You can watch our Easter service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time, and some water in any kind of container (a bowl, a cup, a bottle, a rainboot, whatever), so that we can all reflect together on the everlasting love that God offers us in baptism.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Acts 10:39-41)
The crucified one is risen from the dead.
We are witnesses: Christ is risen indeed!
Let us pray: Brightness of God’s glory and exact image of God’s person, whom death could not conquer nor the tomb imprison, as you have shared our frailty in human flesh, help us to share your immortality in the Spirit. Let no shadow of the grave terrify us, and no fear of darkness turn our herts from you. Reveal yourself to us this day and all our days, as the first and the last, the Living One, our immortal Savior and Lord. Amen.
CALL TO THANKSGIVING
In the season of Easter, we use this time to offer our thanks to God, rather than our confessions, because Christ has died for our sins and has risen to give us new life.
Please join me in the prayer of thanksgiving, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Eternal God, we praise you that your glory has dawned on us, and brought us into this Day of Resurrection. We rejoice that the grave could not hold your Son, and that he has conquered death, risen to rule over all powers of this earth. We praise you that he summons us into new life, to follow him with joy and gladness. By your Spirit, lift us from doubt and despair, and set our feet in Christ’s holy way, that our lives may be signs of his life, and all we have may show forth his love. Praise, glory, and thanksgiving to you, our God, forever and ever. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what are you thankful for this week?
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Let us pray: Living God, with joy we celebrate the presence of your risen Word. Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of eternal and abundant life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
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. 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.’
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 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. 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.’
When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’
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.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).
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.” ’
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.
- Is it significant that this story takes place “on the first day of the week”?
- Why do you think Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus at first?
- Two times, Jesus asks Mary “Why are you weeping?” What are the burdens weighing you down this week? If Jesus asked you why you were weeping, how would you respond?
- Jesus asks Mary to share the news of Jesus’ return. How can you share the good news of Jesus this week?
- You are invited to share signs of encouragement and positivity in your windows and yards in this time of creatively alternative communication. Consider printing this alleluia butterfly or this stained glass lily to color and display.
1 “Christ the Lord is risen today!” Alleluia!
All creation, join to say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, O heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
2 Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia!
3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Jesus died, our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where your victory, O grave? Alleluia!
4 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven! Alleluia!
Praise to you by both be given, Alleluia!
Every knee to you shall bow, Alleluia!
Risen Christ, triumphant now. Alleluia!
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
“At that time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
Again you shall take your tambourines,
and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “An Everlasting Love,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Almighty God, your promises are sure, your love unrelenting, your power unmatched. We bow before you, humbled by your grace, awed by your mercy, rejoicing in your kindness. We do not pretend to understand the mystery of resurrection, but we cannot help but recognize our risen Lord among us, present in our suffering, visible in new creation.
Gracious Lord, we cannot meet you on the outskirts of the graveyard and not fall on our knees and worship. You suffered and died to forgive us. You became incarnate to show us God’s love for us. You healed and fed, taught and preached, prayed and ate with sinners to show us God’s will for us. You went to the tomb and were raised from the dead to defeat evil and bring life eternal for the sake of the world. Hear our praise as we shout alleluia and tell all the earth of your glorious resurrection.
You call us by name, Lord of all. Hearing our weeping, you refuse to leave us alone in our grief. Trusting your compassion, we share our deepest hopes and our greatest fears. We lift up to your light those crying in the night. We give thanks for those who have fallen ill and then recovered. Comfort the many who mourn, families unable to hold funerals, doctors and nurses confronted constantly with death, people longing to touch those isolated by this pandemic. We remember your call to care for the least of these and ask that you would give us the wisdom to serve in ways that show your love for all people. When we cannot physically be present, send your Spirit as we send our notes, make our calls and do all we can to visit those in prison, house those without shelter and heal the sick. Help us to feed those who hunger physically, spiritually or emotionally. May your body, the Church, be united in our caring, radical in our generosity, and stalwart in our advocacy.
As this public health crisis lingers in the spring and likely drags into the summer, grant us courage for the living of these days. When our patience is slim and our frustration is misdirected, gently correct us. When we hurt those closest to us and fail to be our best selves, forgive us and remind us to forgive others.
When this season of isolation and sickness comes to an end, do not let us forget the lessons this forced physical distancing have taught us. Take this trying time, these struggles and hardships, and use them for good in ways we cannot now envision, but that you have the power and will to enact.
On this day of resurrection, filled with fear and joy, we worship, we sing, we weep, we give thanks, and most of all, we marvel at your unwillingness to leave us to the consequences of our actions, your tenacious desire to be in relationship with us and your amazing grace through which you have saved us. We make our prayer in the name of the one who taught us to say when we pray:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
HYMN Thine Is The Glory
1 Thine is the glory,
risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory
thou o’er death hast won.
Angels in bright raiment
rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave-clothes
where thy body lay.
Thine is the glory,
risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory
thou o’er death hast won.
2 Lo! Jesus meets us,
risen from the tomb;
lovingly he greets us,
scatters fear and gloom.
Let the church with gladness
hymns of triumph sing,
for the Lord now liveth;
death hath lost its sting. [Refrain]
3 No more we doubt thee,
glorious Prince of life!
Life is naught without thee;
aid us in our strife.
Make us more than conquerors
through thy deathless love;
bring us safe through Jordan
to thy home above. [Refrain]
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace.
Even if you stand alone outside the tomb, unsure of what may be to come,
even if you can’t recognize Jesus,
even if it is still dark,
know that Christ is with you
and know that Christ is risen–risen indeed. Alleluia!
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us at about 11am or a little before with this link. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003.