We have heard so much tragic news that when the news is good we cannot hear it. But the proclamation of Easter Day is that all is well. … I say this not with the easy optimism of one who has never known a time when all was not well but as one who has faced the cross in all its obscenity as well as in all its glory, who has known one way or another what it is like to live separated from God. In the end, God’s will, not ours, is done. Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life.
― Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat, p. 81
Detail from photograph of paper doves hanging from the ceiling of the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Lviv, Ukraine thanks to SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Christ is risen!
People: Christ carries the marks of crucifixion
in the war, oppression, and suffering all around us.
Leader: Christ is always risen!
People: Christ carries the pain
of all who live in fear and sorrow.
Leader: Christ is risen in our hearts and in our lives.
All: Christ is risen, indeed, today and every day. Alleluia!
Leader: Wars and the suffering of the innocent dominate the news.
People: We try to push them away, to blot them out, but they stay with us.
Leader: We have heard so much tragic news
that even when the news is good, we cannot hear it.
All: Forgive us, Holy One,
for letting the blare of the speaker
and the images on the screen
hide the Easter message.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The proclamation of Easter Day,
“Christ is risen, all is well,”
overcomes all the noise.
We are healed and forgiven.
People: All is well, indeed! Amen.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
INTERCESSION AND PETITION
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the heavenly feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us,
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once.
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven, we make one circle
of knowing, believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: Holy Creator of paradox and puzzle,
we give you thanks and praise
that by your will the universe
bends toward life and love.
People: We give you thanks for Jesus, the Christ,
who by his life, death, and resurrection
proclaims the good news
to your poor and suffering creatures.
Leader 2: We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit,
breath of life and love,
continually whispering the good news
that, no matter what happens, all is well.
All: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
called to be the Body of Christ,
proclaiming the good news
by our works of justice and mercy.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger;
you who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night he gave himself up,
Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
All: O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of grain and grape,
and work of human hands
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this Body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world. Amen.
Leader: God’s will is done. Love is the victor.
Death is not the end. The end is life.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
People: Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia, amen!