At CrossPoint Christian Reformed Church there had always been a traditional 9 a.m. service and a contemporary 11 a.m. service. In the spring of 2016 we combined the two groups and began worshiping together at 10 a.m. Those who had previously worshiped at the earlier service had never heard the drums in worship; those who had always gathered for the later service had never sung a hymn with the organ! We had some challenges—good ones. We adjusted, and we asked for humble patience with each other. The “Best Last Word” service in 2017 was our first Easter service as a “combined” congregation. Worship was led by a choir, a praise team (guitars, drums, piano, vocalists) and the organ. The gathering song, “O Praise the Name,” was a new song for the congregation and was accompanied by the praise band, with vocalists leading on the verses and the choir singing the choruses in three-part harmony. I also had the praise band accompany the choir for “Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed” for the added percussion and dance-like feel. A children’s group learned motions for “A Glorious Day.” That was a beautiful visual addition—and it always helps to have kids involved when teaching a new song!
“The Resurrection Is Real” is our Easter service from 2008 at Immanuel CRC. It’s interesting to note that since we learned “On the Third Day” then, we have sung it almost every Easter since! When it was introduced for the first time, I had asked one of our visual team members to find images to enhance the amazing lyrics of this song, projecting a different image every half verse or so. I’ve heard testimonies to how the visual element added layers of meaning and beauty. (The PowerPoint file is available by clicking here.)
After the welcome and opening prayer, we began the 2008 service with silence—the same silence that ended the Good Friday service three days before. Then we quietly began singing the third stanza of “In Christ Alone” rising to our feet at the third line (“bursting forth . . .”) and finishing the verse by repeating from “And as he stands in victory . . .”
Two of our standards for Easter worship are: We celebrate communion (as well as on Good Friday), and we always ask a child to read the Easter story in worship.
The Best Last Word
God Calls Us to Worship
Gathering Song: “O Praise the Name” Ussher, Sampson, and Hastings
Call to Worship
Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!
Glory and honor, dominion and power, be to our God forever and ever!
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Easter Hymn of Praise: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” Wesley, LUYH 182, GtG 245, PsH 388
God has made us alive with Christ!
Death has been swallowed up in victory!
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Mutual Greetings with the Historic Christian Testimony
The Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!
Our Testimony in Song: “Glorious Day” Hall and Bleecker
Option: Children may also lead with the sign language
Reading: The Easter story from The Jesus Storybook Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones, Grand Rapids, MI: ZonderKidz, 2007)
Song of Response (Choral): “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed” Getty, Getty, and Cash
We Give of Our Gifts
Choral Offertory: “Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen” Brokering, LUYH 205 (vv. 1, 4, 5)
Dedication of Our Gifts
God Speaks His Word
Prayer for the Guidance of the Spirit
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1–7; Revelation 1:9–18
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Message: “The Best Last Word”
We Respond in Gratitude
Song of Response: “Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna” Wren, LUYH 204, GtG 248
Prayers of the People
Song of Easter Joy: “Low in the Grave He Lay” Lowry, LUYH 186 (vv. 1, 3), PsH 396
God Blesses Us for Service
God’s Parting Blessing
Closing Song: “My Redeemer Lives” Morgan
Postlude: Praise Team
Resurrection Is Real
We Gather to Praise Our Risen Lord
Welcome and Prayer
Song: “In Christ Alone” Getty and Townend, LUYH 770 (v. 3)
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
—Ancient Easter greeting
Suggestion: Verses 1, 3, 5—all; verse 2—women (all join in for “Alleluia”); verse 4—men (all join in for “Alleluia”)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Celebrating the Risen Savior
Reading: Matthew 28:1–8
Profession of Faith
Song of Response: “My Redeemer Lives” Morgan
God Speaks to Us in Word and Sacrament
Prayer for Understanding
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12–20
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
Message: “Resurrection Is Real”
Hymn of Response: “Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven” Wordsworth, LUYH 179, PsH 387 (vv. 1, 3, 4)
Celebration of Holy Communion
Song during communion: “Oh, to See the Dawn” Getty and Townend, LUYH 177
We Respond in Gratitude
Song of Praise: “Oh, qué bueno es Jesús/Oh, How Good Is Christ the Lord” Puerto Rican, LUYH 192
God Sends Out His People
Song of Hope: “On the Third Day” Byrd and Maher
Passing of the Peace
Followed by refreshments and fellowship
The Digital Library version of this article contains many hyperlinks to additional information and resources. To become a member or add digital library access to your existing subscription go to ReformedWorship.org, email us at info@ReformedWorship.org, or call 1-800-777-7270.