Easter Liturgy

Easter Call to Worship

Alleluia! Christ is risen! 
He is risen indeed! 
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. 
His steadfast love endures forever! 
The stone that the builders rejected 
    has become the chief cornerstone. 
This is the Lord’s doing—
    it is marvelous in our eyes! 
This is the day that the Lord has made! 
Let us rejoice and be glad in it! 
For Christ is risen! 
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
—from Psalm 118

Easter Opening Prayer

Glory be to you, O God, our strength and our redeemer. 
The vacant cross and the empty tomb vindicate your claim 
    that the love which suffers is the love which endures beyond the grave. 
So fill your people with joy and your church with celebration 
    that the world may know that your holy Son Jesus 
        is not a dead hero we commemorate, 
            but the living Lord we worship, and in whose Name we pray.
Common Order, Church of Scotland (alt.)

Easter Pastoral Prayer

We thank you, O God of the living,
    that in Jesus Christ and his resurrection
        you triumphed over death.
As we celebrate this feast,
    help us to embrace life in all its forms—
        in the universe beyond our knowledge,
            in nature that surrounds us,
                in our neighbors near and far,
                    and in our own spirits.

We pray for our family members and friends,
    that they might feel your invincible love this day.
And we pray for all who are still oppressed by the power of death—
    for the sick and dying,
        for the lonely and the desperate.
Fill them with the knowledge of your grace
        that they may be strengthened by your Spirit;
    and send them your messengers
        that they might see the face of Christ in others.

We pray for all 
    who are part of the struggle against the powers of death—
        for healthcare workers, scientists, counselors, and clergy.
May they share your hope with all who suffer.

We pray most ardently on this Easter Sunday morning
    that peace may prevail on earth.
Send your incomprehensible grace into war zones,
    stand by the innocent,
        give wisdom and courage to those who protect human life,
            and give to the powerful
                ears to hear the quiet voice of your peacemakers.

Finally, O God, we pray for ourselves.
Grant us creativity,
    and empower us to rise up
        and live the life that you have granted us.
Hear now our prayers in the silence of our hearts.

[A silence is kept.]

All this we ask you in the Name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit, 
lives and reigns as God forevermore.
—inspired by Reformierte Liturgie (1999)

Easter Invitation

The feast has been prepared and the invitation has gone out:
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey,
    you’re welcome here at this table of celebration.
Though in grief we witnessed his death on the cross,
    with inexpressible joy we hear of Christ’s resurrection.
To all who have heard the good news that he is risen indeed,
    God says, Come, leave death behind.
        Come, live again.
            Come out of the darkness 
                and into the marvelous light of Christ.

Easter Communion Prayer

God of life, we draw near to you today
    with joy in our hearts and praise on our lips.
When the powers of evil had done their worst,
    crucifying your Son, and burying him in the tomb,
        you raised him from the dead.
In your love, you give hope to the world.

Lord Jesus, as, on that first Easter evening,
    your followers recognized you 
            in the breaking of the bread,
        help us to sense your presence here this morning.
Stand among us in your risen power 
    as we share the bread and the cup.

Holy Spirit of God, fill us with the unity
    that comes with sharing this holy meal.
Make us new creations in Christ,
    that we might be faithful to his way,
        and courageous in sharing his good news. 
All this we pray in the Name of the Triune God. Amen.

Easter Benediction

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
    So go forth in hope:
        Even in the face of certain death,
            our God will see us through.
Christ is risen!
    So go forth in joy.
        We are no longer bound in darkness,
            for the light of life has dispersed out gloom.
Christ is risen!
    So go forth in love.
        God has triumphed over the powers of hate
            and freed us to forgive our enemies.
Go forth in the Name
     of the Creator and of the Christ and of the Holy Spirit
        for the Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!