Worship Elements: March 31, 2024

March 1st, 2021

Color: White
Scripture Readings: Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

Theme Ideas

Resurrection—new life! This is the heart of the Christian message and what we are called to witness to at all times. On this glorious feast day, we celebrate God’s steadfast love, God conquering fear and death, and the fact that this message is for everyone. With Paul and Peter, this day is a chance to affirm the basis of our beliefs. We need also to recover that sense of grief and despair that brings Mary to the garden in order to fully understand and participate in the astonishment and joy at finding her beloved, risen from the dead. This possibility of encountering the Risen Christ is there for all of us to experience. It is this active, risen presence that needs to come through our liturgies for today.

Call to Worship (John 20)

Out of the darkness of grief and despair
comes a message of hope. Christ is risen.
Christ is risen, indeed.
We run to the tomb to see for ourselves.
And it is true. Christ is risen.
Christ is risen, indeed.
We hear a voice call our name,
and we know our risen Lord
is with us now and always.
Christ is risen.
Christ is risen, indeed.
Thanks be to God.

Call to Worship (Psalm 118)

Come, give thanks to our God.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
God is our strength and might and salvation.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Because of this love, we shall not die.
This is God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that our God has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Call to Worship (Acts 10)

We have a message to preach to all.
Christ is risen.
Christ lived and preached love and liberation among us.
We are witnesses to his mighty acts.
Christ rose from the dead and appears to us still.
We rejoice in the living Savior.
Come; let us worship the God of love and life.

Contemporary Gathering Words (John 20, Easter)

Why have you come this morning?
We come to experience the Risen Christ.
How will you know him?
Through the love and life we feel present
in this gathering of the Body of Christ.

What will you do with this experience?
We will go forth, witnesses to this amazing act of love.
Come, then, people of God, let us worship our Easter God.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 118)

This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Praise the God of this day,
whose steadfast love endures forever.
Praise the God of salvation who does marvelous things.
Praise the God of everlasting life.

Opening Prayer (John 20, Easter)

O God of all our days,
we come this morning with eager anticipation.
We seek to know you, to see you, to touch you.
Open our hearts,
that we might experience you anew.
Open our lives,
that we may be faithful witnesses
to your resurrection.
May we, with shouts of joy,
proclaim your steadfast, liberating love
to all people, everywhere. Amen.

Opening Prayer (John 20, Easter)

O God,
bless us this morning with resurrection rampage—
a rampage that summons us to shout yes
to the birth of new creation in our midst.
May we experience the birthquakes of new life
in our lives and in our congregation.
The Son is up!
And we are up with the Son,
despite all those things
that seek to pull us down to despair.
We are your Easter people. Amen.

Unison Prayer (Easter)

O God of Easter joy,
we come this morning
with glad shouts of acclamation.
Christ is risen.
Christ is risen, indeed.
May this time of worship
help us to truly and fully experience this Risen Christ.
May we be transformed.
transformed into your butterfly people,
winging through the earth
with messages of beauty, hope and life.

Benediction (John 20)

Go forth as God’s chosen witnesses, to proclaim all you have heard and seen and experienced.
We go forth in the name of the Risen Christ.
Go forth sustained by God’s steadfast love.
We go forth transformed and transforming.
Go forth with shouts of joy.
Christ is risen, indeed.

Benediction (John 20)

We have come from darkness and despair
to hope and joy.
We have been transformed by new life.
Go forth to witness and to testify to the message of hope
we have received this day.
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.

From “The Abingdon Worship Annual,” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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