United Church of Christ

Online Easter Day - April 12 - Elizabeth Dilley

“Alleluia!” in All the Places of our Lives!
Service Prayers for Easter Day
April 12, 2020

 

Acts 10: 34-43 ~ Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24 ~ Colossians 3: 1-4 ~ Matthew 28: 1-10

Leader should lead the people’s responses throughout

Call to Worship

Leader: We come to this moment,
seeking Jesus in the familiar story of our faith.
Do not meet us only now, O Living Christ,
but surprise us with Resurrection power
People: Said out loud, but muted
in all the places of our lives!
Leader: We gather to sing and pray the story we know by heart,
a story of loving triumph and powerful grace.
This story of “Alleluia!” means great joy
for the One who lives and the ones who witness to this new life
People: Said out loud, but muted
in all the places of our lives!
Leader: We rejoice and thank you for the life of your son,
resurrected by the power of your loving, vibrant Spirit.
Let this same Spirit fill us,
that we may know the truth of resurrectio
People: Said out loud, but muted
in all the places of our lives
Leader: We join our hearts in song and sing
“Alleluia! Gracious Jesus!”
for Christ is living and so are we
People: Said out loud, but muted
Alleluia indeed!
Hymn Alleluia! Gracious Jesus!                                            TNCH 257
(music arrangement is under copyright; words and tune in public domain)

INVOCATION

Good News God,
In the midst of deep sorrow and grief
your angels appeared to the faithful women of Jesus’ company,
bringing them news more awe-inspiring than they could imagine –
Christ is Risen!
Surely your angels can interrupt our lives, too,
breaking into our losses and sorrows
and offering a message of tremendous joy to change our lives.
Come this Easter morning, we pray,
and fill us with the joy of the women disciples,
the first witnesses to your resurrection, that our lives may also be renewed in hope and glory.
Let us roll back the stone of the grave
and sing Alleluia once again!
In Christ we pray, Amen.

***

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

God, we confess to you
that while we know well the story of your victory over the grave,
it is not a story we always live.
We are dragged down by all manner of death –
Fear may suffocate us: the loss of dreams and hopes
for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation.
Sorrow may wall us off like a grave,
isolating us with anger, frustration, and grief.

Silence

Yet the stories of our faith are inscribed
not with the marks of death,
but with the word, “Alleluia!”
So on this Easter morning,
we pray that you will fill us with “fear and great joy”
so that, like those women who came to the tomb expecting death,
we may instead find the radiant new life
that is ever before us in your Resurrection! Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Leader:

Just as Christ did not come to condemn but to liberate,
so too is Christ raised from death not to judge but to celebrate.
Cast off the yoke of sorrow and instead raise up the scepter of joy –
Christ lives! We live!
All is made new on this Resurrection morning!
People: Said out loud, but muted
Alleluia and amen!

SCRIPTURE, SERMON, PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

  • Consider inviting several voices to read the Easter narrative aloud. Invite folk several days in advance so they have time to practice. If you are meeting via Zoom, rehearse in advance so that any mute/unmute issues are worked out. If you have the ability to have the readers record themselves in advance and put the pieces together in a single video, that is another adaptation.
  • Consider a simple message that points out the persistence of resurrection joy even in the midst of so much that has been lost. Acknowledging that this Easter is unlike so many others is important. Celebrate the radical adaptations your congregation has already made in moving to a new way of worship and point out the new life that has already emerged from this change (even if it was not wanted).
  • For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

CALL TO OFFERING

We are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God,
and now we turn in thanksgiving to share the good news
of forgiveness and grace to all the world.
Let our gifts be a living testimony
to those who most need the healing grace of Christ this morning,
cornerstones of faith and joy for the entire world.

DEDICATION
People: Said out loud, but muted

O God, you have become our light and our salvation –
let these gifts open the gates of joy
to all who hunger and thirst for your holy presence
on this and every day.
May they bear the gifts of Alleluia which we hold so dear,
and give away with great joy.
We pray in the name of our Risen Savior, Jesus the Christ! Amen.

BENEDICTION

  Here is the Easter call for us today:
We will seek the risen Jesus in every time and place.
People: Said out loud, but muted
We will connect across the miles, through technology and prayer
  We will not seek comfort only in the familiar, but dare to risk newness of thought and newness of action –
People: muted
We know that Resurrection makes all things new!
  We will not cling to all the old, expected notions about God, Jesus, Spirit, but go forth and celebrate this truly new Good News:
People: muted
Because Christ lives, new possibilities are ever before us!
  We will not cling to all the old, expected notions about God, Jesus, Spirit, but go forth and celebrate this truly new Good News:

We will speak for life and justice, hope and courage, in these trying days,

People: muted
Because Christ lives, we live!

While the church buildings may be closed this Easter morning,
People: muted
The Church is alive, just as Christ is alive!

Christ is Risen Indeed!

People: muted

Alleluia and amen!

Alleluia! in All the Places of our Lives!  Service Prayers for Easter Day was written by the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister and Team Leader for MESA (Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization), UCC. She and the rest of the national staff are praying for all of our congregations this Easter season.

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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