artwork: presbydestrian; liturgy: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber
For congregations delaying triumphant Easter services until they can physically reunite, this is an alternative Easter morning service. It focuses upon the third appearance of the Resurrected Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of St. John – breakfast on the beach of the Tiberian Sea.
- You may wish to arrange to worship distantly with others at the same time.
- Consider worshipping at the breakfast table inviting the Risen Christ to join your household.
- Read through this service before to assemble items needed.
- A “Christ Candle” can be any sort of candle or object which represents Christ’s presence.
- Choose songs to sing (our suggestions or your favorites). Assemble what you’ll need to sing.
- Ensure an uninterrupted place to worship.
- Decorate the space to welcome God’s Easter presence, as we do at church.
Time for Children
“Out of the Bag: Waiting for Easter” on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber
Please adapt to make this worship service your own. Your intention is what is important.
Call to Worship
Through the Holy Spirit we are united.
Souls throughout time and place assemble.
Christians of every expression faithfully conspire.
Worshippers sheltering in place gather spiritually.
The virus cannot stop us from connecting.
We are joined in our affirmation of the Resurrected One:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
Light the Christ Candle
Song for Welcoming Easter
Suggestion: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” – C Wesley, EASTER HYMN (#216 Chalice)
Statement of Faith (Pope John Paul II)
“We do not pretend that life is all beauty.
We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain.
But we know Jesus has conquered sin
and passed through his own pain
to the glory of the Resurrection.
And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery –
the mystery of his Death and Resurrection.
We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!
We are not looking for a shallow joy
but rather a joy that comes from faith,
that grows through unselfish love,
that respects the fundamental duty of love of neighbor,
without which it would be unbecoming to speak of joy.” (jpii)
We Unburden and Gather Hope
Naming Our New Reality
If you are with others in person or via devices please share what is on your minds and in your hearts. If you are alone, speak out loud to God. How has it been for you and your loved ones this Holy Week? How have you reinvented Easter this year? What is still buried awaiting resurrection? Be honest. Name your truth no matter what it is. God is listening.
In the quietude of your soul simply be in God’s presence, just as you are. Your mind will wander. Thoughts will come up. Be kind to yourself. Temporarily let go of following your thoughts. Sit in God’s presence, possibly repeating “Risen One” or “Jesus Christ” or “Savior.”
Acts of Unburdening and Affirming
Place pebbles or small items at the base of the Christ Candle thinking or speaking whatever you wish to offer to God for release or gratitude. These offerings need not be named. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive.
Blessing of Grace
Today we celebrate the eternal wonder and gift
of Jesus’s bodily resurrection from death
as we face our own mortal fears and sorrows.
At this complex time,
may we hear the Still Speaking God telling us:
We are graciously forgiven;
We are always beloved;
We are definitely stronger than we believe we are.
May we rise in spirit with Christ this Easter morn. Amen.
Gospel Reading: St John 21:1-14
The scripture reading is set up for multiple voices, but can be used however is best for your household. This narrative, found in the gospel of St John – the latest of the four Biblical gospels, reveals a deepening understanding of the Risen Christ among the early Christians. *Special Note: “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” is a unique term used in St. John’s gospel. Some believe it refers to John the Evangelist. Others believe it is a literary technique to open the story. During today’s reading you may wish to imagine that YOU are this beloved disciple.
Storyteller: First, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb.
Then the Risen Jesus appeared to the disciples in hiding.
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias;
and he showed himself in this way:
gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin,
Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter: “I am going fishing.”
The Disciples: “We will go with you.”
Storyteller: They went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach;
but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus: “Children, you have no fish, have you?”
The Disciples: “No.”
Jesus: “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
Storyteller: So they cast the net,
and now they were not able to haul it in
because there were so many fish.
The Disciple whom Jesus Loved*: “Peter, it is the Lord!”
Storyteller: When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake.
But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish,
for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there,
with fish on it, and bread.
Jesus: “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
Storyteller: So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore,
full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them;
and though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus: “Come and have breakfast.”
Storyteller: “Now none of the disciples dared to ask him: ‘Who are you?’
because they knew it was the Lord.”
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them,
and did the same with the fish.
This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples
after he was raised from the dead.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon this Holy Word. Amen.
Reflection Upon the Risen Christ and Our Needs
(If your pastor has prepared a sermon, please read/view it now.)
In this story the risen Jesus continually acts for the well-being of his disciples. Jesus goes to them, waits for them, helps them find fish, prepares a fire, cooks them breakfast, and feeds them. After this series of very tangible loving actions, after they have finished their breakfast, Jesus begins instructing them in continuing the ministry without his physical presence.
Let us imagine what the disciples might have been experiencing: It was only weeks ago that the crowd rejoiced at the arrival of the Messiah. Then, they celebrated the Passover and Jesus spoke to them of things to come. Then, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, persecuted, and killed by Temple and Empire working hand in glove. Jesus was abandoned by his core disciples for they were afraid for their own lives. Some of the women disciples, including his mother, were considered insignificant by authorities thus making them able to safely join him in his last hours. The women returned after Sabbath to tend his dead body assisted by a man of wealth who lent his tomb.
Though the Risen Christ had appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the hiding disciples, in this reading we learn that Simon Peter, the one Jesus appointed as their leader, suggested they go fishing – return to the work they did before Jesus called them to “fish for men.”
We, too, are reeling from current events and are confused about the future. We, too, cling to familiar practices and comforts. As we remember the Resurrected Jesus’s breakfast with the disciples this Easter morning where might Christ be this very moment? How is Christ coming to us, waiting for us, helping us, feeding us, loving us? It may be helpful to imagine the Risen Jesus seated at your breakfast table. Ask the Risen One – Where are You now? Who are You helping now? How are You tending our vulnerable bodies now?
May the eternal presence of the Ever-Living Christ be with each and every one of us this Easter morning – no matter who we are, no matter where we are on our life’s journey, no matter what sort of care we most need.
Suggestion: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” – solo from GF Handel’s Messiah (YouTube)
Prayers of Petition
Prayers on Holy Days carry a special power. Carefully discern your prayer requests of joy and concern. What is most pressing this Easter – most joyful, most concerning? If your community shares prayer requests or a Pastoral Prayer, include them at this time.
Song for Prayer
Suggestion: “I Come to the Garden Alone” – C S Miles, GARDEN (Chalice #227)
The Lord’s Prayer
Imagine the sanctuary where you usually worship. Let the memory of your Beloved Community fill your soul and let us pray together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We Give Thanks
Thank Jesus Christ for coming to be with us, for absorbing our sins and mistakes into his body, for offering himself as a reconnection between humanity and God. Offer praise and thanksgiving. Consider an action you might make or a gift you might give to offer needed uplift to others. (Please see the Donation note at the end of this document)
Song of Gratitude
Suggestion: “Now the Green Blade Rises” – JM Crum, NOEL NOUVELET (#230 Chalice)
We Continue in Hope
Affirmation of Resurrection (inspired by Matthew 25:35-36)
It will truly be Easter
when all who are hungry have been given food.
It will truly be Easter
when all who are thirsty have been given a drink.
It will truly be Easter
when all who are have been labeled “Stranger” are welcome.
It will truly be Easter
when all who are naked have been given clothing.
It will truly be Easter
when all who are sick or in prison have been visited.
It will truly be Easter
when we see in the least of these the presence of the Risen Christ.
Song of Hope
Suggestion: “All Creatures of Our God and King” – Francis of Assisi, LASST UNS ERFRUEN (#22 Chalice)
Before Lazarus was raised from the dead,
Jesus said to his sister Martha:
“I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me,
even though they die, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me
will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah,
God’s Beloved Child given for the redemption of all.
We believe in life eternal forever yoked to Christ.
May our Easter morning affirmations of faith
be a deep blessing upon our souls,
now and forever more. Amen.
— this concludes the service —
Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995
YouTube Music Videos: search by title AND one of the authors for best results
Worship Resources: All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber unless attributed to another source. (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Chalice) Chalice Hymnal, among other worship publications, has suspended copyright restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. (jpii) Pope John Paul II http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/angelus/1986/documents/hf_jp-ii_ang_19861130.html
Worship Credit: © 2020, Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, Living Liturgies
Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author.
Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. However, you may express your gratitude financially by making a donation to a local non-profit which tends the needs of the most vulnerable. Or, sew masks for your most vulnerable neighbors or contact someone who is living alone. Let us generously share the grace of Easter in solidarity with our neighbors. Thank you!
Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”