The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
April 04, 2021
Easter is not simply the miracle of a dead person raised from the grave, but a celebration of power that can shatter death in order that people can freely serve the God of life. In the resurrection of Christ, God’s awesome purposes were on display, revealing a radically new world of peace and harmony and equality and mutuality, about which we can only dream. The Lord of the future has been disclosed to us. Both the incarnation at Christmas and the resurrection at Easter testify to the lordship of Christ.
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Living God, on the first day of the week you brought to birth a new creation through the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Fill us with the hope and joy of new beginnings, so that we may share the good news of your liberating, life-giving power with all the world; through Christ our Savior, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.
PRELUDE “Victory” John Barr
CALL TO WORSHIP
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Christ is Risen Indeed!
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
CALL TO RECONCILIATION
Friends, the good news of the risen Christ is that the death-tending realities of our world have been overcome. Because Christ is risen, we are no longer enslaved to hatred, greed, anxiety and fear. Indeed, we are freed to live in Christ and for one another. Let us confess our sin in order that we might live in and through the risen Christ.
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
O God, in raising Christ from dead, you have set us free from self- absorption, doubt and fear. Yet we continue to live as those who are enslaved to enmity towards others and ourselves. We have been called to love you with all of who we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we are turned in upon ourselves and refuse to love. Empower us with the new life of the risen Christ so that we might be free to love you, others and ourselves as we ought. Amen.
Silence is observed
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Our baptism assures us that, in the risen Christ, enmities based in race, gender and class have been washed away. As Paul tell us, for those who are clothed in Christ, “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female.” Old divisions have been crucified in Christ so that we who are raised with Christ might live in mutuality and peace.
PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Our peace comes from knowing how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we try to love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
“The peace of Christ be with you,”
“And also with you.”
ANTHEM “Come Proclaim the Victory” Joseph Martin
CHILDREN’S MESSAGE (children 3-5 may proceed to Room 3)
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE John 20:1-18
20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
SERMON “The Never-Ending Story” Rev. Dr. Debby Brincivalli
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH “From The Brief Statement of Faith”
In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
ANTHEM “Christ is Alive” arr. Richard Dirkson
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
The Resurrection has begun! The Day of Celebration is here!
We gather at the table to share in the Banquet of Life!
Here we meet all who share with us the hope for a brighter future!
All who wish to follow The Way of Life are welcome to eat and drink at God’s table.
Let us eat together.
GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!
We should give thanks!
Thanks, and praise to the One who brings life!
Gracious God, we raise voices hoarse from shouting alleluias, we sing praises for the wonder of an empty tomb, we give thanks for the gifts of life, of life that breaks the bonds of death.
We sing songs of praise for the world you have given us, for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies.
As the spring deepens and the earth thaws, as green breaks through the brown of winter,
we sing songs of hope for new life springing from dead soil, for the promise held in every seed that is sown.
As people of faith we remember all those who have gone before.
People like Moses and Miriam, leading their people to freedom; like Sarah and Abraham, seeking a new life in a strange land; like Peter and Mary, proclaiming an empty tomb and life beyond the cross.
We remember these and many others, named and unnamed, who have embraced Your life, Your hope, and moved into a new age.
And we trust that in remembering and retelling their stories, we too can take the leap into New Life.
Deep among all those memories we remember the life of a Special One.
Jesus, Child of Mary.
Born of a woman, he grew to adulthood among people who struggled daily for life.
Baptized by John, he embraced the life to which You called him.
He taught and preached a vision of a world where all divisions were broken down, where all had what they needed for abundant life, where the Reign of God was as real on earth as in heaven.
And though the powerful in his world fought back, he stood strong.
When offered a chance to take the easy way he overcame his own fear and instead prayed “yet Thy will be done”.
Even though they put him to death you raised him to life, vindicating his vision and bringing hope and healing to the world.
As inheritors of that hope we join together in the cries the welcomed him into Jerusalem, the cries of hope for the world:
Hosanna! Hosanna! Holy One! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
As we gather at this table we remember a story told mere days ago
and yet also an age ago.
We remember that Jesus gathered with his closest friends in an Upper Room to share the feast of liberation
And while sharing the ancient story of freedom, he called them to remember the promised freedom of God’s Kingdom.
We remember that at that table he took the bread, gave thanks for it, blessed it, broke it and passed it among them saying:
This is my body, broken by and for the world. Whenever you eat it remember me.
Then later he took the cup of wine, blessed it and passed it among them saying:
This is the cup of the New Covenant, sealed in my blood. Whenever you drink it remember me, and look toward the fulfilment of God’s Kingdom.
And so we break the bread and pour the cup and we remember with hope.
On this Easter Day we share in the Banquet of Freedom to celebrate Life Victorious!
God of Life, in the beginning your Spirit hovered over the water,
calling forth life, creating and inspiring.
Send Your Spirit upon we who gather to share this meal, infuse this bread and this juice with the Spirit’s power,
As we eat and drink my we feel the power of Life Triumphant pulse in our veins, the fire of hope blaze in our hearts, and the joy of the Empty tomb dance in our souls.
Christ who died is now alive!
And so, as children of a loving Parent, we pray together the words that Jesus, the Risen Christ, taught his friends…
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
BREAKING OF THE BREAD
POURING OF THE CUP
We have eaten, we have drunk, we have embraced the beginning of the new age. Grant, O God, that we who have gathered together on this Day of Resurrection, will move on as people of hope, people of life, people of the Kingdom. May the meal we have shared today revive us in body and soul and energize us as we go out to share the Good News. Christ is Risen! Death is Defeated! Life Wins! Alleluia and Amen!
OFFERING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS
The Lord prepares a table for us in the midst of all that threatens us, and God mercy follows us all the days of our lives. Let us give to others as God has given to us.
DOXOLOGY, HYMN No. 609, Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise God, all creatures high and low. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise God, in Jesus fully known: Creator, Word, and Spirit one. Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Gracious God, accept what we offer today on the promise that we will become Easter people, and a blessing to one another and to the earth. Amen.