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Sermon (2) and Liturgy for Easter Sunday - Year A
The Celebration Of The Resurrection
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10
"Raised With Christ"


READING:  Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10
SERMON :  "Raised With Christ"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-ea01su 977000
                  
   The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
   for the upcoming Sunday.  Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
   found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
   SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.

   Sources: The Call to Worship with slight changes is that of Bruce
   Prewer, "Australian Prayers" p 56 as found in "Prayers and Litanies
   For Easter -Year A" by John Maynard as sent to the PRCL-List in
   March 2002.  The Easter Litany and Prayer is based on material from
   "Worship Workbook For The Gospel - Year A", Robert Ingram, CSS
   Publishing, Inc., 1995 (pages 148,151).  The Prayer of Dedication
   and the Passing of The Peace are based on those by John Maynard, as
   is the Eucharistic Prayer (1999).
 

GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)


* WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP 
L  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
   and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P  And also with you.
L  Christ is Risen.
P  He is Risen indeed.
L  The King of glory is among us.  
   He has burst forth from the tomb that would hold him.
P  Who is the King of Glory?
L  The Lord of the stable and the cross, He is the King of glory!
P  Who is the King of Glory?
L  Jesus, the Word made flesh, He is the King of glory!  
P  And we saw his glory.
L  Such glory as befits the Father's true Son,
P  Full of grace and truth.
L  Christ is Risen!
P  He is Risen indeed!
L  Let the people shout: Hallelujah!
P  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  Amen


* HYMN: "This is The Day"                                          - VU 412


* PRAYER OF APPROACH
Lord God - we gather in the name of the Risen Christ to pour forth our
praises in glad Easter Celebration.  We rejoice that you have not left us
without hope - but have come back to us in the victory of the resurrection
and given us the assurance of eternal life with Christ Jesus, the one whom
you lifted from the tomb and have made Lord of all.  Praise be to your name
for your everlasting mercy - both now and forevermore.  Amen.


* HYMN:  "Welcome Happy Morning"                                   - VU 161


ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
- Welcome and Announcements    
- Birthdays and Anniversaries     
- Special Matters      
- Sharing Joys and Concerns


       Let us now prepare to continue in Worship as the choir sings
       - "Thine Is The Glory"


CHOIR ANTHEM  "Thine Is The Glory"        


A READING FROM MATTHEW 28:1-10
   (NIV)  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary
   Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a
   violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven
   and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His
   appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 
   The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like
   dead men. 

   The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you
   are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has
   risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then
   go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and
   is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I
   have told you." 

   So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy,
   and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them.
   "Greetings," he said. 

   They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him.  Then Jesus
   said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to
   Galilee; there they will see me."

L  This is the gospel of our Risen Lord
P  Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


AN EASTER LITANY AND PRAYER
L  The stone that sealed Jesus' tomb has been removed.
P  The wrappings that held Jesus' body lie empty.
L  The tomb lies empty.
P  Death cannot hold Jesus our Saviour.
L  And by his mercy death cannot hold us either.
P  He died that we might live, 
   and lives that we might never die.
L  Let us pray 
P  Gracious God - Lord of Life and Love Eternal
   We give you thanks and praise for the good news,
   - the news of Easter Day.
L  May the light of the resurrection guide us day by day,
   and the name of your only Son be glorified forever.  Amen


SOLO:  "Child of God"


RESPONSIVE READING:  Psalm 118:1-2,14-24 (VU 837, parts 1-3) and Sung
Refrain


A READING FROM ACTS 10:34-43
   (NIV)  Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that
   God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who
   fear him and do what is right.  You know the message God sent to the
   people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus
   Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what has happened throughout
   Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached -
   how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power,
   and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the
   power of the devil, because God was with him. 

   "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews
   and in Jerusalem.  They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God
   raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 
   He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had
   already chosen - by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from
   the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify
   that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the
   dead.  All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes
   in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks Be To God
 

* HYMN:  "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"                             - VU 155


A READING FROM COLOSSIANS 3:1-4
   (NIV)  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your
   hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of
   God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For
   you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When
   Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with
   him in glory.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks Be To God


SERMON: "Raised With Christ"

   O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds
   and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the
   thoughts that we form.  Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen. 
   Amen.

Today, with hundreds of millions of the faithful around the world we
celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the most significant event of
all history 
   - it is God's endorsement of all that Jesus said and did during his
   life among us
   - it is the sign and seal of God's approval upon him
   - it is the event by which all the other events in the life of Christ
are validated and confirmed.

In our Easter Newsletter I have written about the astonishing events of the
first Easter 
   - how at first those closest to Jesus did not believe that he had been
   raised from the dead
   - how they had to be convinced by his presence among them that the
   empty tomb was much than a case of grave robbery - and the reports of
   his being seen much more than the wishful thinking of people cast into
   deep grief by the brutal death of one whom they loved.

In the end - they were all convinced. 

They were convinced despite their initial unbelief of the reports that they
heard.

They were convinced despite their sure knowledge that Jesus had died

They were convinced despite their instinct to regard what is dead as being
dead and gone,

Indeed they were convinced despite the incredibility, the implausibility
and the impossibility of the entire affair.

In fact they were so convinced - that they spent the rest of their lives
   telling others about Jesus and about how God had anointed him with the
   Holy Spirit and power, and how he went about proclaiming forgiveness of
   sin and peace with God and doing good and healing all who were under
   the power of the devil, and how he was at last killed - though he was
   innocent of any crime; how, in fact, in accordance with the scriptures
   from of old, he was crucified, dead, and buried for our sakes - and
   then raised by God from the dead on the third day.

That is the message that we heard Peter proclaim to the household of
Cornelius this morning and that indeed was the message, and is the message,
of the entire church since the first Easter Sunday.

Christ is Risen!  (He is Risen Indeed)

Christ is risen, and more, says Peter, "he is the one whom God has
appointed as judge of the living and the dead.".

And what a judge he is.

He grants life - here and now - and in the world to come - to all who
believe in him.  He forgives the sin of all who trust in his name.

Amazing grace, 
how sweet the sound
that save a wretch like me....

The word of Jesus - the life of Jesus - the teachings of Jesus are made
true by his resurrection, a resurrection that God grants to him on account
of his faithful obedience and his love.

And the teaching of Jesus that is made true by his resurrection is that we
too will be raised:
   - raised not only from a life of sin to a life of righteousness in
   which we commune with God as we walk upon the earth he made 
   - raised not only from a life of anxiety and fear to a life of trust
   and hope in which we radiate the light of Christ's encouragement to
   those around us
   - raised not only from a life of doubt and of cynicism to a life of
   certainty and faith in which we proclaim peace and help make peace by
   the power of God's Spirit
but raised from death 
   - raised from the tomb and from the urn, 
   - raised from the grave and from the ocean's depths 
   - raised indeed from dust and ashes
to a new and glorious life with God our creator, 
to a life beyond all the best things we can think of with God our Father, 
   with Christ Jesus our Lord and our brother, 
   and with God the Spirit - who is above all and in all.

Christ is Risen.  (He is Risen indeed)

There is a twofold aspect to the Resurrection Life to which we are raised
with Christ   life here before our mortal flesh is shuffled off; and life
afterwards, life beyond death.

Paul, in today's reading from his letter to the Colossians, speaks of both
aspects of what it means to be with raised with Christ.

He speaks of our new life here and now 
and of our life when Christ appears again in glory.

For Paul, the resurrection of the dead to the life everlasting is a
   fundamental fact, a fact established for him by his own unexpected
   encounter with the Risen Lord, an encounter that changed him from one
   who sought to destroy the newly created church to one who helped
   establish it everywhere in the known world.

And for Paul, the resurrection of the dead to the glory of the life
everlasting begins here and now as we allow ourselves to die with Christ in
the waters of our baptism; as we die with him to all those things that
separate us from God and from another; and accept his message; and believe
in his name; and take up our cross; and follow him day by day.

That is why today Paul urges us to set our minds on things above rather
   than earthly things: 
to set our minds on what it is that God has done and is even now doing to
   bring his kingdom to pass in our midst rather than upon those things
   that will fade and disappear like the grass of the fields and the
   flowers on these plants.

Our citizenship is not of this world though, with Christ, we have been
   entrusted with the care of this world and been told to do justice and
   to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God

Our citizenship is in the heavenly places - where Christ is seated at the
   right hand of God, it is in the place beyond the sun and the moon and
   stars where God himself embraces us and we are able to embrace God.

The citizenship begins now - in this world - when we believe in our hearts
that Christ is Risen from the Dead - and when we name him with our lips our
Lord and our God.

Those who have died with Christ are raised with Him.
This is our faith.

Glory be unto to God.  Amen.


Let us together confess our faith in our God - and in Christ Jesus our
Risen Lord using the words of the New Creed - found on Page 918 or the
inside front cover of Voices United.


AN AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
L: We are not alone, we live in God's world.
P: We believe in God: who has created and is creating,
       who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, 
       to reconcile and make us new, 
       who works in us and others by the Spirit. 
   We trust in God.
       We are called to be the Church,
        to celebrate God's presence, 
       to live with respect in creation,
       to love and serve others, 
       to seek justice and resist evil, 
       to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, 
       our Judge and our Hope.
   In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. 
   We are not alone. Thanks be to God.


PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
O God of Grace and God of Glory, you gave your only Son to suffer death on
the cross for our redemption and by his resurrection you have delivered us
from the power of sin and death.  We gave you thanks and praise for his
love - for your love.  May all your people enter into the joy and freedom
of his risen life.  May we dwell in him and he in us now and
forevermore.... Lord, hear our prayer...

O God of Grace and God of Glory, enrich our lives with a growing knowledge
of our Risen Lord.  Help us to set our minds on the things above - those
things which endure - and not on earthly matters which quickly pass away.  
Help us to be joyful in all our trials, to be generous with all you give,
and to proclaim your peace and to live your peace at all times and in every
circumstance.  Indeed, we pray you to guard our faith so that when Christ
appears, we might also we might also appear with him in his glory.... Lord,
hear our prayer...

We pray, O Lord, for your church around the world this day - that it may
testify to your way, your truth, and your life in all that it does.  Make
us powerful and effective witnesses to what you have done, what you are
doing, and what you will yet do...  Lord, hear our prayer...

We pray, O God for the nations of this world today.  We especially hold
before our country and the Royal Family, who mourn this day.  We pray too
for the peace of Jerusalem and the peoples who live there, and for all
countries in conflict - both within and without....  Lord, hear our
prayer...

We pray, O Lord, this special day, for those who are separated from loved
ones, for those who are homeless and those who are unwanted or forgotten.  
With Christ we remember those who hungry, those who are naked, and those
who in prison... Lord, hear our prayer...

We pray, O Lord, for our families and for our neighbours - and for all
those whom you have placed upon our hearts this day.  Hear the prayers of
thanksgiving and intercession we make for them and on account of them in
hearts and in our minds and with the word's of our lips at this time... 
BIDDING PRAYER...  Lord, hear our prayer...

Eternal and Compassionate God, we ask all that we ask - and we give thanks
for all that we thank you for in the name of Christ Jesus, he who live and
reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, both now and forevermore.  Amen.


ANTHEM:  "The Old Rugged Cross"


* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Dedication

   Holy and Loving God, we give you thanks for the new life we have in
   Christ Jesus because of his offering of his very self to you on our
   behalf.  Receive, O God, the gifts we offer to you in his glorious
   name.  Bless and make holy both them and us so that all may be moved
   to give you praise and glory through the one you raised from the
   dead, the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep.  Amen


PASSING OF THE PEACE
Leader:       The Prince of Peace has conquered the earth and given us the
              victory.  In Him we are more than conquerors... 
Left Side:       For Christ is Risen!
Right Side:   He is Risen indeed!
Leader:       Let us share the Peace of God's Life and Love with each other
              and give each other the Easter Greeting - Christ is Risen -
              and the Response, He is Risen Indeed.
   

* COMMUNION HYMN:  "Joy Comes With Dawn"                           - VU 166

  
COMMUNION LITANY:
L: The peace of the Lord be with you.
P  And also with you.
L  Lift up your hearts.
P  We lift them up to the Lord.
L  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P  It is right to give God thanks and praise.
    

THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
Living God, creator of heaven and earth, lover of all humanity, on this
most joyous day we offer our thanks and praise to you.  We bless you for
the world you have made, for your promises to your people Israel,
and for the life we know in Christ Jesus Your Son.  

Even when we turned away from you, you never rejected us.  You spoke words
of mercy and love through the prophets; promising to swallow up death
forever and to host a banquet for all people; a feast of life-giving
sustenance.

O Gracious and merciful God, we praise you for Christ Jesus, your Word made
flesh.  Born of Mary, he shares our life.  Eating with sinners, he welcomes
us.  Leading his followers, he guides us.  Dying on the cross, he rescues
us.  Risen from the dead, he gives new life.  He is the true Lamb who takes
away the sin of the world.


THE SANCTUS
L  And so, with all the company of heaven and earth, we praise Your holy
name saying:  
P  Holy, holy, holy, Lord,
   God of power and might,
   Heaven and earth are full of your glory,
   Hosanna in the highest.
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,
   Hosanna in the highest.


THE NARRATION
 L We remember, O Father, in accordance with his command, how Jesus, on
   the night he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks and praise
   (as we now thank you for this bread, O Lord) and then broke it, and
   gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat, this is my body,
   broken for you".  

   We remember too how in the same manner he took the cup of blessing, and
   gave it to his disciples saying, "Take and drink, this cup is my blood,
   the blood of a new and everlasting covenant for the forgiveness of sin,
   poured out for you and for many.  As often as you drink it, do so in
   remembrance of me".


THE ACCLAMATION AND MYSTERY OF FAITH
P  Worthy is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain, to receive all power and
   wealth, wisdom and might, honour and glory and praise.
  
L  Worthy indeed, O Lord, is thy Son Jesus Christ, who died so that we
   might live and who rose from the dead so that we might be one with him
   in your sight.  We pray that our lives may always proclaim the mystery
   of faith:
P  Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.


THE CONSECRATION AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
L  Loving God, send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts that the
   bread we break may be for us communion in the body of Christ, and the
   cup of blessing which we bless may be for us communion in the blood of
   Christ; and that being built up in love we may be strengthened in the
   unity of the faith and come to full maturity in Christ our Lord, who
   taught us to pray together as one family, your family, - singing:
P: Our Father...


THE DISTRIBUTION: Please come up the aisle in a double line to receive the
   elements from one of the two stations - taking the bread and dipping it
   in the cup - consuming it - and then returning to your seats by the
   side aisles.
              
       The table of the Lord for the people of the Lord.
       Come all you who hunger and thirst for righteousness
       and receive that which God has prepared for you.


DEPARTING PRAYER (in unison)
L  Let us pray
P: We thank you, O God, for the life and the hope you have given us
   through the life, the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus
   Christ..  Watch over us, make us the people you want us to be - now and
   always.  Amen.

   
* DEPARTING HYMN:  "The Day of Resurrection"                       - VU 164


* COMMISSIONING (Unison):  In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth
   into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
   Christ.
                                     

* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace
- and the blessing of the Ever-Present God be upon you, 
- the power of the Risen Christ be within you, 
- and the wisdom and gentleness of the Holy Spirit surround and uplift you
both now and forevermore...


* CHORAL BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                              - VU 964


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2005
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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