We are all attending our Easter worship service in a “virtual” way today. These are online and on TV, so our participation is through seeing the actions of the service and hearing the words and music. How wonderful to participate and worship “together” in this way.
However, as I considered what to share in my written article on this Easter Sunday here in The Citizen, it dawned on me that a written form of a Virtual Easter Service would be quite beneficial as well. So here it is. May God grant us His Resurrection joy and power as we worship together today. Much of what follows is the ancient form of the Western Rite of The Liturgy (public domain) and closely aligns with the Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978.
Call to Worship. Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen. Alleluia!
Entrance Hymn. Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia! Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia! Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia! 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! (Text Latin carol, Charles Wesley, Lyra Davidica. Tune Lyra Davidica)
The Greeting. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Response: And also with you.
The Hymn of Praise. This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia! Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain, whose blood set us free to be people of God. Power and riches and wisdom and strength, and honor and blessing and glory are His. This is the feast of victory of our God. Alleluia! Sing with all the people of God and join in the hymn of all creation: Blessing and honor and glory and might be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen. This is the feast of victory for our God, for the Lamb who was slain has begun His reign. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Prayer of The Day. The Lord be with you. Response: And also with you. Let us pray. O God, You gave Your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by His glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. And through Jesus you overcame death and opened for us the gate of everlasting life with You and all the saints in heaven. We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the twentieth chapter (English Standard Version). Response: Glory to You, O Lord.
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 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.”
3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
13 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.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” 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.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,”Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for 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.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” — and that he had said these things to her. The Gospel of The Lord. Response: Praise to You, O Christ.
The Resurrection Proclamation. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
The Apostles’ Creed. (Words not included here)
Let us pray. Almighty God, we give You praise and thanksgiving for the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Give us true faith to believe this Good News which will bring us to everlasting life. Grant, we pray, Your Mercy and Strength to our whole world as we fight against the devastation of Covid-19. And grant that our hearts may be thankful for all Your Blessings which you continue to bestow upon us. We pray in Your full and holy and perfect name, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen
“Key Phrases” from Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus (Public domain). Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. And He shall reign forever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Forever and ever. Hallelujah!
Benediction. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you. And give you peace. In the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit. Amen
Sending. Go in peace. Serve the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
I pray this has blessed you and given you a connection through the written word to the whole of Christendom around the world. Yes, indeed! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Happy Easter, everyone!
[Justin Kollmeyer is Pastor Emeritus of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Connect with Pastor Scott Ness on Facebook and through the church website www.princeofpeacefayette.org.]