Easter Sunday At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
April 4, 2021
- Easter Breakfast/Brunch – I know, we can’t eat Easter Brunch together as a congregation. But, you can make an at-home Easter brunch that reminds you of resurrection (think “eggs” and even greens to remind you of the new life of springtime). Maybe, you can even go out for brunch this year. (Find a way to celebrate!) Also, you can share pictures of your Easter brunch with your church family (on Facebook, via text/email, or even sending them in to Tish to include in the Crosswords.)
- Paschal Candle – This is a candle we light on Easter to represent the Light of Christ with us. Traditionally, we keep it lit on Sunday mornings until Pentecost. Often, it’s a large candle with symbols of Jesus on it. You can use any candle you like from around your house. Place it in your worship space, have a lighter ready, and plan to light it at the beginning of your at-home worship through Pentecost Sunday or whenever you return to corporate worship.
- Paschal Candle Cover – If you can do so, make a cover of some kind (a cylinder that is much larger than your Paschal Candle. Before worship, light the Paschal candle and then “cover” the candle so that the flame is somewhat hidden, just as the Light of Christ was seemingly hidden from view between crucifixion and resurrection.
- Communion Elements
- A computer/tablet/phone for looking up the worshipful songs. You could also use a hymnal and an instrument.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Uncovering of the Paschal Candle
[Have someone in your worship group read:]
In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God.
In the Word was life,
And the life was the light of all humanity.
The light shines in the darkness,
And the darkness has not overcome it.
[Uncover the Paschal candle.]
May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
Illuminate our hearts and minds.
Song of Easter Praise
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today” #216
Welcome and Introduction
[If you’re alone, say both parts. If you’ve got someone/some others with you, appoint a leader to read the leader’s part.]
Leader: Christ is Risen!
People: Christ is Risen, Indeed!
Leader: Happy Easter! We began our worship today a little differently than we usually do as a way to signify that something IS different. Christ is risen! Death is defeated! The darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome the Light. Hallelujah! Amen! Our entire order of service will continue to be a reminder that, today, something is different.
Anthem: “He’s Alive”
Moment for Ministry
Today, we are collecting our denomination’s Easter Day Special Offering. You’ve got a bulletin insert that provides an explanation of this offering. As I’m sure you know, some of our denomination’s special day offerings benefit one specific ministry – like the Thanksgiving offering benefits higher education, and the Pentecost offering benefits new church development. That means there’s only ONE special offering to benefit and fund MOST of our denomination’s general ministries, almost all of the kinds of things we recognize we can do BETTER when we pool our resources than we can do as individual people or individual congregations. This includes things like:
- Communication ministries
- Overseas ministries
- Homeland Ministries – meaning ministries that support our local congregations
- Ethnic ministries
- Christian Unity Ministries
- The Office of the General Minister and President
- And many, many more.
If you would like to give to these essential ministries of the General Church, please write a check to FCCGJ and write “Easter Offering” in the memo line.
(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.)
God of life, in gratitude and great joy we laud you for the gifts of Jesus’ resurrection. On this day, give us hope, for Christ is risen.
On this festal day which brings joy to all Christians, on this festal day on which we so clearly see that our joy comes from you and your action, inspire us to seek you as the cause of every joy we experience and cherish in life…joys like those mentioned in this service of worship.
On this day in which we honor the gift of your Son’s risen body, encourage us, as well, to serve all those whose needs keep them from seeing themselves as created in Your image.
O God of victory over death,
For all who have need of the gift of Easter:
- For all who journey from illness to health, from despair to hope, from grief to consolation, from loneliness to love;
- For all who suffer and for all who mourn;
- For all who are on our weekly prayer list and all whose concerns have been lifted up by name in the service of worship;
Grant a recognition that death no longer has power over us, grant a wiping away of all tears, grant an experience of victory where present experience feels more like defeat….for Christ is risen.
God of life, thank you for the mystery planted within us, the paradox of life from death and community from scattered disciples.
We praise you for the dying that saves us from death, and for the rising which brings us new life.
We pray, as we live, through Jesus the risen one, and in the power of the Holy Spirit…Amen.
Scripture and Message (Sermon)
Read the scripture from pastor Brad’s sermon and then either read or listen to the sermon. Both can be found on our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org under the “Sermons” tab.
Invitation to Discipleship
Words of Invitation.
Quite simply, God is calling you, First Christian Church, Grand Junction, and individual members of this body, into a time of transition. Tomorrow, the transition begins. There’s not much you can do to avoid it.
The question is: what will you DO with this time of transition? Will you take the time and effort to intentionally look to God and follow where God leads? Or will you do something else? Consider your individual response and your response as part of this larger body as we watch, listen to, and hum along with our Hymn of Invitation.
Hymn of Invitation – “He Lives!” #226
Invitation: Today we read about and remember God’s miracle of new life, of resurrection. Through resurrection, God was doing something that was at the same time both long foretold and brand new. God continues to work things both foretold and new in our world today. And God seeks your participation: your participation through acts of love and service to others, your participation through worship, your participation through sharing the faith, your participation through words, and, yes, your participation through giving to support the continuation of Jesus’ ministry through the works of yourself and others. Somehow, not just IN FCCGJ but also THROUGH FCCGJ, God is seeking to work new life. Your gifts and tithes are one way of your participation in God’s new thing.
Response: If you feel called to respond by making a monetary gift to continue God’s work through FCCGJ, you can do so right now in one of three ways:
- Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
- On your cellphone, text GIVE2FCCGJ (plus the dollar amount you want to give) to 73256. For example, if you want to offer $50, text GIVE2FCCGJ $50 to 73256.
- Via the internet on your computer, go to our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org, click “online giving” on the top menu bar, and then click on the link under the second bullet point to make an online contribution.
Offering Prayer: God of Easter, utilize these tithes and offerings in a way consistent with your Easter gift of new life. As you bless these gifts and the world by them, help us – the givers – to experience the new life that results from giving in accordance with your will. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the risen One, and by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Communion: It’s always a little unusual – at least for me – to gather at the table and our remembrance of Jesus’ death on the day we celebrate resurrection. But today, on THIS Easter Sunday 2021, it might be the least unusual approach to the communion table on an Easter Sunday in my ministry. Why? Because the meal around that table so long ago propelled the disciples into a period of transition, a liminal space, an in-between space, and as we gather around this table today, God ushers you into a similar space. Be reminded while here at this table that God is WITH you, Christ is WITH you, in this in-between place and in this in-between time. With strength from Jesus, you will be fine.
Communion Hymn: “Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!” #222
Communion Prayer: God of new life, God of hope, grant by this bread, which is Jesus’ body broken, and this cup, which is Jesus’ blood shed for us, that we followers of Jesus might have our hope renewed and our focus placed squarely upon the new thing you are working in our midst. With renewed hope, give us the strength to participate in the new life of Jesus’ resurrection, that others might join in. I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.
Words of Institution: We remember that on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he sat around a table with his disciples and shared a meal. While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat. This is my body, broken for you.” In the same way, Jesus took a cup, and after blessing it, said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.
Closing Song of Celebration
“Christ Arose” #224
Through the resurrection of Jesus,
God has given us new life.
May God bless us with joy
And lead us continually into new life.