2019 Easter Worship Resources

empty tomb

“But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened”. -Luke 24:12

Several times a year, On Earth Peace prepares worship resources to share with our community.

We’ve heard that these are as often used for personal devotion as for actual worship planning, so for Easter 2019 we’ve expanded what we’re providing, to include some traditional worship resources along with poetry, art, and music.

Please use these resources to pray, to plan worship, or however you see fit!

Call to Worship:

Carol Penner https://carolpenner.typepad.com/leadinginworship/prayers-call-to-worship/

One: Early in the morning we come to you, Lord, with gratefulness and wonder, with awe at your power to save us.
All: This morning we want to follow the women to the tomb.
One: We want to hear the surprising words, “He is not here!”
All: We want to kneel before Christ with joy and thankfulness.
One: And we want to leave here bursting with good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people.
All: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Song Suggestions:

Hymns (from the COB hymnal):

Contemporary songs:

Gospel Songs:

Art for Reflection

Poems for Reflection:

spring song by Lucille Clifton, from good news about the earth (1972).

the green of Jesus
is breaking the ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious Jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of Jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
in the body of Jesus and
the future is possible

A recording of Cliffton reading spring song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoG29TbMW9A

From “Sometimes” by Mary Oliver (published in Red Bird, Beacon Press, 2008)

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

"Christ Has No Body" - St. Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world.

"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" - Wendell Berry

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Invocation Prayer:

God of justice and mercy, we give you thanks for the gifts you have given us. Thank you for sending your Son, thank you for each breath, thank you for your endless work in the world. As we reflect on this Easter season, we praise you for your wonderful blessings. Yet, we remember those who are bound by the sinful chains of this world. We pray for those living in poverty, slavery, and countless other unjust systems. May your glory and salvation be known to all. May your kingdom come here to earth. Amen.

Scripture Focus: Luke 24:1-12 and Isaiah 65:17-25

Scripture Reflection:

When the women went to the disciples to tell them that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, the disciples did not believe them. The NRSV says, “they thought it was an idle tale”. Yet, one disciple must have had a glimpse of hope within him. When Peter got up to see what was in or not in the tomb, he believed he would see what the women had described. His belief encouraged him to see for himself whether Jesus’ body would be in the tomb or not. Behold, Peter found himself in an empty tomb, amazed in full belief that Jesus had risen from the dead just as he said when he was on earth. He was amazed at the miracle God had performed. Amazed.

God is still performing miracles today. God is still at work. It may seem hard to believe that at times with so much injustice and division today, so many oppressions large and small. Like Peter, we must be willing to stand up and look for amazement in the workings of God, big and small. May we be like Peter during these times and be willing to look for how God is working.

This past Thursday, we celebrated Love Feast by eating together, having communion with one another, and washing each other’s feet. Christ’s love was sacrificial; not only did Christ die for us, but Christ lived for others. He served others by feeding, washing feet, healing, resurrection, and countless other acts - by seeing and directly engaging people in their lives. Living as Christ lived includes sacrificing ourselves for others: putting ourselves on the line for those on the margins. Late last year, my community in Durham, NC pulled together to protect a brother living in sanctuary at a local church. He was given a place to stay so that he would be safe from ICE. Unfortunately, when he went for his assigned meeting, he was detained and later deported. Yet, his community tried with everything they had to protect him. As this brother was being loaded into the ICE van, his friends and neighbors surrounded the van in attempt to not let it take him anywhere. This is what we are called to do: sacrificing ourselves for the sake our our siblings on the margins and in danger. Live out our call to be like Christ.

As Christians, we are called to stand up for those on the margins and actively work towards justice. If we profess to be followers of Christ, how do we prove it? How do we speak, how do we act, are we actively spreading and working for the Gospel or are we passively ignoring those around us? Are we truly following the Christ who rose from the grave for us? We must stand up and believe in a new heaven and a new earth - God’s vision that children and elders alike will live out their lives free from harm; that we will plant gardens and build homes; that “the wolf and lamb will feed together, and the lion eat straw like an ox.” This Easter, may we become people who are amazed at God’s goodness. From that place of amazement let us refuse (with Isaiah) to either “harm or destroy,” let us plant orchards (or community gardens) and build houses (or shelter the houseless) -- Let us be amazed. - Jen Houser, OEP intern


May the Lord bless you and keep you. As children of God, may we live as Christ and work towards justice and peace. Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

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