Community of Christ

Easter Sunday Ideas

Easter Sunrise

A sunrise service is an excellent time to worship outside of the church, but this path may also be prepared along the aisle inside the sanctuary. This worship is designed to begin with a contemplation of the last week of the life of Christ. There are eight stages along this worshippers’ path. At each stage is a symbol and a correlating meditation thought.

As participants arrive they are quietly greeted and given a program that contains the meditation thoughts and the outline of the service.

Worshippers continue on the path until they reach the cross.

THE PATH TO THE RESURRECTION

1. Triumphal Entry

Palm leaves are strewn at the entrance to the prepared worship area.

Zechariah 9:9

2. Money Changers in Temple

A small table draped with a richly textured cloth is on its side. Money is spilling from a pouch.

Matthew 21:10, 11

3. Cursing of the Fig Tree

Use a picture or sculpture of a tree to represent the fig tree or a branch of a tree with withered leaves.

Matthew 21:17-19

4. The Anointing

A woman with a jar of fragrant oil,  may silently anoint each participant on the hand as they pass by her.

Matthew 26:6-13

5. Last Supper and Garden Watch

Arrange flowers or place a picture of a garden with the Communion on a white cloth.

Matthew 26:20, 26–28, 30, 36, 39, 47, 49, 50b

6. Jesus Dies on the Cross

Place a picture or actual cross depicting Christ’s crucifixion on a table covered with a dark brown rough cloth.

The Last Words of Jesus:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Today you will be with me in paradise.
Mother, behold your son.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
I am thirsty.
It is finished.
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

7. Buried in the Tomb

A black table cloth is piled with rocks. Each person takes a rock to place at the foot of the cross.

Matthew 27:59–60

8. He Is Risen

In the center of the worship area place a large wooden cross draped with white fabric. At the foot of the cross place a vase or vases of roses (enough for each participant) and a small sign that says “He is Risen, Alleluia!” Participants place their rocks at the foot of the cross and take a rose.

You may want a person at the cross to silently greet the participants and direct them to lay their burden down and receive a flower, and then be seated.

Matthew 28:1, 6–8

Welcome

After all persons are seated the presider enters with this joyous welcome:

“He has risen! He has risen indeed!”

*Hymn “Lift Your Glad Voices”  CCS 475 OR “Now The Green Blade Rises”  CCS 482

*Invocation of Praise and Jubilation

Responsive Reading:

Leader: Come and hear the Good News!

All: Tell us the news of the living Savior!

Leader: He is risen. The tomb is empty!

All: Praise God for his great doing!
       Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Easter Script: “The Three Women”

Stages on The Way, Iona Community, Wild Goose Worship Group (GIA Publications), ISBN 1-57999-076-2

*Hymn: “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”  CCS 34 OR “Christ Is Alive”  CCS 473

*Benediction

*Response:

Leader: The empty cross announces victory!

All: Alleluia! Praise God!

Leader: The empty tomb testifies that Jesus Christ is our risen Lord.

All: Alleluia! Praise God!

Leader: May our discipleship proclaim the living Christ!

All: Alleluia! Amen!

Christ Lives

Prelude

Hymns of Gathering

"All Creatures of Our God and King"  CCS 98
"Lift Your Glad Voices"  CCS 475
OR “Good Christians All rejoice”  CCS 479

One of these could be used as a choir or small group introit rather than congregational singing.

Responsive Reading: Psalm 98:4–9, 147:1, and 148:1, 3–9, adapted

Reader 1: Praise the Lord!

Reader 2: Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise God in the heights above.

Reader 3: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth; burst into jubilant song with music;
sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.

Reader 4:  Make music to our God on the harp; with trumpets and the blast of the ram
horn, shout for joy before the Lord.

Reader 2: How good it is to sing praises to God. How pleasant and fitting to praise our
God!

Reader 4:  Praise the Lord, Sun and Moon; praise God all the shining stars.

Reader 3: Praise the Lord from the Earth; great sea creatures and all ocean depths;

Reader 1: lightning and hail, snow and clouds; stormy winds that do God’s bidding;

Reader 2:  mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars.

Reader 4: Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing together for joy; let them
sing before the Lord.

Reader 3: Wild animals and all cattle; small creatures and flying birds.

Reader 2: God covers the sky with clouds; God supplies the Earth with rain and makes
grass grow on the hills.

Reader 1: God of all the Earth and all nations; of monarchs and all rulers on Earth;

Reader 2: old men and women; young men and maidens and boys and girls;

Reader 3: let them praise the name of the Lord.

Reader 4: Praise the Lord!

*Hymn: "Earth and All Stars"  CCS 102 OR "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty”  CCS 52

*Invocation

*Response

Responsive Reading: Should be read with enthusiasm and gusto!

Leader: Christ lives!

People:  Christ lives!

Leader:   Jesus lives!

People:  Jesus lives!

Leader:  ¡Christo vive!

People:   ¡Christo vive!

Leader: ¡ Christo vive! is the response of Christians in Central America and South America
Christ lives; Christ vive!

Reader 1:  Luke 24:1–3 IV
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared.… And they found the stone rolled away… and two angels standing by it in shining garments. And they entered into the sepulcher, and not finding the body of the Lord Jesus, they were much perplexed.

Reader 2: Matthew 28:5–6, adapted
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."

All:   Christ lives! Christo vive!

Reader 3: Matthew 28:7–8, adapted
Go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell the disciples.

All:  Christ lives! Christo vive!

Reader 4:  Matthew 28:8–9, adapted
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell the disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him.

All:   Christ lives! ¡Christo vive!

Hymn: "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"  CCS 476 OR "God of the Sparrow”  CCS 138

Offertory Statement and Prayer

Our risen Lord, we thank you for food and remember the hungry. We thank you for health and remember the sick. We thank you for friends and remember the friendless. We thank you for freedom and remember those who are enslaved. We realize you do not ask us to give our lives on a cross. Instead, you ask us to give our lives in service to others. Accept now our offerings to you this hour that they may be acceptable in your sight.

—Jamie Tankersley and Barb Tankersley

Ministry of Music: "Easter Hallelujah"

Nancy Price and Don Besig (Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania: Shawnee Press), SATB
OR Hymn: "All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name”  CCS 105

Easter Message

Herod, Pilate, and the Sanhedrin were pleased. They had crucified the upstart: the one who made them look as bad as they were, the one who upset the tables in the temple, the one who acted as if the Sabbath was made for humankind.

Herod and Pilate were guilty of trying to preserve order for the Roman Empire. The Sanhedrin and Pharisees were bad tenants. In Matthew Jesus told a story about bad tenants. Tell, or have someone else tell, the parable found in Matthew 21:33–46.

Points that could be stressed for today are:

•  God gave us the world (vineyard) to care for, profit from, use, enjoy.
•  God gave us this world and let us make choices without interference.
•  God sent messengers; we abused some and killed some.
•  Then God sent his own son.

The Sanhedrin had done what needed to be done. They had silenced Jesus and he was safely buried in a tomb with a stone for a door and Roman soldiers to guard it. And then just when things were getting back to normal,

Here comes Jesus Christ again! "¡Christo vive!"

Confession Statement

We are blessed with many visitors today. Let us willingly confess that the Community of Christ is replete with sinners. We are all sinners trying to find the path of Jesus in our life’s journeys.

When you see or hear us sin, pray for us so that we might act and speak as Jesus would have acted and spoken. However, we are a community that offers peace for the bruised and broken-hearted in our neighborhoods, nation, and the world.

We come to you bearing our testimony of the risen Christ. Our testimony is that Christ lived for you and me. Our testimony is that Christ died for you and me. Our testimony is that Christ lives in you and me this very moment.

Meditation Music

Reading: "The Good News"

We are called to new life in Jesus Christ who shares with us a
ministry of love and concern for all people.
We find in Christ strength and purpose for our living.
Our Savior brings to us life and light and joy.
With God’s help we become ministers of our Risen Lord.
But our lives must become disciplined in study, prayer,
meditation, dialogue, and worship.
The Spirit in us means we are empowered to speak and live
the Good News everywhere.

—From Prayers and Readings for Worship, vol. 1, Judy Judd, ed.
(Herald House, 1987), 65. Judy Judd, ed. (Herald House, 1987), 65.

*Closing Hymn: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"  CCS 34

*Benediction

*Sending Forth

We have read and sung and spoken of Jesus Christ as resurrected Lord.
We have reaffirmed that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and that we are servants of God.
We are loved—empowered—forgiven —and cherished.
And we are sent forth to bear witness that "¡Christo vive!" Jesus Christ lives!

—Jamie Tankersley

*Postlude

Go and Tell

Worship setting: Place a large empty, simple cross at the front of the sanctuary. This may also be carried in and placed as the leaders enter onto the rostrum during the prelude, ministry of music, or hymn of praise.

Prelude

Hymn of Praise: “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”..CCS 476 OR Ministry of Music: “Alleluia, Praise!”.. by: Luigi Cerubini, Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Illinois

Welcome and Responsive Reading:

Leader: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

People: We come singing songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Leader: For he has become our salvation.

People: We come with songs of Christ’s victory over death and the grave.

Leader: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

People: This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Leader: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

All: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Amen.

— Based on Psalm 118

*Hymn: “Lift Your Glad Voices”  CCS 475 OR “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today”..CCS 476

*Invocation

*Response

Focus Moment

Select intergenerational participants to place symbols of Holy Week around the cross as each scripture is read.

1. Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem: palm branch

Matthew 21: 8-11

2. The Last Supper: loaf of bread, cup of wine

I Corinthians 11:23-26

3. Gethsemane: Praying Hands statue or picture

Matthew 26:36-39

4. Golgotha: large nails

John 19:17-18

5. The Tomb: White Cloth

John 20:11-13

6. The Risen Savior: Easter lily

John 20: 14-18

Easter Message

Disciples’ Generous Response

Reflection: "We Pray This Day"

Kneeling in Jerusalem, Ann Weems (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992), 33. ISBN 0-6642-1972-1

Doctrine and Covenants 153:9a, b

Receiving and Blessing of Mission Tithes

*Hymn: “Celebrate Jesus”  CCS 474 OR “Earth, Earth, Awake!”   CCS 472

*Benediction and Sending Forth

As God sent Jesus to be our salvation, so now you are sent out into the world to tell others, “I have seen the Lord.” Go from here blessed with joy and with hope for a peaceable kingdom. Step out in faith to proclaim the good news that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

*Response

Resurrection Celebration

Worship setting: Drape the cross with white fabric. Decorate the sanctuary with flowers and greens. Provide flowering potted plants to be taken to the rostrum during the offering. Arrange for these flowers to be delivered to the sick, hospitalized, or members of the congregation otherwise unable to attend.

Come, Praise and Celebrate

Prelude

Call to the Community: Psalm 118:1–4, 19–29 adapted to be read boldly

Reader 1: Oh, give thanks, for God is good;

Reader 2: God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Reader 1: Let all those who fear the Lord say:

Reader 2: God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Reader 1: Now open to me the gates of righteousness,
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.

Reader 2: This is the gate of the Lord through which
God’s people may enter and give thanks.

Reader 1: We give thanks for you have answered us,
O God and you have become our salvation.

Reader 2: This is the day that the Lord has made.

Readers 1 and 2: Let us rejoice and be glad.

Reader 1: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Reader 2: We bless you from the house of the Lord.

Reader 1: You are our God. We give you thanks.

Reader 2: You are our God. We lift you up and praise your name.

Readers 1 and 2: Give thanks for God is good.
And God’s steadfast love endures forever! Amen

*Hymn: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”  CCS 99 OR "Good Christians All, Rejoice”  CCS 479

*Prayer of Praise

*Response

Share Your Witness

First Witness: Matthew 28:1–10; Mary of Magdela

Hymn: “Woman, Weeping in the Garden”  478 OR "I Know That My Redeemer Lives”..CCS 34

Prayer for Our Witness

Music Response

Testimony: Witness of the Risen Christ

Share a recent situation when you observed or participated in providing the ministry of Jesus Christ.  When have you felt his Spirit with you?

Ministry of Music: "Come and Bring Light”  CCS 287 OR Hymn:  “Christ is Living”  CCS 481

Community Reading

Reader 1: Open our eyes, Lord.

Community:  Open our eyes. We want to see Jesus.

Reader 1: Behold, I will be with you always until the end of time.

Reader 2: I see Christ in the eyes of a friend.
I see Christ in the tender touch of wrinkled hands.
I see Christ in the arms of a mother cradling a child.

Community:  Open our ears, Lord. We want to hear Jesus.

Reader 1: Behold, I will be with you always until the end of time.

Reader 2: I hear Christ in the cry of the hungry.
I hear Christ in the songs of the oppressed.
I hear Christ in the praises of the grateful.

Community:  Open our hands, Lord. We want to help Jesus.

Reader 1: Behold, I will be with you always until the end of time.

Reader 2: I see Christ serving soup on the streets.
I see Christ teaching people self-care.
I see Christ nursing the sick and disabled.

Community:  Open our mouths, Lord. We will witness of you:
We see Christ in the eyes of our neighbors.
We hear Christ in the sounds of pain and joy.
We see Christ in action in the world.
Lord, you are risen indeed. We are your witnesses.
You are at work in the world today.
You still call disciples to assist in the work.
We will be your disciples.
We are the disciples of Jesus Christ.

Reader 1: Behold, I will be with you always until the end of time.

Hymn: "O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"  CCS 92 OR "Community of Joy”  CCS 631

Prayer for Effective Discipleship

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture: John 21:15–17

Invitation to Share Generously

What does it mean to feed the lambs and sheep?

Invite the congregation to bring their Mission Tithes and flowers forward to the cross. Be prepared to assist those who cannot come forward. The flowers will be taken to the sick, hospitalized, and disabled after the service.

Prayer of Consecration

Hymn: "Christ is Living”  CCS 481 OR "The Risen Christ”  CCS 477

Go, Witness of the Risen Christ

Statement of Challenge

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:16–20

*Hymn: "Lift Your Glad Voices"  CCS 475 OR "That Easter Morn, at Break of Day”  CCS 480

*Benediction Statement: Philippians 4:8–9 or Hebrews 13:20–21

*Response

*Postlude

Easter Service

Joyful Prelude

*Hymn Proclamation: “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today”  CCS 476

The words of the first part of this hymn are expressed in the following reading. The congregation sings the third verse at the “All Sing” part at the end of the reading.

Leader: Jesus Christ is risen today,
Our triumphant holy day.

People: Alleluia, Alleluia

Leader: Hymns of praise then let us sing,
Unto Christ our heavenly King.

People: Alleluia, Alleluia

Leader: Who did once, upon the cross,
Suffer to redeem our loss.

A keyboard plays the final Alleluia phrase to introduce the congregation singing the third verse.

All Sing: Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
Praise Him, all ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
God and Son and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

*Prayer of Celebration and Praise

*Response

Congregation, or a choir, sing “Sanna, Sannanina”  CCS 469

Welcome

He Is Risen—Sing Hymns of Alleluia!

“Christ Is Alive” HS  CCS 473 OR “Good Christians All Rejoice”  CCS 479

A quartet or choir could share in singing the verses.

The Reading of the Easter Story: Matthew 28:1, 9, 16–20

Ministry of Music: “The Easter Morn at Break of Day”  CCS 480 (solo, choir, instrumental)

Dramatic Reading

The text for this reading follows this service order.

The Easter Message: Run, Run, Go and Tell

Hymn of Affirmation: “Celebrate Jesus”  CCS 471 OR “Lift Your Glad Voices”  CCS 475

We Celebrate the Risen Lord with Our Offerings

Choir or keyboard music can continue to be shared in the spirit of joy.

A Moment of Silent Reflection

Examine your hands.
    How may they heal others?
    What are the needs of others in your life?

Examine your hands.
    Like Jesus, see their wounds, yet see their strength.
    Who are you sent to hold, to share the good news with?

Examine your hands.
    Consecrate them to witnessing and aiding others.

Share the Promise: John 14:18–19

*Hymn: “Christ Is Alive:  CCS 473 OR “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”  CCS 34

*Benediction

*Postlude

Dramatic Reading

Wherever the word “run” appears, there is to be a pause. Using either bells, blocks, or stamping feet, make a sound between each “run” word. Make the sound four times. Three readers are needed.

Reader 1: And the angel said, “He is not in the tomb. He is risen; go and tell the others.

Reader 2: Run….run….and tell the good news.

Reader 3: Run….run….to tell Christ’s followers.

Reader 1: Run….run….to share with family, neighbors, and friends.

Reader 2: Run….run….and tell the story.

Reader 3: We too have been wounded. Our hands and hearts bare the scars of brokenness and pain.

Reader 1: Then, run….run….proclaim how in Christ we have been made alive!

Reader 2: Our deaths have also been swallowed up in victory.

Reader 3: Then let us proclaim the joy of the resurrected Lord.

Reader 1: Let us run….run….run….to unbind the desolate and poor.

Reader 2: Run….run….to heal the broken hearted.

All Readers: Let us be your resurrection people!