Share |

Early in the Morning . . .

An Easter Sunrise Service

This sunrise service began with contemplative instrumental music. Because the service was held indoors, a picture of a sunrise was projected on the screen before the service and during each of the prayer/reading segments. Parts for Reader 1 were adapted from an Easter prayer titled “Lord God, Early in the Morning,” from Stages on the Way by John L. Bell and Wild Goose Worship Group © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc. p. 184)

Call to Worship: “Come into His Presence” CH 420, SNC 3, SFL 4, WR 119

[Sung by an ensemble: st. 1, solo; st. 2-4 in four-part canon, a cappella (from the narthex behind the sanctuary)]

Prayer/Scripture

Reader 1: Lord God, early in the morning,
when the world was young,
you made life in all its beauty and terror;
you gave birth to all that we know:
sky and seas; plants and trees;
bodies of light in the sky;
creatures of the land, water, and air;
man and woman.

Reader 2: In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth. . . . And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed
in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work
he had been doing;
so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”
(Gen. 1:1, 30-2:2)

Song of Response: “For the Beauty of the Earth” CH 793, PH 473, PsH 432, SWM 54, SFL 89, TH 116, WR 40

[Vocal ensemble leads congregation in singing, a cappella, st.1-2; intro: solo voice sings “Christ our Lord to you we raise . . .”]

Liturgist: We stand in awe of your creation and give thanks, O Lord.
[A time of silence]

Prayer/Scripture

Reader 1: Early in the morning, when the world least expected it,
a newborn child crying in a cradle
announced that you had come among us,
that you were one of us.

The angels proclaimed it,
the shepherds heard it, and in obedience . . . worshiped.

Reader 2: Joseph went up to Bethlehem . . . with Mary,
who was pledged to be married to him
and was expecting a child.
While they were there,
the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all people.
Today in the town of David
a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God
for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told. (excerpts from Luke 2:4-20)

Song of Response: “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light” CH 264, PH 26, PsH 343, WR 202

[Sung by ensemble, a cappella.]

Liturgist: We stand in awe of your incarnation and give thanks, O Lord.
[A time of silence]

Prayer/Scripture

Reader 1: Early in the morning, surrounded by respectable
liars, religious leaders, anxious statesmen, and silent friends,
you accepted the penalty for doing good, for being God:
You shouldered and suffered the cross,
and with the words, “It is finished!”
you put an end to our hopeless state of death,
giving instead the promise of salvation and life.

Reader 2: Consider the heart of Christ Jesus:
“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:6-8)

Song of Response: “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” CH 306, PH 78, PsH 385, TH 254, WR 258
[Ensemble leads congregation in singing, a cappella, st. 1-2; intro: solo or ensemble hums song once through.]

Liturgist: We stand in awe of your sacrifice and give thanks, O Lord.
[A time of silence]

Prayer/Scripture

Reader 1: Early in the morning,
a voice in a guarded graveyard,
empty cloths and footsteps in the dew
proved that you had risen,
that you had come back to those and for those
who had forgotten, denied, and destroyed you.

Reader 2: God raised [Jesus] from the dead,
freeing him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death
to keep its hold on him.
God has raised this Jesus to life,
and we are all witnesses of the fact. (Acts 2:24, 32)
Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth
into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1 Pet. 1:3)

Song of Response: “Alleluia! Alleluia!” CH 365, PsH 387, TH 283, WR 289
[Ensemble leads congregation in singing, a cappella, st. 1-2; intro: solo voice sings “Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead.”]

Liturgist: We stand in awe of your resurrection and give thanks, O Lord.
[A time of silence]

Prayer/Scripture

Reader 1: Early in the morning,
the body of believers gather together,
one in faith and hope,
one in purpose:
To believe in and worship you,
the one Lord, Jesus Christ,
To live forgiven and thankful lives,
and to celebrate the victory over death
and the promise of eternal life.

Reader 2: But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(1 Cor. 15:57)

Song of Response: “I Believe in Jesus” WR 675
[Ensemble sings st. 1 through, then leads congregation in singing st. 2, accompanied on piano.]

Liturgist: Go, in awe of the creation, incarnation,
death, and resurrection of our God . . .
and give thanks.
For God has raised Jesus to life,
and we are all witnesses to the fact.

People: Amen. He is risen!