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Easter Sunday Bulletin – April 4, 2021

Approach

It was early in the morning. Still dark. The dawn just starting to cut through the fog. The air hung heavy with expectation, as if the earth itself were holding its breath. The echoes of the cross linger. His voice still rings out: It Is Finished. Into your hands I commit my spirit. The story comes to us in pieces and fragments, hits and images. A vineyard garden, grapes ready for the harvest. A stone, rolled away. A pile of clothes, folded in an empty tomb but not where they were supposed to be. Simon Peter and another, running in with disbelief. Walking out with questions and with hope. But Mary stays behind. To weep in the garden. And we weep with her. There is no much loss. So much grief. So much death. With her we go into the tomb, and through her tears we see angels, seated where he once was laid. Why are you weeping, they ask us. He is not here. Why do you look for they living among the dead? He. Is. Not. Here.

From the garden she hears a voice: Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She still cannot see. The sun is rising. She is muttering with explanations, but Mary’s heart starts beating with tremors of hope. Whom do you seek? He is not here. And like a voice from heaven, she hears that voice. The voice she is longing for. The gardener speaks her name: Mary. Jesus looks at you and Jesus speaks your name. The world is new as he speaks your name. You are made new as he speaks your name. What the angels said was true and it is true today.

Jesus is alive. Jesus walks. His heart beats in victory. Easter is announced by every breath he takes. Easter means that love has won. Death is finished. Satan is doomed. Evil is conquered. God is good. Love’s redeeming work is done. It. Is. Finished. It. Is. Finished. He is not dead. He is Alive.

(adapted from Rev. Cambron Wright)

 

Call to Worship

One:   We gather
All:     lighting this candle for Christ is alive in our world and our lives.

One:   We gather
All:     a community of faith in God’s subversive world.

One:   We gather to celebrate
All:     that no darkness can extinguish light,

One:   We gather to remember
All:     that love will always be more powerful that death,

One:   We gather to trust that
All:     peace will always be stronger than violence.

One:   We gather
All:     as people of faith in the light of God’s world.

One:   We gather to worship.
All:     We gather together to celebrate this wondrous day.

(adapted from Cheryl Lawrie)


Opening Hymn
–  “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”

Jesus Christ is risen today, hallelujah!
Our triumphant holy day, hallelujah!
Who did once, upon the cross, hallelujah!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Hallelujah!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, hallelujah!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, hallelujah!
Who endured the cross and grave, hallelujah!
Sinners to redeem and save. Hallelujah!

But the pains which he endured, hallelujah!
Our salvation have procured; hallelujah!
Now above the sky he’s King, hallelujah!
Where the angels ever sing. Hallelujah!

Sing we to our God above, hallelujah!
Praise eternal as God’s love; hallelujah!
Praise our God, ye heavenly host, hallelujah!
Praise the Son and Holy Ghost. Hallelujah!

 

Prayer of Approach

We come to you this day, this day when we come to celebrate together the mystery of our faith. We come in joy, singing our songs, offering our prayers of thanks for Christ has risen today and we have risen to new life with him.

Yet we must confess the ways we have continued to remain in our tombs of sin and death. The stone is till held firmly in place. Living Lord, when we stand before the empty tomb, we don’t always feel the joy of resurrection. We feel fear, doubt, and distrust. We often times feel empty. Forgive the fear that paralyzes us at the brink of new life.

Forgive our doubt of your love. Forgive our distrust of your surprising, joyous plan. Fill our emptiness with your glorious light. Raise us to abundant new life for the glory of your name.  Amen.

 

Words of Assurance

Sung Response:

He is Lord! He is Lord!
He is risen from the dead and he is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord!

 

The Word

Scripture Reading:          John 20:1-18

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “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.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God!

Meditation – “To Roll Away the Stone”

Anthem“Hallelujah, Resurrection Morning”

The Response

Communion

Invitation to the Table

One:   The Resurrection has begun! The Day of Celebration is here! Alleluia! We gather at the table to share in the Banquet of Life! Here we meet all who share with us the hope for a brighter future! All who wish to follow The Way of Life are welcome to eat and drink at God’s table. Let us eat together.

Thanksgiving

One:   Christ is Risen!
All:     He is Risen Indeed!

One:   We should give thanks!
All:     Thanks and praise to the One who brings life!

One:   Gracious God, we raise voices hoarse from shouting alleluias, we sing praises for the wonder of an empty tomb, we give thanks for the gifts of life, of life that breaks the bonds of death. We sing songs of praise for the world you have given us, for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies. As the spring deepens and the earth thaws, as green breaks through the brown of winter, we sing songs of hope for new life springing from dead soil, for the promise held in every see that is sown.

As people of faith we remember all those who have gone before. People like Moses and Miriam, leading their people to freedom, like Sarah and Abraham, seeking a new life in a strange land, like Peter and Mary, proclaiming an empty tomb and life beyond the cross. We remember these and many others, named and unnamed, who have embraced Your life, Your hope, and moved into a new age. And we trust that in remembering and retelling their stories, we too can take the leap into New Life.

Deep among all those memories we remember the life of a Special One. Jesus, Child of Mary. Born of a woman, he grew to adulthood among people who struggled daily for life. Baptized by John, he embraced the life to which You called him. He taught and preached a vision of a world where all divisions were broken down, where all had what they needed for abundant life, where the Reign of God was as real on earth as in heaven. And though the powerful in his world fought back, he stood strong. When offered a chance to take the easy way he overcame his own fear and instead prayed “yet Thy will be done”. Even though they put him to death you raise him to life, vindicating his vision and bringing hope and healing to the world.

As inheritors of that hope we join together in the cries that welcomed him into Jerusalem, the cries of hopes for the world: Hosanna! Hosanna! Holy One! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

Remembering

As we gather at this table, we remember a story told mere days ago and yet also an age ago. We remember that Jesus gathered with his closest friends in an Upper Room to share the feast of liberation. And while sharing the ancient story of freedom, he called them to remember the promised freedom of God’s Kingdom.

We remember that at that table he took the bread, gave thanks for it, blessed it, broke it and passed it among them saying: “This is my body, broken by and for the world. Whenever you eat it remember me.”

Then later he took the cup, blessed it and passed it among them saying: “This is the cup of the New Covenant, sealed in my blood. Whenever you drink it remember me, and look toward the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom.”

As so we break the bread and pour the cup and we remember with hope. On this Easter Day we share in the Banquet of Freedom to celebrate Life Victorious!

Transforming

God of Life, in the beginning your Spirit hovered over the water, calling forth life, creating and inspiring. Your presence was with all creation from the firs times. Your presence has been with us since the first times. We ask that your presence be felt this day, you presence of hope and healing be with those in this community whom we life up in prayer to you this day, hoping that they are transformed by your presence, as we pray for…

Send Your Spirit upon we who gather to share this meal, infuse this bread and this juice with the Spirit’s power, as we eat and drink may we feel the power of Life Triumphant pulse in our veins, the fire of hope blaze in our hearts and the joy of the Empty tomb dance in our souls. Christ who died is now alive! Alleluia! Amen. And so, as children of a loving Parent, we pray together words that Jesus, the Risen Christ, taught his friends…

All:     Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Amen.

Breaking and Pouring

One:   Here at this table we break the Bread of Life. On this Day of Celebration we pour the Cup of Promise. These are the Gifts from God for the People of God. Thanks be to God. Come and eat, for all is now ready.

Music – “Joy Comes with the Dawn”

Joy comes with the dawn;
Joy come with the morning sun;
Joy springs from the tomb and scatters the night with her song,
Joy comes with the dawn.

The Bread of Life

We will rejoice,
We will rejoice, and give praise,
To the One who brings us grace.

The Cup of Salvation

Joy comes with the dawn;
Joy come with the morning sun;
Joy springs from the tomb and scatters the night with her song,
Joy comes with the dawn.

Prayer After Communion

We have eaten, we have drunk, we have embraced the beginning of the new age. Grant, O God, that we who have gathered together on this Day of Resurrection, will move on as people of hope, people of life, people of the Kingdom. May the meal we have shared today revive us in body and soul and energize us as we go out to share the Good News. Christ is Risen! Death is Defeated! Life Wins! Alleluia and Amen!

(adapted from RevGord)

Music – “Happy Day”

Greatest day in history;
Death is beaten, You have rescued me.
Sing it out, Jesus is alive.
Empty cross, the empty grave,
Life eternal, You have won the day.
Shout it out: Jesus is alive,
He’s alive.

And oh, happy day, happy day,
You’ve washed my sin away.
Oh, happy day, happy day,
I’ll never be the same.

Forever I am changed.

When I stand in that place,
Free at last, meeting face to face.
I am Yours, Jesus, You are mine.
Endless joy, perfect peace,
Earthly pain finally will cease.
Celebrate, Jesus is alive,
He’s alive.

And oh, happy day, happy day,
You’ve washed my sin away.
Oh, happy day, happy day,
I’ll never be the same.

Forever I am changed.

Oh, what a glorious day,
What a glorious Way
That You have saved me.
And oh, what a glorious day,
What a glorious name.
Hey!

And oh, happy day, happy day,
You’ve washed my sin away.
Oh, happy day, happy day,
I’ll never be the same.

Forever I am changed.

I’ll never be the same.

Benediction

Go out into the world, from this time together, as the people of God in this place, as we go, may the God who raised Jesus from the dead grant you grace. May the Son who gave his life for you give you peace. And may the Spirit who is with you day by day inspire you to greater service both today, tomorrow, and every day. Amen.

Sung Response:

Christ is alive, and comes to bring good news to this and every age,
Till earth and sky and ocean ring with joy, with justice, love, and peace.

Categories: General News, Sunday Bulletin and Announcements, Worship