The tomb is empty photo by bruno van der kraan on unsplash
An Order for Worship at Home
Adapted from Dr. Marcia McFee of Worship Design Studio. You can do this alone or bring your family around you and do it together. Read silently to yourself or outloud, to yourself or others. There are suggestions of youtube music videos to watch and enjoy. Feel free to substitute your own favorite music!
Opening: After the events of Holy Week, the disciples are devastated. They are in the midst of full-blown grief and disbelief. Into the heart of that grief came a stunning revelation–life had overcome death. Love had won out over violence. God’s faithfulness would build them up once again. God’s love will bind them together. Is this possible in our lives? Today’s worship will say, “Yes, it can! Come and see! Live and love! This is the heart of the matter!” Christ is risen! Let the people say, "Christ is risen indeed!"
Prayer: Holy Living God, Heartbeat of Creation, help us to take this time to center on you, for you made us, you gave us life, and you continue to be with us every moment… every breath… every step. We give ourselves into your care. Your light, our love, together. Amen.
Prayers: Please take time to offer your personal prayers to God followed by prayers for the community and the prayer that Jesus taught: 1. Personal Prayers 2. Community Prayers Today, we remember to pray for: The people of all congregations and faith communities… Those who suffer and those in trouble… The concerns of this local community… The world, its people, and its leaders… The church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission… The communion of saints… Amen. 3. Prayer that Jesus taught Our Creator 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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Prayer: God of new dawns, new awakenings, new life, we hear your voice this morning saying, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” On this Easter day, you tell us we will be rebuilt and made new. In gratitude we hear you, Living God, and we believe you. And so we will celebrate the gift of new life in Christ, even in the midst of fear. You give us eyes to see through tears, songs to sing with throats tight with emotion. We know you help the weary rise up out of the ashes. Give us the courage to be your light and hope in this world today. Amen.
In the account of the resurrection in the Gospel of Matthew, after the stone is rolled away from the tomb, the angel sits on the stone and gives the women this message, “Don’t be afraid.” Throughout the Season of Easter, I invite you to use a “worry stone,” which is a stone you carry about with you to rub when you are feeling anxious or worried. We encourage you to find a stone and paint or draw a heart on it. It will remind you of this angel’s message which Jesus then repeats, “Do not be afraid.” Hear this wonderful message now from Matthew 28:1-10:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t there, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.”
With great fear and excitement, they hurried away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them and greeted them. They came and grabbed his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there.”
Dance Party: It is time to praise God and raise our endorphin levels to improve our heart-health, both physically and spiritually! So whether your “dance” is in your bed, in your chair, or all over the living room, it’s time for the Easter Season Dance Party! If you are going to dance standing up, go ahead and get ready. And let’s start with this affirmation said with some energy
We know Jesus is present among us even in this very home We will not let fear be louder than love but with glad hearts and rejoicing souls we will sing God’s praise for we are Easter People!
I hope you feel some good vibes right now. So while you have your energy up, let’s decide to send some energy out to the world that needs it! What message does the world need? Perhaps you will decide to create a way to let more and more people know the message of Christ, “You are not alone. I am here. Peace be with you.” What can we do to create more peace in our household, in our family, in our relationships with those we cannot be with right now? How can we offer peace to those who are working so hard right now? How can we offer peace to those who feel no peace or comfort? Make your own plan for today if you like.
Benediction: As we close this time, remember: God is always with you. No matter what you face, no matter what trials or hardships come your way, God is right beside you, whispering “Peace be with you,” guiding and directing your path. So do not live in fear, but in joy. Take heart! This is the heart of the matter. Amen.