Here are some suggestions that you could consider to make your early Easter morning celebratory and worshipful.
1. Take a photograph or video first thing Easter morning and send it to be posted on our website as part of our main On Line Service for later that morning. This includes children as well as adults, please! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider this as part of your spiritual experience of the day—a photograph or video of something that makes you think of Easter or spring or resurrection and new life, something that fills you with hope and light.
Ideally it would be at exactly 6:10 AM or whenever the first rays of sun reach your house (if it is one of those rare Easters when the sun shines at sunrise). But if your Easter celebration involves sleeping in, please take the photo or video as soon as your eyes are open.
If we cannot look around the sanctuary and see one another’s smiles and Easter bonnets, we can compensate for it by getting to look through one another’s eyes into our various corners of the world to celebrate together the beauty we each see.
2. First words for Easter morning (this is how we would do it in the sanctuary—you can improvise for home).
Leader: He is risen!
All: He is risen indeed!
Leader: In him was life, and the life was the light of the world.
People: The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness does not overcome it.
A. Christ Jesus, this past week has been one of mixed emotions, of faith struggling to understand. We have greeted you with palm fronds. We have sat at a celebratory seder table with you that turned out to be your Last Supper. We have been through the struggle and trauma of Gethsemane. We have witnessed your death on a cross. Yet on the third day, you come to us again. You live anew! By your life within and among us we know that death is not the final word. As the sun rises on a new day, please rise in our lives this Easter morning, for you are our hope, our joy and our life. Amen.
B. Gracious and loving God, you have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Please, God, raise us, too. May fresh life burst among us like buds awakening to the spring. May shells of distrust or self-hatred that keep us from loving be broken away so that new life can emerge. May new community spring up where fear has kept us strangers. Give us courage in making peace, building justice and caring for the earth. Teach us to trust the slow process from seed to stem, stem to flower, flower to fruit. Breathe on us with your Spirit, through the living Christ. Amen.
C. Very early on that first day you caught chaos unawares, Astounding God: planting grace in a garden, setting love loose on creation, flinging joy in the air.
Very early on that first day Jesus, Sun of Justice: you staggered evil, throwing its weight off the world; you confounded death, leaving it alone in the grave; you opened the gates of God’s realm, so all could follow you into true life.
Very early on this first day of the week, while we were washing sleep from our eyes and trying to make sense of our lives, you sang glad songs to us, Sacred Spirit: rolling away fears from our hearts so we can see the living Christ everywhere.
God of Beloved Community, God who is love and life and light, very early on this first day of the week we lift our grateful prayers to you, and may we do so every day of our lives. May your realm restore all people, all the earth and all creatures to health and well-being. Amen.
4. Scripture Reading:
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
5. Suggested Hymns:
“Morning Has Broken”—see https://hymnary.org/text/morning_has_broken for the text and a recording of the tune.
“Fairest Lord Jesus”— see https://hymnary.org/text/fairest_lord_jesus_ruler_of_all_nature for the text and a recording of the tune.
“Halle, Halle, Halle (Caribbean Hallelujah)”—for text and recording, see https://hymnary.org/tune/halle_halle_caribbean
(Versions of these hymns with words can be found on YouTube as well. We will have traditional Easter carols in our main On Line Service.)
Here is the Easter promise:
God brings new life where we are worn and tired and near despair,
God brings new love where our hearts have turned to stone,
God brings forgiveness where we have been wounded or have wounded others,
God brings the freedom of the Holy Spirit where we are the prisoners of ourselves or of an oppressive world,
God works miracles where we see no hope if we keeping hoping anyway.
Easter sings, “He is risen! He is alive!” And so we live also now—this day, and all our tomorrows!
Pingback: On Line Worship Service Good Friday, April 10, 2020 | United Church of Strafford, Vermont