Easter: “God’s Presence: More to Come” John 20:1-18 with Holy Communion

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“We must know that God will appear suddenly and joyfully to all lovers of God.” – Julian of Norwich, 14th century Christian mystic (jn)

Happy Easter! Please bring cut and potted flowers up to decorate the chancel. Thank You!

Prelude “Morning Has Broken” Gaelic melody (piano, Everett)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar and Memorial Flowers

Easter Proclamation

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! And the people say, Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

All: Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

Invocation (liturgist) In the places we least expect to meet You, O Resurrected Christ, rise up and invite us to believe in You and the endless wonders of God’s Love for Humanity. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor will speak, then light votives)

Votive Lighting Music “We Gather Together” Dutch melody (piano, Everett)

Children’s Message “Ukrainian Easter Eggs” (pastor speaks to children; children stay with family)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Prayer and Silence (pastor)

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)

Be still. (Breathe slowly)

Be. (Breathe slowly)

(Breathe in silence)


Assurance of Grace (pastor) At the very heart of our Christian faith is a belief that Jesus Christ, God’s Beloved Son, opens the gate to eternal life. This Good News not only comforts our souls, it assures us of everlasting relationships. On this Easter morning as we proclaim Christ risen from the dead, may our souls take comfort in God’s perpetual love in this world and the next. Truly, this is the grace through which all graces arise. Amen.

Special Music “Morning Reverie” Rollin (piano, Everett)

We Listen

Scripture: John 20:1-18  (translation: Common English Bible; for two readers)

(liturgist) Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.

(pastor) She said,“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.”

(liturgist) Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in.

Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. 

Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.

Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

(pastor) She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

(pastor) Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

(pastor) She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means my Teacher).

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

(pastor) Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.” Then she told them what he said to her.

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

Story Sermon: “Dawning Hope” (pastor) Mary Magdalene’s Easter morning encounter with the Rising Christ invites awareness of Christ’s evolving presence in our lives.

Special Music “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” Rachmaninoff (piano, Everett)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

O Holy One, to find ourselves in an empty tomb with woes and sorrows anew is to find ourselves surprised, again, by Your powerful love. To hear, again, the voice of The Beloved calling our name as a truly new day breaks awakens us to courage, hope, and faith.

O Source and Force of Eternal Love, may we be Your resurrection people, proclaiming and manifesting the Big Love made known to us, eternally, through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (piano, Everett; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.

Inside Announcements (pastor)

Communion Song: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” Chalice Hymnal #216, all four verses (piano, Everett; congregation sings softly)

We Relocate Outside

Please transition outside. Individually wrapped Holy Communion elements distributed.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Welcome to Outside Holy Communion (pastor)

Gathering All Souls (pastor) Whenever we gather at The Lord’s Table we do so as a communion of souls – those physically present and those who gather in spirit and sentiment. Let us speak the names of those with whom we share this Easter Holy Communion… (say names out loud)

Prayer of Invitation (pastor) This responsive prayer is inspired by one of the first Christian Holy Communion prayers. Teach response; it appears 3xs: Christ, be with us.

As grains once scattered on the hillside are gathered together and made into a loaf, so too are we, Your people, gathered around Your table becoming one. Christ, be with us.

All: Christ, be with us.

As grapes grown in the field are gathered together and pressed into wine, so too are we drawn together and pressed by our times, sharing a common lot, transformed into Your life-blood for all. Christ, be with us.

All: Christ, be with us.

Let us prepare to eat and drink as Jesus taught us inviting the stranger to our table and welcoming the poor. May their absence serve to remind us of the divisions this Communion seeks to heal, and may their presence help transform us into the Body of Christ we share. Christ, be with us. (d)

All: Christ, be with us. Amen.

Prayer of Consecration (pastor)

Each person holds individual elements. Let us pray: Ever-Appearing Resurrected Christ, may we, through the grace of this joyful Easter Celebration of Holy Communion, meet You in the sharing of this sacred meal surrounded by loved ones on Earth and in Heaven. Hallelujah! Amen.

Sharing the Elements

We remember the night… as the meal began, Jesus took the bread (lift up bread), thanked God for it (praise God). Jesus broke it (break the bread) and gave it to the disciples saying: ” Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after they had finished their supper, Jesus took the cup (fill and lift), thanked God for it (praise God), and gave 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.

We share this loaf with (tear off pieces of bread for…) Christians around the world; Victims of war – Ukrainians, Russians, all of us; Refugees; COVID sick or in lockdown; All Creation; Those who WILL come to our church in the future.

Dear Ones, God’s eternal love surpasses human understanding. Just as Christ conquered death, Christ’s Easter Resurrection continues to open the gates of everlasting life. Hallelujah! Let us receive these gifts receiving the Risen Christ! (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

For all the ways, O God, You have fed and sustained us all the days of our lives, we give thanks, Almighty Creator!

For all the ways, O God, You have called out the best in us in our most challenging times, we give thanks, Still-Rising Christ!

For all the ways, O God, You have held us together spiritually when our bodies could not safely gather, we give thanks Blessed Holy Spirit! Amen.

Outside Announcements

Benediction (pastor)

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! And the people say, Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

All: Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(ceb) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible.

(d) Didache, ancient teachings from the second generation of Christians.

(jn) Julian of Norwich, Mediations with Julian of Norwich, Brendan Doyle.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan- Ohlone people, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: April 12, 2022.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. Follow your platforms’ publishing requirements for all created content especially if publishing online or broadcasting. Thank you!

Donation: 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!

For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: www.inthebiglove.com and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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