Easter Sunday
April 4, 2021
First Presbyterian Church, Fargo
The Session and members of First Presbyterian Church, extend a sincere welcome to you! We welcome all persons regardless of race, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. This includes an open invitation to membership, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, marriage, funerals, memorial services, and to serve as an officer of the church.

Prelude and Preparation for Worship

Prayer of the Day
Holy One, you come to us with power beyond all knowing. You lift all things out of the dust, you breathe love into every cell, you call us into communion with you, and you claim victory over death. Blessed be your holy name now and forever. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences 
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Let us worship God!
Hymn — Christ is Alive!
1 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.

2 Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.

3 In every insult, rift, and war
where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, where even hope has died.

4 Women and men, in age and youth,
can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
and find the way, the life, the truth,
revealed in Jesus, freed for all.

5 Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
till earth and sky and ocean ring
with joy, with justice, love, and praise.
Call to Confession
Jesus’ rising from the dead assures us that we, too, have been given new life. Let us repent of our sin before God and one another, certain of God’s mercy.

Prayer of Confession
All-knowing, all-powerful God, we confess that, even on this most holy day, we are unable to believe in the victory over death shown to us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We confess our utter dependence on you not only for life but also for faith, hope, and love. Without your astonishing appearance to our ancestors and your stunning presence throughout the ages, we would be lost. Forgive us and transform us, that in every way our work and prayer will make whole what is broken and give peace on earth. Amen.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Gift of Music
There is a manger far away where once a tiny child was laid,
where angels sang and shepherds bowed,
long ago, far away; the manger is empty now.
There is a temple far away where once a teacher went to pray.
He spoke of truth to an angry crowd,
long ago, far away; the temple is empty now.
There is a cross far away where once a Lamb for sin was slain.
A crown of thorns adorned His brow;
the cross is empty now.
There is a tomb far away where once the Lord of Life was laid.
Come and see His linen shroud.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The tomb is empty now!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hearing God’s Word

Prayer for Illumination
Lesson  John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Sermon                Good News!
Hymn — We Know that Christ is Raised
1 We know that Christ is raised
and dies no more.
Embraced by death he broke
its fearful hold,
and our despair he turned
to blazing joy. Alleluia!

2 We share by water in
his saving death.
Reborn we share with him
an Easter life
as living members of
a living Christ. Alleluia!

3 The Father's splendor clothes
the Son with life.
The Spirit's power shakes
the church of God.
Baptized we live with God
the Three in One. Alleluia!

4 A new creation comes
to life and grows
as Christ's new body takes
on flesh and blood.
The universe, restored
and whole, will sing: Alleluia!

Responding to God’s Word

Affirmation of Faith Brief Statement of Faith
In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.

We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: Preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel. Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world. God raised this Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal. 

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayers of the People and the Lord's Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Call for the Offering, ending with the Prayer of Dedication

Bearing the Word into the World

Hymn — Christ the Lord is Risen Today
1 Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply. Alleluia!

2 Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy vic’try, boasting grave? Alleluia!

4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Alleluia!

Charge and Benediction
Join us for Zoom Coffee Hour on Sunday at 11:30 am! Click here for the information.