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Come, Lord Jesus, Come: Completing the journey of Holy Week

An Easter service often begins with great festivity, with bright organ and trumpet music, with "all the lights up." Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church chose a different mood for this Easter service. Their concern was to remember that Easter morning is the completion of the Holy Week journey. So the service began the way it concluded on Good Friday: in darkness, with no banners, no flowers, no prelude.

The flowers and the paramentsfor lectern and pulpit were carried in during the first reading as the lights came up. The music also began very softly and grew in sound and intensity during ttie Response to the reading. First a solo voice from the front sang "Come, Lord Jesus"; then the choir sang the same words from the back; finally, the whole congregation joined in the refrain "Come, Lord Jesus".

The People will Gather in Silence

The Reading

He comes, comes, ever comes. The Lord is always coming. He has come, he comes this day, he will come again—today tomorrow, at the last sunrise when he will gather his family together. We are reminded to seek the Lord "while he is still to be found, to call on him while he is still near." We whisper... we cry out, "Come, Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus, come."

O God, Creator, Ruler, Redeemer, Friend, the one who has come in your name comes again with majesty and power, with decisiveness and strength, with integrity and imagination, with gentleness and peace. May he enter the hearts of those who wait with quiet expectation, bringing all that is good and holy and just. And may the one who comes become in us love made visible.
[adapted from God-with-Us: Resources for Prayer and Praise, Miriam Terese Winter, Abingdon Press, Abingdon Press, 1979]

The Response

Liturgist: Come in a whirlwind! Awaken awareness!
People: Come in a soft breeze, speak to our hearts.
Soloist: "Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come."
Liturgist: Come, lift the clouds, enlighten our darkness.
People: Come, faithful Presence, come as a friend.
Soloist: "Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come."
Liturgist: Come, perfect peace, long, long promised.
People: Come, heal our brokenness, bind up our wounds.
Choir: "Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come."
Liturgist: Come, lead us safely through our wilderness wanderings.
People: Come, shade; come, shelter: stretch out your hand.
Choir: "Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come,"
Liturgist: Come, Bread of Life, the whole world hungers.
People: Come, Living Water! How long must we thirst?
All sing: Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come.
Liturgist: Come, Life! Come, Easter! Come alive among us.
People: Come, Christ! Come, Lord! Become love in us.
All sing: Come, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come.

The Prayer

The Easter Proclamation

Matthew 28:1-10

Anthem

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (ORIENTIS PARTIBUS)
[arr. John Ferguson. Augsburg 11-2386. SATB with snare drum and piccolo]

The Reading

Reader 1: Universe and every universe beyond, spin and blaze, whirl and dance, leap and laugh as never before.

Reader 2: It's happened. It's new. It's here.

Reader 1: The liberation. The victory. The new creation.

Reader 2: Christ has smashed death. He has liberated the world. He has freed the universe.

Reader 1: You and I and everything are free again, new again, alive again.

Reader 2: Let us have a festival and follow him across the skies, through the flames of heaven and back down every darkened alley on the earth.

Reader 1: Let us invite him to come and liberate our souls, clean up our cities, and stir up our spirits so that all might be made new.

Reader 2: 0 God, you conquered.

Reader 1: Keep on fighting through us.

Reader 2: 0 Christ, you rose.

Reader 1: Keep on rising in us.

Reader 2: 0 Spirit, you celebrate.

Reader 2: Keep on celebrating through us.

Reader 1: You are new!

Reader 2: You are here!

Reader 1: You are alive!
[from Interrobang: A Bunch of Unanswered Prayers and Unlimited Shouts, Norman C. Habel, Fortress Press 1969]

The Processional Hymn

"The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done" (VICTORY)
[FsH 391, PH 113, RL 313, TH 275]

The Collect

Hymn

"Christ Is Risen! Shout Hosanna" (HYMN TO JOY)
[PH 104]

[The children may come forward and place a flower on the cross.]

The Sermon

Anthem

Alleluia! He Lives" (Pote)

The Creed
[adapted from "A Declaration of Faith"]

In Christ we are given a glimpse of the new creation
which God has begun and will surely finish.
We do not know when the final day will come.
In our time we see only broken and scattered signs
that the renewal of all things is under way.
Yet in faith we proclaim the Lord is risen!
In our time we do not yet see
the end of cruelty and suffering in the world,
the church, or our own lives.
Yet in faith we proclaim the Lord is risen!
As he stands at the center of our history,
we are confident he will stand at its end.
Evil will be condemned.
There will be no more tears and pain.
All things will be made new, for the Lord is risen.
He is risen indeed!

The Offering and Offertory

"Lift High the Cross" (arr. Manz)

The Presentation of the Offering

"Crown Him with Many Crowns," st. 3
[PsH 410, PH 151, PL 60Q TH 295]

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

The Invitation

The Great Litany of Thanksgiving and Lord's Prayer

Liturgist: Eternal God, creator of the heavens and earth, we stand in awe of your power. You laid the foundations of the earth. You raised up the mountains and carved out the seas. You made us in your image, and in human form you exemplify your will for all people.

People: But we turned from you, giving way to evil and allowing its reign of terror to destroy us.

Liturgist: Still you love us and seek to make us your people. You sit at the table with us even though we are sinners. You bless our feeble attempts at faith, bringing to fulfillment our efforts to reflect your presence among us.

Choir: "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore his sacred name."
[PsH 373, PH 371, RL 415, TH 263]

Liturgist: You cause goodness to triumph over the forces of evil throughout the earth. In your Son the promised reign of peace on earth is initiated.

People: Now we take great hope in the signs of His coming in places long oppressed by racism, poverty, suffering and injustice.

Choir: "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore his sacred name."

Liturgist: In your mercy you guide our efforts to rid the earth of disease. You cause abundance to grow out of the ground enabling us to nourish all those in need.

People: And when we spoil your earth with our waste and greed, you replenish the environment and give us hope.

Choir: "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore his sacred name."

Liturgist: We praise you, O God, for all signs of your goodness:

People: For promises of peace and plenty, for diseases healed and relationships restored, and for your Son Jesus, who lived among us, sharing j oy and sorrow, and sacrificing himself for our sins so that we might celebrate your victory over death. In remembrance of your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we take this bread and cup and give you praise and thanksgiving.

People: "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore his sacred name."

The Words of Institution

Communion

(As the elements are passed, it is appropriate to greet one another, saying, "This is the body of Christ, broken for you" and "This is the blood of Christ, shed for you.")

Bell Choir

"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today"
[arr.Kinyon]

Prayer

Hymn

"Oh, How Good Is Christ the Lord"
[PsH 401]

The Benediction and Peace

Liturgist: We have seen the empty tomb and have celebrated God's creative powers.

People: We are Easter people who have passed from death to life.

Liturgist: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

Liturgist: And may the Lord surround you with care.

People: We live to proclaim God's glorious deeds.

Liturgist: May the peace, joy, and hope of God be with you.

People: And also with you.

(Let us greet one another.)

The Postlude

"The Strife Is O'er"
[arr. Cassler]

"Alleluia! Jesus Lives"
[arr. Cassler]

Excerpt
IN A WORD
Collect

A collect (pronounced coll'ect) is a particular form of a brief prayer. The origin of the term is uncertain, but it is thought to derive from the collecting of individual petitions into a terse summary form by the worship leader at different points during the service.

The term collect refers to a compact prayer with interdependent parts, following a classic pattern. The prayer begins with an address to God, simply naming the One to whom we pray followed by an acknowledgement of certain divine attributes pertinent to the prayer's request. Then comes the petition itself, the core of the prayer that claims the promises of God inherent in the divine attributes just noted. This is the substantive part of the prayer. The petitioners remember also that they pray in the context of the full community of the church, the whole community of the people of God, and their prayers are on behalf of all. The prayer next indicates the result desired if the petition is granted and how the divine promises will be translated into the lives of the people. The final doxology praises Christ who is the meditator of our prayers to God.

Ancient prayers of this form invariably have the same structure, as does this modern example:

Address to God Great God
Divine Attributes whose Son Jesus came as a servant among us
Petition control our wants and restrain our ambitions,
Result Desired so that we may serve you faithfully and fulfill our lives;
Doxology in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Worshipbook, p. 143.)

This simple structure is a helpful guide in formulating one's personal prayers as well as various prayers for worship, such as the prayer of the day.

The ABCs of Worship. A Concise Dictionary. Donald Wilson Stake. Louisville, KY: Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1992.