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Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! A Service of Witness to the Resurrection

The title for this service is the same as the title of the funeral service in the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (Westminster/ John Knox, 1993). On Easter Sunday, we bear witness to the dying and rising of Christ as well as to our own dying and rising with him (Rom. 6:4).

Gathering Songs

Several gathering songs were printed in the back of the worship booklet in order to set the spirit of this festive service and involve people from the moment they entered the worship space. It also provided opportunity to teach a couple of the songs and heightened anticipation. The gathering songs were led as appropriate by organ or piano or guitar or a combination of these and other instruments. Cantico Nuevo, a choir from New York City, also sang a couple of festive anthems before the service. The rest of the music was entirely congregational.

The final gathering song was “Aleluya/Alleluia” (SNC 149), sung meditatively and quietly; people were then asked to greet those nearest them, echoing the ancient Easter greeting “The Lord is risen.” “The Lord is risen indeed.”

Organ Prelude: “Lament: Rising from Resurrection” by Larry King

Opening

Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10

The reading was “interrupted” by the congregation singing “Gloria” (SNC 116) after verses 3, 7, and 10. The singing was rehearsed during the gathering songs; the final time, the choir concluded with the complete setting found in the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation.

Greeting

Grace to you and peace from God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits that are before the throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead and the ruler of the kings on earth.

Hymn: “Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen!” SNC 150

Celebrating Our New Life in Christ

Call to Confession

By his death and resurrection Jesus Christ, the living water, frees us from sin and death and opens the way to life everlasting. All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (from Rom. 6:1-4)

Response

Prayer of Confession

[Followed by the Response, now sung in canon.]

Assurance of Pardon: Romans 6:10-11, 14

Hymn: “Resucito Aleluya” (El himnario presbiteriano, Geneva Press, 1999)

Song Title Here

Proclamation

Friends in Christ, let us listen attentively to the Word of God, recalling God’s saving deeds throughout history and how, in the fullness of time, God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us: Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!

Old Testament: Isaiah 65:17-25

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 118

Read responsively with a refrain from Taizé: “Surrexit Christus/Christ is risen. Sing to the Lord” (Taize: Songs for Prayer, GIA Publications, 1991).

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Sermon: Irreducibly Raised!

Note: The text of this sermon by Timothy Brown is available here.

Response: “Christo Vive/Christ Is Risen” PH 109

Prayers of the People

Doxology: “Hallelujah” by G. F. Handel, Messiah

[Everyone was invited to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”; accompaniment included organ, brass quartet, and timpani.]

Parting Blessing: Hebrews 13:20-21

Postlude: “Ecstasy: Reflection from Resurrection” by Larry King