Easter Day – April 4

To Give Thanks for What God has Done:
Service Prayers with Holy Communion
Easter Sunday
April 4, 2021

Acts 10:34-43    Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24      1 Corinthians 15:1-11      John 20:1-18

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Call to Worship
Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines
One:   Christ is Risen!
All:      Out loud but muted
Christ is risen, indeed!
One:   Hope is alive!
Hope is alive, indeed!
One:   God’s love is eternal!
Let us give thanks for what God has done.

God of grace and power,
we come rejoicing in Christ’s empty tomb.
We come trusting in the good news
that tells us Christ is with us.
For the Risen Christ is living proof
that You care about our lives, O God.
The Risen Christ offers to us glimpses of hope,
even in our tears.
As the tomb is not quiet.
It speaks. It proclaims!
It is a promise of eternal life!
All:      Out loud but muted
Thank you, gracious and almighty God. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
All:      God of resurrection grace,
Help us in our pain, despair and fear
so that we are not prone to follow
the path of hopelessness.
Help us, to instead, be like the Risen Christ,
and rise up, as a brave and holy people,
living beyond our pain, despair and fear
by remaining hopeful in your steadfast love.
All:      Out loud but muted
Help us, we pray. Amen.  

Assurance of Pardon
God hears our prayers of grace and mercy,
and raises our countenance from despair,
into resurrection joy!
God meets us in our human suffering,
comforts us in our tears,
and offers to us new hope,
All:      Out loud but muted

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People
Notes for the worship planners in 2021:
Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Easter Scriptures for today.

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.

  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care.

Invitation to Offering
On this day, we remember that Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb
with the intent to anoint the crucified body of Jesus;
and astonished, she finds an empty tomb where Jesus once laid.
Now what?
God’s angels and the Risen Christ meet Mary Magdalene in her sorrow,
and speak hope into her heart.
For the Resurrection narrative reveals that love is alive and moves among us!
The Risen Christ helps us to remember that despair is not the end of our journey.
The Risen Christ also speaks of God’s ever-present love,
and gives the church resurrection hope.
In that, as an Easter people, we manifest God’s never-ending love in the world
by the giving of our time, talents, and financial resources.
For it is with Christ’s limitless and restorative love,
that we humbly and graciously offer back to God a portion of what God has given us.

God of love,
We offer our gifts of time, spiritual gifts, and financial gifts
as a sign of our love for you and the world.
We ask a special blessing on these gifts
where you meet us in our suffering, and raise us up,
so that all may come to know of your abiding love.
All:      Out loud but muted
O God, we give these gifts as you have given them unto us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Holy Communion
One:   Christ is Risen!
All:      Out loud but muted
Christ is risen indeed!
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Spirit;
Source of Life, Living Word, and Bond of Love:
We praise you for Jesus Christ,
who reminds us that even in fear-filled days,
cloaked with the powers of death,
your eternal love arises, and never leaves us.
For we rejoice with all your people
and with the angels,
because life is stronger than death!
As we proclaim the glory of your name:

All:      Out loud but muted
Holy is Jesus, God Incarnate, the Risen Christ,
whose mercy gathers us together in community,
whose grace meets us in our brokenness,
and whose loving faithfulness gives us renewed hope.

Story of the Meal
In this meal, we remember Jesus, his promises,
and the price he paid for who he was, what he said,
and what he did; for our benefit.

On the night before Jesus died,
He took a loaf of bread,
Gave thanks, broke it, and said,

Presider lifts the bread
“Take and eat, this is my body, given for you.
Do this, in remembrance of me.”
Presider places bread on the table
After supper, Jesus took the cup and poured, saying,
Presider lifts the cup
“This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
Presider places cup on the table
In sharing this meal, we live out the mystery of our faith:

All:      Out loud but muted
We remember Christ’s life of love, and friendship, and teaching,
We remember Christ’s dying, and rising to life again. 
Prayer to the Spirit
Presider may lift both the bread and the cup         
Bless this bread and this cup,
the wheat and the grape,
the farmer and the harvest,
the seed and the sower.
These simple elements are shared in community,
so that we may taste and see your goodness
and become one body in Christ. 
All:      Out loud but muted
For it is through Christ, in Christ, and with Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
that all glory is yours, God most holy,
now and forevermore. Amen.
Presider places both bread and cup on the table 

Lord’s Prayer
At the conclusion of the prayer, the presider lifts the bread to break it.

Distribution: Breaking the Bread, Pouring the Cup
One:   The body of Christ,
All:      Out loud but muted
the bread of life.
One:   The lifeblood of Christ,
All:     the cup of blessing.
One:   The gifts of God for the people of God.
All:     Thanks be to God.

Post-Communion Prayer
Let us pray:
O Christ, we thank you for this feast of life.
Fed by your love,
and strengthened by your life;
we humbly accept your call to go
into this world to live with hope,
and to share your joy.
All:      Out loud but muted
You commission us to
feed as we have been fed,
forgive as we have been forgiven,
and love as we have been loved.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

May God’s abiding love and hope give us new life.
May God’s unmerited grace and mercy keep us hope-filled.
And may God’s restorative justice bring to us all, perfect peace.
For Christ is risen! Praise God!
All:      Out loud but muted

To Give Thanks for What God has Done, Service prayers with Communion for Easter Sunday Year B, was written by the Rev .Dr. Sheila Harvey Guillaume, pastor of Union Congregational United Church of Christ in West Palm Beach.

Copyright 2021  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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