Terror and Amazement

Living the Resurrection

Easter Sunday, Year B

Let there be joy – however it takes to project it, whether in person or through a screen or even in print. Tell jokes, funny stories; let there be laughter. Easter is a day to feel, even more than to understand. It is a day to accept more than a day to explain. Even though our foundations have been shaken, we move forward, because that is where the Risen one is going. He is going ahead of you. Let’s keep moving forward.

We advocate pulling out all the stops for the Easter celebration, whatever that means in your context. It might be big and loud and lots of extra musicians and dancers and dramatic readers. Or it might be adding food and extra hospitality to the welcome center of your building. It might mean bringing the children into the full worship experience and letting them lead when appropriate. It might be something radically different or familiar and loved traditions wrapping the worshipers in comfort and welcome. Whatever says “Christ is Risen” with passion and enthusiasm in your context should be considered.

Of course, we don’t know at this time what restrictions will still be in place in April 2021. And even if you are fully back with in-person worship, perhaps your online experience opened doors that you want to keep open. So, considering what works online and not just in the sanctuary is always an important consideration.

Whatever speaks of joy on this day is important – not a false joy based on performance or spoken lines, but a genuine joy that grows out of a love for one another and for the Christ we worship together. Bring your whole self to worship this day. And, lest it be forgotten, every time you gather for worship!

Christ is Risen!

A Choral Call to Worship for Four Voices

Voice 1: Christ is risen!

All Voices: Christ is risen indeed!

Voice 2: Christ is risen!

All Voices: Christ is risen indeed!

Voice 3: Exhale. [pause] Go ahead, exhale. Breathe out. Let go. On this Easter Sunday, allow your souls to be replenished. Take in the joy. Take in peace. Take in the togetherness. Take what you need.

Voice 1: And wonder. Wonder, and imagine, and reflect, and question, and listen. Listen deeply to the words and the songs. Listen deeply to the Holy Spirit. And hear the words that God has for you.

Voice 4: We emerge from the long days of Lent; our journey through the wilderness. And we acknowledge that there is a darkness that seems to loom in this world. And we remember that nestled within the great mystery of the Resurrection is a great light. Search for that light, that hope on this day.

Voice 2: So, we come into this space, this sacred space, and we bring ourselves; our whole selves. We encourage you to embrace your body and we invite you to use your body to give God a hand clap of praise, to sing, to jump around, to dance, to celebrate. And, as we celebrate the Risen Savior, we invite you to bring your full selves into worship because Christ is risen!

All Voices: Christ is risen!

All Voices: Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Ashley Johnson, Easter Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.

Call to Worship for Easter

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

Written by Hippolytus (AD 190-236), reposted https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2016/03/easter-call-to-worship.html.

Prayers of the People: Easter

Sing aloud, O mothers and sons!
Fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers,
rejoice and exult with all your hearts!
Let us offer our prayers and thanksgivings with one voice,
calling out the good news —

The tomb stands empty!

We look for our Savior among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in our midst today.

We pray for all faithful people —
for every human soul that turns to God in longing and in love.
Today and every day, pull us out of our graves and into your life.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Redeemer among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and among us today.

We pray for the nations of the earth —
for those in authority, and for those under authority.
Come from the four winds, O Breath of Life,
and we shall live together in peace.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Mediator among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and within us today.

We pray for this world, our garden home —
for the rain and the snow, the seed and the sprout —
for the birthing room and the last place of rest —
for every new creation.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Gardener among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and beside us today.

We pray for those who are sick or suffering —
for anyone who needs extra help just now.
We pray especially for those named here today,
aloud and in our hearts . . .
(pause for names to be said or remembered)
Living Lord, renew them in Your love.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Sustainer among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and with us today.

We pray for those who have died, and for all who mourn.
We pray especially for those named here today,
aloud and in our hearts . . . (pause for names) . . .
Eternal One, bring them home and gather them in.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Beloved among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in the midst of us today.

With joy and exultation,
we give thanks for the triumph of life over death,
offering special thanks for those joys, sorrows,
challenges and delights named here today,
aloud and in our hearts . . . (pause for thanksgivings) . . .
We are amazed at what has happened.

The tomb stands empty!

We look for our Creator among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in our hearts today.

Holy One, even before we call, you answer;
while we are yet speaking, you hear.
We offer up these prayers in the name of the Risen Christ —
our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend.

Amen.

Written by Margaret D. McGee, and posted on In the Courtyard. www.inthecourtyard.com, reposted https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/02/prayer-for-others-easter.html.

Crying is Welcome Here

A prayer inspired by John 20:1-18

Mary cried.
She wept.
She had the courage to cry.
So, we can cry like Mary.
Even on this Easter Sunday, we can cry like Mary.
Crying is welcome here.

In fact, we must cry.
We must cry when we’re hurting.
We must cry with the missing.
We must cry with the dead.
We must cry with those who suffer.
We must cry with the marginalized, the silenced, and the forgotten.
We must cry with those who lack bread.
We must cry.
Crying is welcome here.

If we don’t cry, if we don’t cry out,
If we try too hard to be strong for too long,
If we don’t release the pain,
We will hurt only ourselves.
We must cry.

How else will we be able to see our need for the Resurrected Savior in our midst?
Crying is welcome here.

Ashley Johnson, Easter Liturgical Resources from Africana Writers, edited by Safiya Fosua, 2020.

Easter Confession

Christ, we come to the empty tomb,
we see our own death,
we see our own tomb, we see our own emptiness.
And we remember how we have treated other people—
members of our family, friends and neighbors.

Lord, we come to your tomb,
we see a hungry world before us,
the pain of starving children,
the guilt of war on our hands,
and we know that collectively we share in those injustices.

Lord we come to the empty tomb,
we search within ourselves and we cannot escape what we are,
people caught up in the pain of our own wrongdoing,
for some a deep sense of loneliness
and a frustration of what we would be but are not.

Lord, when we come to the empty tomb,
we lay before you our pain,
our emptiness and look to you for hope.

People of God,
why do you seek the living among the dead in an empty tomb?
Are you afraid, are you uncertain, and are you uncomfortable here?

Our wounds are deep,
we have turned away from that man,
we have broken with him
and seek his fellowship.

Do not dwell on your wounds any longer
for he has risen to heal you,
he has risen to forgive you;
he has risen to change us all and bind us together now.
Christ has risen to forgive us.

Thanks be to God.

Excerpted from Service of Holy Communion 2010, posted on the River of Life website. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/easter-confession.html.

Easter Benediction

May the loving power of God,
which raised Jesus to new life,
strengthen you in hope,
enrich you with his love,
and fill you with joy in the faith.

Posted on the Third Space website. http://third-space.org.uk/blog, reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/02/easter-benediction.html.

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes