Easter Sunday




Easter Sunday
April 12, 2020
First Presbyterian Church, Fargo

Prelude and Preparation for Worship

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ you broke the power of death and opened the way to eternal life.
As the empty tomb stands witness to his triumph over death, make your church to be a bold testimony to his enduring victory in life,
that all we do may proclaim to the world, “He is risen, indeed!” Through Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
Beloved church, behold the victory of our God: Jesus, our Lord, has conquered the grave.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Sin and death shall reign no more.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Let this place resound with joy.
Christ is risen! 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
God has opened to us the gates of righteousness that we may enter through them. Confident in God’s love, let us confess our sin.

Prayer of Confession
Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit we have been raised from the waters of baptism to share in your glorious resurrection. Yet we have not lived as Easter people. We are unsure of your promise, confused about your will, and afraid in the face of danger. Like Mary, we weep at the tomb, but do not recognize your presence. Call us by name, risen Lord, that we may know you with confidence. Whenever we are tempted to fear death, give us courage to confess your Easter victory. Whenever we are distracted by petty conflicts, keep our minds on your reconciling love. Whenever we are overwhelmed by the power of evil, reveal again to us your triumph over the destructive powers of oppression. Forgive us our sin and let our lives be a testimony to your salvation through the love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children’s Message
Prayer for Illumination
Risen Lord, You are the One through whom all things are made, the light and life of all people.  We praise you!

This Lent we have walked along with you as you taught and preached and healed.  
† You have shown your great wisdom in response to the world’s skepticism.  

† You have shown your unique enlightenment as you brought those dwelling in the darkness of the tomb into the light of a new day.  

† You have demonstrated great power in providing healing to those we thought beyond redemption.

But for all of your wisdom, enlightenment, and power shown to us in Lent, you nevertheless baffle our expectations:

—You know who will betray you, and yet love them.
—You know who will abandon you in your hour of crucible, and yet you do not chide.
— you steadfastly refuse to return violence for violence, even when your life hung in the balance.
—You were hidden in entombed darkness when we were counting on a Messiah to save us with feats of great power.

Today we approach the tomb again in consternation, and wonder what we will find there.  Give us steadfast faith, and enduring courage to step into the tomb and see what awaits us.  As the Word is read and proclaimed . . . speak to us of lasting things.

We ask this in the name of the One who is loose! — Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Lesson Colossians 3:1-4

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

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                   Jesus is Loose!
Hymn — This Easter Celebration. (New Hymn-text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette — used by permission)
1 This Easter celebration is not like ones we’ve known.
We pray in isolation; we sing the hymns alone.
We’re distant from our neighbors, from worship leaders, too.
Now flowers grace the chancel to set a festive mood.

2 No gathered choirs are singing; no banners lead the way.
O God of love and promise, where’s joy this Easter Day?
With sanctuaries empty, may homes become the place
We ponder resurrection and celebrate your grace.

3 Our joy won’t come from worship that’s in a crowded room
But from the news of women who saw the empty tomb.
Our joy comes from disciples who ran with haste to see
Who heard that Christ is risen, and then, by grace, believed.

4 In all the grief and suffering, may we remember well:
Christ suffered crucifixion and face the powers of hell
Each Easter bears the promise: Christ rose that glorious day!
Now nothing in creation can keep your love away.

5 We thank you that on Easter, your church is blessed to be
A scattered, faithful body that’s doing ministry.
In homes and in the places of help and healing, too,
We live the Easter message by gladly serving you.

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith                                       The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Prayers of the People, ending with 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— Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

1 Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

2 Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

3 But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
our salvation have procured. Alleluia!
Now above the sky he's King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

4 Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
praise eternal as God's love. Alleluia!
Praise our God, ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

Charge and Benediction