Whether you typically use the lectionary or not, the combining of the Easter story from Matthew with a psalm, a passage from Acts, and another from the letter to the Colossians provides a unique way of telling the Easter gospel message.
The litany is arranged for four voices, with each voice reading one of the following texts:
Voice 1: Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24
Voice 2: Matthew 28:1–10
Voice 3: Acts 10:39–43
Voice 4: Colossians 3:1–4
There are a few points in the reading of Psalm 118 where All the voices, voice 3, or voice 4 will speak, as indicated by the voice number and coordinating color. It is important that each voice has its own microphone so the script can flow naturally without breaks.
Voice 1: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
All: his love endures forever.
Voice 2: After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Voice 1: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
All: his love endures forever.
Voice 1: Let Israel say:
Voice 3: His love endures forever.”
Voice 1: Let the house of Aaron say:
Voice 4: “His love endures forever.”
Voice 1: Let those who fear the LORD say:
All: “His love endures forever.”
Voice 2: There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
Voice 1: When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Voice 2: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Voice 1: The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
Voice 2: “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Voice 1: Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
All: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
Voice 1: I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
Voice 2: Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Voice 1: The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Voice 2: Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Voice 1: The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
Voice 3: “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
All: Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
Voice 1: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
Voice 4: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Voice 1: You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
All: God’s love endures forever.