|Dear Members and Friends,
Things are all mixed up. I’m not sure what I’m feeling. Are you clearer in your own self about your feelings? We won’t worship in our church building. We won’t gather with friends or family. No sharing a meal. Flowers are on the verge of blooming, but they’re not quite there. We’ve been living for weeks with worry, sadness, and scariness. If only Easter worship could lift our spirits! But we won’t hear the organ, a brass ensemble, or feel the joy of singing together. Where and how will we celebrate new life tomorrow?
Tomorrow is Easter. I wonder if this year Easter will be a vision, a becoming that calls us into the future.
LIFE IN THE CHURCH
CALL TO WORSHIP
Beloved, why are your weeping?
The tomb is empty,
The grave clothes are cast aside.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR TAMBOURINES AND DANCING,
FOR VICTORY SONGS AND SHOUTS OF JOY!
See and believe: Our redeemer lives!
O GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR GOD IS GOOD;
GOD’S STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!
Christ is risen!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!
INVITATION TO CONFESSION
The Spirit of God helps us in our weakness,
interceding with sighs too deep for words.
Trusting in God’s grace, we confess our sin.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
LIKE THE WOMEN WHO CAME TO YOUR TOMB
AS THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK WAS DAWNING
AND FOUND THE TOMB EMPTY,
WE HAVE SUCH GOOD NEWS TO TELL.
FOR YOU, LORD,
HAVE CAST OFF YOUR GRAVE CLOTHES
AND SHATTERED THE POWERS OF SIN AND DEATH.
BUT WE HAVE HEARD THIS NEWS BEFORE.
HOW OFTEN HAVE WE LET OUR “ALLELUIAS” FALL SILENT
AS WE PASSED THROUGH THE CHURCH DOORS?
HOW OFTEN HAVE WE RETURNED TO DAILY ROUTINES
AS IF EASTER CHANGES NOTHING?
HOW OFTEN HAVE OUR ACTIONS BELIED
THE POWER OF RESURRECTION TO
TRANSFORM OUR WORLD?
FORGIVE US FOR OUR HALF-HEARTED WITNESS.
FREE US FROM THE BINDINGS OF FEAR OR INDIFFERENCE,
DISAPPOINTMENT OR DISENCHANTMENT.
FILL US WITH THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION
AND SEND US INTO THE WORLD
TO PROCLAIM IN WORD AND DEED
THAT WE HAVE SEEN THE LORD!
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Hear the good news of God’s promise.
I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
PASSING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
The peace of Christ be with you.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
SONG: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
NURTURING GOD, FEED OUR HUNGRY SPIRITS WITH YOUR LIFE-GIVING, HOPE-INSPIRING WORD. AMEN.
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-34
“Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers and sisters that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there.”
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH from a Brief Statement of Faith,1991
IN LIFE AND IN DEATH WE BELONG TO GOD.
THROUGH THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
THE LOVE OF GOD,
AND THE COMMUNION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
WE TRUST IN THE ONE TRIUNE GOD,
THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL,
WHOM ALONE WE WORSHIP AND SERVE.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION AND LORD’S PRAYER
The Lord be with you.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Lift up your hearts.
WE LIFT THEM TO THE LORD.,
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
IT IS RIGHT TO GIVE OUR THANKS AND PRAISE.
INVITATION TO THE OFFERING
HOW DOES GOD’S LOVE ABIDE IN ANYONE
WHO HAS THE WORLD’S GOODS
YET REFUSES TO HELP A SISTER OR BROTHER IN NEED? REMEMBERING GOD’S GREAT LOVE FOR THE WORLD, WE OFFER OUR LIVES TO THE LORD. AMEN.
*PRAYER OF DEDICATION
ALLOW US, O GOD, TO BE BEARERS OF YOUR GOOD NEWS: DEATH IS NOT THE FINAL WORD BECAUSE JESUS LIVES. EMBRACE US AS PARTNERS IN BRINGING YOUR JUSTICE. AMEN.
This liturgy comes from Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts, Published by the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Vol. 53.1.