us! Go in joyful peace and know that God’s peace and love go with you always. ALLELUIA! AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional Color for today is: WHITE.

Each church has their own tradition of worship setting for Easter Sunday. In many churches, bright flowers fill the worship center. Set up the worship center according to the tradition of your church. If you wish and have been following the Lenten theme CLOSE ENCOUNTERS AT THE CROSS, you might consider placing the candles that were extinguished on Good Friday back into the worship setting. They may be placed on free-standing candle stands or directly on the worship center itself. At this point the tradition of the church is important.

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