The season of Eastertide is a time of joy and celebration, yes, but also a time to practice our resurrection life in Christ. If Easter Sunday is a time when you welcome new and returning neighbors into community, Eastertide offers opportunities to build community with one another as we rehearse the hope we have through the resurrection of Christ. Throughout this series, you will find the usual liturgical resources, as well as liturgical practices that offer opportunities for your congregation to embody their response to the proclamation of the day. As you begin worship planning for Eastertide, we encourage you to take a moment to explore all of the liturgical resources at once to get a feel for which of these practices you might want to implement in your context. Consider the ways you can use these rituals to extend what happens in worship into your congregants’ lives throughout the week. Maybe you will decide to post a question on social media in the middle of the week, asking for peoples’ testimonies that you then share on Sunday morning. Maybe you will put a call out several weeks ahead of time for people to collect rocks in their backyard that they can bring as an offering on the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Maybe you will use a prayer or ritual from this series to open your church’s committee meetings to nourish and guide the spiritual lives of those in leadership. As you use and adapt these resources in your context, we pray that they will cultivate hope and joy in the life of your congregation this Easter season.
Call to Worship
Protect us, O God, for in you we take refuge;
Let us say to God, “You are our Lord; we have no good apart from you.”
Today, we come to worship God in truth and turn away from worshiping the idols all around us.
God delights in our sincere worship, but sorrow visits those who give their worship to idols.
We bless the Lord who gives counsel, who instructs our hearts in the secret of the night.
We keep the Lord always before us so that we shall not be moved from God’s ways.
Our hearts are glad, our souls rejoice, and our bodies rest secure,
Because God keeps us from destruction in this life and the next.
God shows us the path of life,
And in God’s presence is the fullness of joy forevermore.
And so, we say to God,
“You are our Lord; we have no good apart from you.” Amen.
Adapted from Psalm 16 NRSVUE by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Discipleship Ministries, October 2022.
Prayer for the Day
Good and gracious God,
Our most glorious Creator,
As we greet the signs in nature around us:
Of Spring once again regaling us in bloom,
In the songs of returning birds and fields soon to be planted,
We give you praise for an even greater sign of new life: the resurrection of your Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we especially celebrate at this time.
The sadness and despair of his death has given way to the bright promise of immortality.
For the Resurrection is our guarantee that justice will triumph over treason, Light will overcome
darkness, and love will conquer death.
As we celebrate, we also dare to ask for your grace that we may live the promise given to us,
By imitating the life of Jesus in reaching out to the poor, the marginalized, the least among us as we strive to be neighbor to all those we meet.
We praise you in this Easter season. Change our lives, change our hearts to be messengers of
Easter joy and hope.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord forever.
Adapted from “An Easter Prayer” written by Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, offered at the fourth annual White House Easter Prayer Breakfast on April 8, 2013. https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/easter-prayers#:~:text=We%20praise%20you%20in%20this,Amen.
Prayer of Confession
One: Risen Lord Jesus, what is it that keeps us from recognizing you?
Two: When we are so full of ourselves,
it is all too easy to block you right out of our lives.
One: Maybe it’s the way we interpret Scripture
that obscures the signs pointing to you.
Two: Perhaps we are guilty of being slow of heart
when we don’t recognize you in our neighbor,
or in the guise of the poor or the dispossessed.
One: Our eyes and ears have become so crammed
with the sights and sounds of living
that we simply fail to see you or to recognize your voice.
Risen Lord Jesus,
help us to empty ourselves of all that hinders
our awareness of your presence with us.
Fill us with the joy of knowing your continuing presence,
so that, like the disciples who first encountered the Resurrected Christ,
we too might hasten to share this great good news with others.
Assurance of Pardon
(based on 1 Peter 1:18, 23; John 3:17-18)
We know that we were ransomed from futile ways
...with the precious blood of Christ...
and have been born anew
through the living and enduring word of God.
In this we recognize God’s great love for the world
revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus...
who came into the world not to condemn it
but to save it.
Those who believe in him are not condemned.
Thanks be to God!
Adapted from “Confession: Recognizing Jesus” by Moira Laidlaw, at Liturgies Online. Re-posted at https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/04/easter-3-prayer-of-confession.html.
May you go forth carrying the joy that is yours as a child of God and an heir to resurrection life through Jesus Christ. May that joy fill you up and fuel your journey as we ask in the wake of the resurrection, “What now?” Amen.
Written by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Discipleship Ministries, October 2022.
Affirmation of Faith
(based on 1 Peter 1:3-9)
We believe in God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whose mercy we are given new birth
into a living hope through
Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
We believe that through Christ
we are born into an inheritance
that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading;
and into a present salvation that will be revealed
in its fullness in the last time.
We believe that until that time,
the Spirit works in us
to grow the genuineness of our faith,
that we may give praise, glory, and honor
when Jesus, whom we love but have not seen,
is revealed. Amen.
Adapted from 1 Peter 1:3-9 by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Discipleship Ministries, October 2022.