FIRST CHURCH in PEMBROKE
Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021
ORDER OF WORSHIP – Easter Sunday 2021
[Scriptures for today: Acts 10: 34-43 or Isaiah 25: 6-9; Psalm 118:1,2,14-24;
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; John 20: 1-18 or Mark 16: 1-8]
Welcome & Opening Prayer
Welcome to First Church. Today we bring the season of Lent 2021 to a close as we celebrate Easter – the premise that Jesus rose from the dead, His Resurrection – the one aspect of a faith journey that identifies a Christian from all other traditions and faith communities. And, with the Covid virus still permeating every aspect of our lives, the leadership of First Church made a conscience choice to “err on the side of caution” and remain in presenting its worship service as a virtual presentation.
We will also be sharing Holy Communion later in the service, so please take a moment to gather your communion elements – a wafer or piece of bread and your juice or other libation. We thank you for your continuing support and appreciate being with you this morning! Indeed, it is Sunday morning… Easter morning 2021… let us pray:
O Gracious God, we come before You and pray Your blessing upon our gathering as we continue to pursue You and a deeper understanding of our faith. We ask that in this next hour or so, we are able to find the quiet and calm to once again hear Your message – through the Scriptures, through the music, through the spoken word, and even in the quiet moments that we will share. Hallelujah, O Heavenly Father, Hallelujah Jesus, and Praise Your Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen.
Call to Contemplation
Call to Worship (abbreviated Scriptures)
P: Come, let us celebrate the Good News – Indeed, He is Who He said
He is… The Risen Jesus, The Messiah, our Savior, The Christ!
C: The Tomb was empty, yet we will not despair. We believe!!
P: His Steadfast Love endures forever. Thanks be to God!!
C: We have heard, we have not seen, yet we believe!!
P: Let us open our self to the very core of our being, for He is among us.
In the quiet of this morning, let us listen intently for God’s Whisper!
C: He is risen. As we gather, wherever and with whomever, we gather in
Awe and adoration, for You are with us. This is the day You made.
May the Peace of You and Christ be with us all. Hallelujah and Amen.
“A Time for the Children” – [Presented by Gail Horsefield]
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (Lector: JoEllen Graham)
A Musical Moment for Meditation
The Message – John 20: 19-30
“A season for everything, particularly a time for Peace!” (Pastor Matt)
The Sharing of Holy Communion
[Leading with a brief moment of silent confession and then sharing the Bread and Cup]
Prayers of the People
During these past 5 or 6 months, we have tried to present the Prayers of the People as a time for us to put aside all the “noise” of our daily routines and find a quiet and calm, unlike any other time of our day-to-day habits and practices – a time to call out to Jesus as ask His incredible touch upon us and those we name in our prayers.
In this season of Lent, we included the Myers book, 31 Days of Prayer, in which we focused on their “8 areas of a healthier spiritual life that significantly affects our prayer life.” On Palm Sunday, we closed that aspect of our Lenten path with, what they proposed as the ultimate goal, their 8th area – that of “viewing prayer as a way of life… as prayer was a way of life for Jesus…” And we would add that our prayer was that the discipline of prayer would become a constant, daily part in each of our lives as well.
Indeed, on this Easter Sunday 2021, we continue to hold in prayer: The Roberts family; Elaine; Rick and Jacqui; the Reardon family; The Evans/Trapp/Pulselli familys, Evie and the Lika family, and several more “special intentions.” On behalf of those who are named above, their family and friends, we again say, “Thank you for your thoughts & prayers!”
Please join me now in a time of prayer… O Gracious God, in the quiet of this moment, hear our silent prayers…
And now let us pray together the Lord’s Prayer…
Our Father, 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 sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Each week we came before you and shared our appreciation for your support for the ministry here at First Church. As many of you have learned, the Lenten journey each year has been a very personal time – for me and for all who engaged the 40 days. We pray that Lent will always continue to be a very personal time for us all to re-examine the very premise of our faith and the ways in which God is expecting us to live, grateful for the gift of each day and the Call to go beyond ourselves and help others. So once again, here at First Church, know we are deeply grateful for your support! Indeed, thank you!
Benediction – As we all head out on our separate ways, don’t forget to step outside, look up to the heavens, and give God thanks for the many blessings in which we all are surrounded…. And indeed, we all go in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Enjoy this day and may we all find great calm and comfort in the Peace of Christ. Amen and God bless….
Scriptures for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021
The first reading – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 A Time, a Season for Everything
3 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
The Gospel: John 20: 19-31
9 That Sunday evening[b] the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin),[c] was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Purpose of the Book
30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe[d] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name
Here ends the readings for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021