A Convergence Easter Service
The service below is intended to be used as a guideline for the congregation that desires to bring together traditional and contemporary styles of worship. Adapt to local usage and style during the Easter (Pascha) season.
Environment. After the solemnity of the week and the red paraments and frontals of earlier services, the white colors seem to brighten the whole sanctuary. Before the service, lilies and other floral arrangements can be placed in the front to give the room a sense of life.
ACTS OF ENTRANCE
Solemn Processional/Declaration of Resurrection. The crucifer and banner carriers, dancers, and other participants from the previous night silently process in with the same veiled cross and furled banners to a single, low tone on the keyboards. After they are in place, a reader shares the Resurrection account.
Reading/Response. Luke 23:50–24:12 is read. After the reading of the Scripture the minister leads the congregation in a threefold declaration: He is risen—He is risen indeed! As the declaration continues, the cross is undraped and the banners are unfurled, with shouts of praise coming from everyone throughout the sanctuary.
Hymn. The worship team leads the congregation in “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”
Acts of Praise and Worship. Worship continues under the theme of resurrection and new life. Encouragement is given for gifts to operate as people celebrate the power of the Christ, risen from the dead. An Easter litany and other expressions of worship may also be added to this section.
Resurrection Praise Reports. Out of the time of praise and worship, opportunity is given for members of the congregation to express ways in which they have experienced Resurrection power in recent months. This can be spontaneous or preplanned concerning those who give testi- mony.
MINISTRY OF THE WORD
Collect for Easter Sunday. “Almighty God, who through your only begotten Son Jesus Christ destroyed the sting of death and opened to those who repent the way of everlasting life: grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may continually be raised from the death of sin by the same power that raised from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
Good first reading selections are Isaiah 51:9–11, or Acts 10:34–43, or Exodus 14:10–14, 21–25; 15:20–21. An appropriate Psalm would be Psalm 118:14–29. The second reading could be either Acts 10:34–43 or Colossians 3:1–4. Fitting Gospel readings include Matthew 28:1–10, Mark 16:1–8, Luke 24:1–10, and John 20:1–10.
MINISTRY OF THE TABLE
Offertory. Easter is a perfect time to take a special offering for missions, emphasizing the work of the gospel, proclaiming the richness of the risen Christ to every nation. This could be done with the regular offering or as a special event afterward. People could even be invited to come forward and place their gift on the altar either before or during Communion.
Great Thanksgiving. Communion during the Easter season should be celebrated with added joy. Express this joy with Communion songs of resurrection, victory and exaltation, and observe the laying on of hands with anointing.
Prayer after Communion. “Heavenly Father, we thank you for satisfying the hunger in our hearts through giving us the Bread of heaven. In sharing in this holy meal, may we remember his death which gives us life, and his coming again which gives us hope. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
ACTS OF DISMISSAL
Blessing/Benediction. “May the God of peace, who through the blood of eternal covenant, brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Leader: Go forth in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ!
People: Thanks be to God!