Christ the Lord is risen, and we live in Him.
WELCOME TO WORSHIP – Rev. Aho
PRELUDE arr., D. Phillips “Resurrection Celebration”
Cindy Joy and Haven Parrott
MUSIC FOR CELEBRATION – J. Raney “Introit for Easter”
This is the day for celebration, this is the day of goodness and light.
Earth and sky and all creation celebrate the wonder of life!
Christ is risen, sing hosanna, lift your voices to the sky.
Christ is risen, alleluia! He is alive, he lives on high!
~J. Raney ©2006, Hope Pub. CCLI#1049296
CALL TO WORSHIP
(This may be read in unison or shared between readers in your home.)
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
Christ is risen indeed!
Open the gates of justice and righteousness,
that we may give thanks to God.
Today we enter the gates of the Holy One
as the body of Christ.
We are called to do justice and love kindness.
Today is the day of celebration and promise.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
Christ is risen indeed!
HYMN OF CELEBRATION EASTER HYMN
“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O Death, is now thy sting! Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where they victory, O Grave? Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened Paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
~Text by Charles Wesley
CHILDREN’S TIME – Mrs. Kristin Archer and Family
SCRIPTURE READING – John 20.1-18
MUSIC FOR WORSHIP G. F. Handel “Thine Is the Glory” arr., H. Hopson
Thine is the glory, risen, conquering Son.
Endless is the victory, Thou o’er death has won!
~Text by E. L. Budry
©1994 H. W. Gray Pub. CCLI#1049296
Near this part of the service each week, we take up an offering. It is important for us to remember that our offering not only supports the ministry of the church but is an expression of our thankfulness for all God has given us. We give today because God first gave to us.
AN EASTER DEVOTIONAL – Rev. Aho
It has become a cliché, but my goodness, this is a strange Easter, isn’t it! Typically for Easter we gather. We share meals, worship, watch kids have Easter egg hunts, and spend time with family and friends against the brilliant backdrop of spring. For many, Easter is spring’s sartorial high point marked by new dresses and a dapper suits. But this year, the suits and dresses are for family and Instagram this year since we cannot gather corporately.
This Easter, more than any other, our patterns are upended. Stepping back, can we see that this year’s upheaval challenges why we do all that we typically do? Though talk of our wardrobes may seem trivial, on Easter new clothes, new colors, and a new season is an outward expression of the day’s importance. Easter changed everything. This IS why we celebrate! But when we think back to that first Easter with the disciples, this year feels more like that than we have ever experienced before, doesn’t?
In John 20, only three disciples left their houses on Easter Morning. Mary Magdalene went first, then Peter and the disciple Jesus loved. They an empty tomb before they returned home. Only later does Jesus reveal himself to Mary and with the instruction to go tell the disciples. Did she go door-to-door? Were at home? Hiding? Contemplating? They were surely scared because when they got together later, it was in a private room behind a locked door. On that first Easter, God brought Jesus back to life without a hitch, but it was quietly. Most people had no idea what was happening.
Does that lead you to see some parallels? Easter is quiet this year. We are not gathering or traveling. Our predictable seasonal activities are on the back burner. But this year will we see Easter anew? Can we see more clearly now that Easter is about God and not our activities?
On Easter, our Lord is resurrected from the tomb and some 2000 years later, that is the cause of our typical celebrations and gatherings. God’s action is why we dress up for worship. Resurrection changed that morning, and we respond to that, whether we are locked in a room our having a family meal. Jesus rises whether we are on quarantine on or cloud nine. And the tomb is empty even though we are stuck at home looking for a new response.
So this morning, on Easter Sunday, though we do not sing with the collective joy that we have grown accustomed to, though we cannot gather in our Easter best, and though we cannot mark the changing of the seasons in ways we deeply love, we can still embrace the risen Jesus Christ. We can still give thanks for the God who reaches beyond stones in front of tombs and beyond locked doors. And we can still turn our hearts to the Lord who meets us where we are, wherever that is. Because on Easter, God broke the boundaries we knew. God did something different, beyond our imagination. And to that end, this Easter, as people who are bound up by circumstances beyond our control, I pray we will let God reach us, fill us, and bring us though the joy of this season. I pray that our experience of Easter today, gives us a new way to see resurrection. And I pray that, having experienced one Easter stuck at home like the disciples, in the celebrations to come, our new clothes will not just be on our outsides, but they will reflect of the joy and spirit we have on our the inside thanks to God’s. For on this day, we remember that God is not stuck in a grave, and can surely reach us, even at home.
BENEDICTION (read together in unison)
We go with the blessings of the one who forgives our failings.
We go with the blessings of the one who saves us and heals our hearts.
We go with God. Amen!