The tomb is always empty

The Celebration of the Gospel

April 16, 2017 — Easter Sunday

“Do not be afraid.  I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.”
— Matthew 28. 5-6

________We Gather as The Body of Christ_____


8:15:  An Easter Rejoicing – Robert J. Powell
10:30:  “Easter” from Five Mystical Songs
Ralph Vaughan Williams, David Potts, Soloist
[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.

*  GOSPEL PROCLAMATION                Matthew 28. 1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my sisters and brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


Jesus emptied himself, shared in our sufferings, and received our scorn.
In humility and trust he became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
But Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!
God has raised the Crucified One to new life!
Death no longer has dominion!
God has rescued us from the power of darkness,
and brought us into the dominion of God’s Beloved.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! ALLELUIA!

* HYMN OF PRAISE    Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high: Alleluia!
Sing ye heavens, and earth reply. Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done; Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won: Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids his rise; Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King! Alleluia!
Where, O Death is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save; Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?  Alleluia!

King of glory, Lord of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this: Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love!  Alleluia!


___________We Attend to the Word_________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG    Hallelujah!  Resurrection Day!  Larry Shackley


Holy God, we thank you and praise you for the mystery of your grace.
For on the cross Jesus your Christ bore all that separates us from you and from life;
yet sin and oppression and suffering and death were unable to defeat him.
By his glorious resurrection you have delivered us from the power of death.
Gracious God, make us die every day to sin.
Birth us anew, so that we may walk in newness of life with Christ,
in the joy of eternal life and the life-giving power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

NEW TESTAMENT READING      Acts 10: 34-43

Peter said to them: Truly God is not partial, but in every nation anyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God.   You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.   That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:   how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.   We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem.

They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;   but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,   not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and 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 ordained by God 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.”

* PSALTER         Psalm 118. 14-24
Response: This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice, let us rejoice, let us rejoice and be glad.

The Lord is my strength and my power;
the Lord has become my salvation.
There are joyous songs of victory
in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.


NEW TESTAMENT     Colossians 3. 1-4
Since you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds at a higher level, on essential things,
not on meaningless details.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ— who is your life— is revealed,
then you also will be revealed with Christ in glory.


* RESPONSE          (1 Pet. 1.3;   Eph. 2. 4-6   Rom. 6.4;  Col. 3.3  Ps. 51.10)

Alleluia!  Blessed be the God and Life-Giver of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Mercy God has given us a new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
God, rich in mercy, out of great love for us, has made us alive together with Christ,
and raised us up and seated us with Christ.
We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death,
so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of God,
we too might walk in newness of life.
Gracious God, we have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in you.
Spirit of Life, create us anew!
Create in us a clean heart, and put a new and right spirit within us.
Forgive our sin, and wash us clean in the water of new birth.
Heal us, redeem us, and set us free.
Spirit of Blessing, be our freedom and our life!
Through your risen Son grant victory over the enemies of life.
May your spirit of resurrection overcome all violence, injustice, hatred and greed.
Through your crucified and risen Christ, we pray for your church,
that, committing our spirit into your hands,
we may die and be raised to newness of life.
Grant us the joy of your life-giving resurrection,
and make us by your grace a new and holy people.  Amen.

8:15:  Come, Let Us with Our Lord Arise    Black hymnal  # 2084
10:30:   Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise    Arr. Victor C. Johnson


Festive Peal     Karen Thompson (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

___________We Share at Christ’s Table_________

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Christ, Whose Glory Fills The Skies    arr: Lani Smith

* COMMUNION SONG                                   
Christ is arisen from the dead!  Come to his feast of wine and bread!
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Raised by God’s mercy that uplifts, bring to the table all your gifts.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

This is the good news that we sing: Love is enthroned to rule all things.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
From death to life we have been raised.  May God eternally be praised!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

We thank you, God, for in the beginning you brought light out of darkness.
From the dust of the earth you made us, lifted us, and breathed life into us.
You make us your people, and promise to be our God.
You walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death.
You condemn the forces of injustice and oppression, and set free the imprisoned.
You set us free from what binds us and go with us toward your new world.
You raise up what is dead and lift up those who are without hope.
Light out of darkness!  Hope from despair!   Life out of death!
This is your way. We give thanks, and with all Creation we praise you.
      Holy, Holy, Holy Yahweh, God of mercy, God of light,
all Creation’s radiant with your loving presence shining bright.
Blessed is the one who comes in your holy name, O God.
Praise to God! Hosanna in the highest! Alleluia!

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He loved and blessed, healed and taught.
He created a community of love and reconciliation, spurning privilege and exclusion,
whose power stood against the forces of empire and violence.
For this he was crucified—but you have raised him from the dead!

         [The Blessing and Covenant … ]

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.
As often as we break this bread and share this cup,
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died and Christ is risen. Christ will come again in love.
Praise to God! Hosanna in the highest. Alleluia!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be the Body of Christ,
who have died and have been raised to new life,
to serve you in love without fear,
in the power of your Holy Spirit
and the strength of eternal life.

By your mercy you have raised us up with Jesus from the dead.
In your Spirit re-create us as your new, life-giving Bread.
Send us out to die with Christ in love, and raise us up again,
serving you, with praise and glory. Alleluia.  Amen.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.

SHARING THE HOLY MEAL          [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free.  We dip the bread in the juice.


Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  May the Resurrection of Christ, the Bread of eternal life, be food for our souls.  Send us into the world to proclaim the good news; to live lives of love and healing, made new by your grace; and to devote ourselves to the healing of the world, in the name of the crucified and risen Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

________We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_______

8:15: Christ the Lord is Risen     Black hymnal # 2116
10:30: Resurrection Light    Steve G-H

Holy God, we sing your praises, and we give our thanks to you!
On this day of resurrection all things are created new!
Sin and death you have defeated, raising Christ from death to life.
All of life now shines, transfigured by your resurrection light.

In your mercy you have shattered every tomb we cannot flee.
From whatever binds and traps us, you have set your children free:
free to live in every moment life that is a gift from you,
life unfettered, in your Spirit, life unbounded, always new.

Help us to receive this life that rises up and soars above.
Grant us courage for self-giving; grant us trusting, fearless love.
Help us lose the lives we cling to; with compassion and delight
give our lives, receiving new ones, bright with resurrection light.

[All who wish to join the choir for the “Hallelujah Chorus”
are invited to come forward during the song


* RESPONSE    Hallelujah from “Messiah”    G. F. Handel

POSTLUDE     Grand Choeur     Théodore Salomé

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