This article is from Issue 7 of “On The Move,” a publication of new learning possibilities for churches, at one time published by The Joint Board of Christian Education of Australia and New Zealand.
Although some ideas and liturgies may appear somewhat “dated” in style, concept, imagery or language, they may nevertheless offer a spring-board for new ideas among people who find themselves leading worship, perhaps in a new context, and with some trepidation.
Reproduced by permission. May be reprinted for use in local congregations only.
A Service for EASTER MORNING
Prepared and used at Whyalla Church of Christ, South Australia.
(Four readers take part in the service. Their parts are indicated by the numbers 1, 2, 3, or 4.)
Song: A cry in the night.
Reading: Matthew 27:27-66 (from New English Bible)
Prayer: Confession and Praise.
Offering: Our theme is togetherness. It is fitting that our first act in Easter worship is that of giving together.
Thanks for giving
The act of one man (The Lonely Jesus)
1. We see Easter as essentially the act of one man. Indeed all of Jesus’ life was the act of one man, alone, accomplishing a task which was to be finished at Calvary. He, alone faced the brunt of accusations of those who called him glutton… drunkard…
2. those who looked down their noses at one who ate with publicans… extortioners…
3. those who stiffened their necks at one who… knelt with the lame… touched leprous skin… washed blinded eyes…
4. those who hurled slander and abuse… called him “devil” and “blasphemer”…
because he found forgiveness for a paralytic… transformed commands to the “men of old”… claimed that he knew Gods will… announced that God was in him…
2. He, alone accepted as inevitable what those narrow, stilted, slanderous men had in store for him.
1. He, alone, had to face a cross, carry it, fall beneath its weight, be dragged behind it, attached and lifted up on it. He, alone, had to die on it.
Hymn: When I survey the wondrous cross.
1. Together we come and take the demands of the cross.
2. Together we come and affirm the call to acknowledge the love of the lonely cross.
3. Together we come to remember and to feel the shame as we too shudder to think that we would have nodded approval… pointed our thumbs down… joined in the cry of “crucify”.
4. Together we come to remember and feel that love… surround our selfishness… dissolve our piety… obliterate our importance…
1. Together we come and feel the work of love recreate in us and around us the sense of joy that Mary of Magdala felt,
2. that eleven trembling deserters felt when they saw that the arrogance the cruelty the bitterness and jealousy of man, bitter to the point of murder, could not be held in by heavy rocks,
3. could not be bound by burial clothes,
4. could not be guarded by swords and shields.
1. But God in man irresistably smashed man-made barriers to bring one man and another and another and another together… through crucifixion love, to share together and themselves become God in man.
Hymn: Let us break bread together.
1. We are drawn together as people in whom God lives.
2. We together have chosen to share in memory of what God did in the first Easter.
1. We together have come to admit to each other and the world that we are now a part of the ever-living witness to the first Easter. Together let us give thanks.
Prayer: Thanks for togetherness and why we are together today.
Communion: A single loaf, symbolizing the one life of Christ, is broken and passed from person to person, to symbolize that which we share in this One Life. The cups are individual, but we drink as one, symbolizing that we are ourselves each one life, but united through the One Life.
Reading: Matthew 28:1-8.
Hymn: Christ the Lord is risen today.
Benediction: Matthew 28:18b-20.