Sunday, April 16, 2017 Easter Dawn

The First Service of Easter at Six Thirty

The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance
underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn,
so we should always be people of hope and prayer,
not gloom and defeatism.
God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes.

-Os Guinness

The Service of the Light


The Prelude: “Surrexit Dominus ex sepulchro”   Gregorian


Call to Worship

Look! The dawn is breaking. Morning is on its way.

See, on the hillside the sun is beginning to rise!

Leave us alone and let us sleep.

We want to forget about the terrors of the night.

We want to shut out the darkness.

Look! The tomb is open. A new day has begun.

Leave us alone and let us grieve. We have lost our hope,

and all our dreams are dead.

But look! The grave is empty. The stone is rolled away.

An empty grave? A vacant shroud?

Then hope is reborn, and the dream is alive again.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Rejoice, for the day of resurrection has come at last.




Dedication & Lighting of the Paschal Candle: Dr. Emora Brannan


Hymn: “The Women Came”   Azmon

The women came at early dawn to visit Jesus’ tomb.

They came discouraged and forlorn.

Their hearts were filled with gloom.

As they approached, they wondered who

would roll away the stone.

But soon they found it strange but true,

they were not there alone.

A messenger spoke loud and clear and told them what took place.

The herald told them not to fear; it was an act of grace.

“He is not here; come, see the place; He’s risen from the dead.

He’s now alive; you’ll see his face. It’s happened as he said.

“So now go forth to Galilee to meet the risen One,

by death once held but now set free. A new age has begun.”

The Easter song is ours to sing to share our joy today.

And now we’ll keep on traveling along the pilgrim way.


Morning Prayer

God of creation, the silence is broken.

With the women in the garden,

we catch our breath, wipe our tears,

and try to articulate our experience with you.

What words can describe shadows fleeing from the tomb?

How can we tell of the morning the world turned upside-down?

No mortal words will do.

Still we must spread the news.

May every breath we take,

every word we utter, everything we do,

witness to the truth of Christ’s resurrection. Amen.

The Service of the Word

A Reading from the Letters to the Early Church: Acts 10:34-43

Then Peter began to speak to them:

“I truly understand that God shows no partiality,

but in every nation anyone who fears him

and does what is right is acceptable to him.

You know the message he sent to the people of Israel,

preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he 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

received forgiveness of sins through his name.”


An Act of Praise

We celebrate you, Risen Christ.

We join every creature in proclaiming that you are worthy

to receive glory and honor and power forever and ever.

We celebrate you, Risen Christ,

for children who worship you through their wonder

in your world’s sights and sounds and movements.

We celebrate you, Risen Christ,

for youth who seek your presence in the beauty of creation

and your compassion in the voices of others.

We celebrate you, Risen Christ,

for women and men whose lives are psalms of praise

tuned to glorify your name through their words and work.

We celebrate you, Risen Christ,

for congregations who fill their lives with faith,

their voices with song, their hands with offerings,

and their words with gratitude.

We celebrate you, Risen Christ,

for the life of Jesus Christ who was in the beginning,

lived among us, and now reigns forevermore

as our resurrected Lord.


A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 24:1-12

On the first day of the week, at early dawn,

the women came to the tomb,

taking the spices that they had prepared.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

but when they went in, they did not find the body.

While they were perplexed about this,

suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground,

but the men said to them,

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?

He is not here, but has risen.

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,

that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners,

and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

Then they remembered his words,

and returning from the tomb,

they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna,

Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them

who told this to the apostles.

But these words seemed to them an idle tale,

and they did not believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb;

stopping and looking in,

he saw the linen cloths by themselves;

then he went home, amazed at what had happened.


Homily: “Remember God’s Word”   Pastor Walter D. Jackson III


The Service of the Sacrament

Hymn: No. 707, “Hymn of Promise” Promise

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed an apple tree;

in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.


There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;

there’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me!

From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.


In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;

in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving with the Lord’s Prayer

Christ, our Host,

Christ, our Guest,

what better place to meet you than at the Table.


Every time we pass the bread and the cup

to each other in this community,

we know your hands are guiding ours.

Since early on the morning of creation,

you have been planning this meal,

kneading the bread with your strong and gentle hands,

setting a place for each of us, sending out invitations.


And now we are here, accepting your welcome.

You are our Host.

But we realize that you are also our Guest,

who has come to dine with us.


What a privilege it is to offer

our ordinary food and drink to you,

knowing that when you touch it,

it will not be just bread, not just a cup of crushed fruit.

When we eat and drink together in your name,

our meal is more than a meal.


We hold in our hands the bread and the cup

that binds us in holy communion to believers everywhere today

and to all who have gone before us.


May we remember once more the gift of your life

and our calling to set the table for those who have no bread.

Even now we are bold to pray as we have been taught:

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 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, the power

and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen


Receiving the Bread and the Cup


Prayer Following the Receiving of Communion

O Risen Christ:

we are grateful that you walk among us on earth,

bringing life and hope.

Help us to be aware of your presence in our time of worship,

especially in the breaking of bread and taking of the cup.

Enable us to stand alongside youin your ministry of healing

on the crowded roads of our world,

through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Going Forth to be the Light in the World


Hymn: No. 318, “Christ Is Alive”   Truro

Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. His cross stands empty to the sky.

Let streets and homes with praises ring. His love in death shall never die.

Christ is alive! No longer bound to distant years in Palestine,

he comes to claim the here and how and dwell in every place and time.

Not throned afar, remotely high, untouched, unmoved by human pains,

but daily, in the midst of life, our Savior in the Godhead reigns.

In every insult, rift, and war, where color, scorn, or wealth divide,

he suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, though ever crucified.

Christ is alive, and comes to bring good news to this and every age,

till earth and all creation ring with joy, with justice, love, and praise.


Procession to the South Portico


Dismissal with Blessing

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on April 14, 2017

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