Easter Sunday Christian Community: “Easter People” • Mark 16:1-8 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui, “The Risen Christ”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

A year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Comma Cross” Easter celebration — death is not the end

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Unable to move the heavy stone, it is moved.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Prepared to anoint the dead, his body is gone.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Bewildered by a luminous being, we ask:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Challenged by a word of eternal hope, we wonder:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” Written by Charles Wesley, 1739; Public Domain. Vocals and guitars by Eric C. Rose, banjo by George Pierson. Mar 27, 2021. (Chalice #216)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent and Easter we have intentionally focused upon being a Christian faith community. This Easter, the second with adapted pandemic configurations, we are like the women who visited Jesus’s tomb. We, too, have been thrown into a year’s worth of confusion, hope, and anxiety. Yet, amid what has been challenging, haven’t we also found more than we expected?

How is it with you and your faith community? Where and how are you feeling the uplift of Easter? What is still a great loss? Whatever your experience is, God is with you as the Living Christ. Speak honestly with God and be open to a new blessing. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Easter, spiritual Easter, is nothing but pure grace. It is completely unexpected, surprising, confusing, comforting, and liberating – all at the same time! Grace perfected.

This scheduled Easter, as was true last Easter, we have been pushed out of our familiar routines. Last year, for many, Easter wasn’t “Easter” because we could not keep certain traditions. But this year – haven’t we learned a great lesson? “Easter” isn’t contained in a place or a date on the calendar. “Easter” can happen anytime, anyplace.

God willing there will be a collective, in-person “Easter” sometime before too long when we can weave together old practices and new awarenesses. Until then, let us truly savor the “Easter” which dwells within us, all of us friends of Jesus, on this holy, blessed day.

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8 (CEB)

This is the oldest gospel account of Easter morning revealing a turning point between confusion, hope, and fear.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body.Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.  They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) 

Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”

Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Meditation Quote about Easter

“We are an Easter people and alleluia is our cry.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Sermon: “Who’s Going to Roll That Stone Away?” God has many ways to move obstacles

There is no written Easter Reflection this week.

Special Music: “Easter Hallelujah” Music by Leonard Cohen. Lyrics by Kelley Mooney. Performed by Cassandra and Callahan Star, sisters. Piano arrangement: Jeff Buckley of Karaoke Studios. Recording by Maverick Judson of MJ Interactive.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

With His death, descent into hell, and resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the gates to Paradise for all souls. As St Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

As we gather for Holy Communion this Easter day, we gather with the souls of our loved ones – living and dead. This Easter, we especially call to blessed memory all who have died this past year – especially victims of the pandemic and racialized violence. We hold close the acknowledgement of these many deaths not to be weighted down, but to lift up their souls in the Easter Light of the Risen One.

Let us now speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not present with us in person, yet present in our thoughts and prayers. Let us be gathered together: (speak their names)

Consecration Invitation and Prayer

Laying your hands on your bread and cup, we will ask the Holy Spirit to move among us and fill our household items with sacred presence:

Eternal One, O Risen One, may these humble elements become for us living symbols of Your magnificent power to overcome evil. May the sharing of our loaves and cups be for us acts of receiving Your blessing to serve, as you would have us serve, for the uplift of many. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

(elements will be consumed after words of institution)

Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God,

broke it, and said:

“Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you.  

Do this in remembrance of me.”

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup,

gave thanks to God, and offered it to them saying:

“Drink this, all of you.

This is my blood of the new covenant,

which is poured out for you and for many,

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

Easter People – these are the Gifts of God for the People of God! Let us receive the Bread – symbol of Eternal Life – the Resurrected Body of Jesus Christ. Let us receive the Cup – symbol of Eternal Forgiveness – the Redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Alleluia! We, Your Easter People, give thanks for the many ever-giving gifts of Jesus Christ. May the meal we have just shared ripple out with many blessings, spreading Your Big Love to everyone. In the name of the Resurrected One, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen. Alleluia!

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Every Easter we are humbled by the unfathomable gifts God has given us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us truly give thanks and offer ourselves, again, to the God of Goodness and Mercy for the well-being of all beings. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Because He Lives/Amen” Written by Matt Maher. Performed by The West Coast Choir, West Coast Baptist College Mar 30, 2018. Song: © 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) Worship Together Music (BMI) sixsteps Music (ASCAP) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)

Benediction

Here’s the really, really, really Good News –

No matter how well we have planned for the worst,

No matter what obstacles appear unmovable,

No matter what surprises greet us

in the sanctified places of death,

No matter how shocking the latest surprise has been,

The Living Christ rises!

There is nothing, nothing, nothing

That can prevent God from lifting up

the Beloved Community!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, Copyright © 2011.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Risen Lord”

Online Publishing Date: April 2, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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