2021 Easter: We Are Witnesses

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ENTRANCE

REFLECTION

Unititled pastel drawing by Martha Phillips

What the world needs now are signposts of what’s ahead, markers for the new world just around the corner. The world does not need heroes; the world does not need more messiah complexes. The world does not need Christians who want to ride in on a white horse to save the day. What the world needs are witnesses. Nothing more and nothing less. The earth needs people who can bear witness to the ways in which the world has already changed through the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
–Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? p.197

CANDLE LIGHTING

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader:      Christ is risen!

People:      Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Leader:      We are called to be signposts and markers
for the new world emerging
just around the corner.

People:      We are called to be witnesses
to a world already changed
by the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Leader:      Christ is risen!

All:             Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

OPENING PRAYER

HYMN

SILENCE 

PRAYERS
CONFESSION
Leader:      We are called to remember
that Jesus died on a cross
with words of forgiveness
for those who put him there.

People:      We confess that too often we want revenge,
to punish those who hurt others or ourselves.

Leader:      We are called to remember that Jesus came
to teach, to love, and to heal
those asking for help.

People:      We confess that too often
we refuse to do what is ours to do,
preferring to pretend
that we are helpless in the face of evil.

Leader:      We are called to point towards a world
in which love is stronger than hate,
and death is not the final word.

People:      Forgive us when we refuse to bear witness
to the good news of resurrection.

ASSURANCE
Leader:      Just as Jesus forgave those who crucified him,
the Holy One forgives our refusals and our fears,
gathering us in love as the risen Body of Christ.

All:             Alleluia, amen.

THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE

INTERCESSION AND PETITION

COMMITMENT
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.

HYMN

THE WORD
SCRIPTURE
SERMON
SILENT REFLECTION

OFFERING

COMMUNION
PREPARATION
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.

GREAT THANKSGIVING
Leader 1: Holy Creator of all that is, has been, and will be,
we give you thanks for the signs of your grace,
everywhere and always inviting us to receive the gift.

People: We give you thanks for your grace in human love,
Jesus the Christ, our brother,
who lived, died, and lives again,
leading us toward your eternal grace.

Leader 2: We breathe thanks and praise to you,
for grace-filled breath, wind, and fire,
signs of your Holy Spirit alive in us.

Leader 1:   Holy Source of Life and Hope
we thank you for your extravagant love,
which embraces all of your creation,
including each one of us.

People:      We give thanks for Jesus,
who in his life, death, and resurrection
bore witness to the full extent of your forgiving love.

Leader 2:   We give thanks for the Holy Spirit,
who constantly calls us to loving stewardship
of your complex creation.

All:             We give thanks for your Holy Church,
Christ’s body here on earth,
where we can learn
to nurture forgiving, healing relationships.

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.

SHARE THE ELEMENTS
Please use what you have at home as you eat the bread and drink from the cup today.
If you do not have grape juice, use whatever is convenient.
As a sign of gathering in spirit while scattered,

you may want to lift your bread toward your camera as we break bread together.

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.

SHARED REFLECTIONS

ANNOUNCEMENTS

HYMN

BENEDICTION
Leader:         Let us go into the world bearing witness
to what we have seen and heard,
to the ways the world continues to change
through the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Christ is risen!

All:       Christ is risen indeed!
Alleluia, amen!

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