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Easter Sunrise Service - Year A
Isaiah 65:17-25; John 20:1-18
"This Morning"

READING:  John 20:1-18 and Isaiah 65:17-25
SERMON :  "This Morning"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-ea01sunrise.y-a 881

    The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon for
    an Easter Sunrise Service.  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.
    Thanks to citations in John Maynard(maynard@SYMPAC.COM.AU),
    Prayers and Litanies for Easter Vigil and Easter Dawn, and Easter
    Morning as sent to the PRC-L List, March 99 and to Nathan Nettleton,
    ( Preface - Easter Sunday 1999 for
    the Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Benediction.  Note that the 
    service was done in an outdoor setting where three crosses had been
    erected.  Some references may need to be changed.


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.

   Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary
   Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed
   from the tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other
   disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have
   taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have
   laid him."  Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went
   toward the tomb.  The two were running together, but the other
   disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent down to
   look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go
   in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. 
   He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been
   on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in
   a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb
   first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did
   not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  Then
   the disciples returned to their homes.

   But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over
   to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting
   where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the
   other at the feet.  They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" 
   She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know
   where they have laid him."  

   When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing
   there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her,
   "Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for?"  Supposing
   him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried
   him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him
   away."   Jesus said to her, "Mary!"  She turned and said to him in
   Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher).  Jesus said to her, "Do
   not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. 
   But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father
   and your Father, to my God and your God.'"  Mary Magdalene went and
   announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told
   them that he had said these things to her.
L  This is the gospel of our Risen Lord
P  Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

HYMN: "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Give Thanks" 
   Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Give thanks to the risen Christ,
   Hallelujah, hallelujah!  Give praise to God's name.

   Jesus is Lord of all the earth, first born of all creation.
   Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Give thanks to the risen Christ,
   Hallelujah, hallelujah!  Give praise to God's name.
   Spread the good news o'er all the earth: Jesus has died and is risen.
   Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Give thanks to the risen Christ,
   Hallelujah, hallelujah!  Give praise to God's name.
   We have been crucified with Christ, now we shall for ever.
   Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Give thanks to the risen Christ,
   Hallelujah, hallelujah!  Give praise to God's name.
   Come let us praise the living Christ, joyfully sing to our saviour.
   Hallelujah, hallelujah.  Give thanks to the risen Christ,
   Hallelujah, hallelujah!  Give praise to God's name.

On this day we overflow with thanks and praise, O God,
for this is the day you have made, 
- the day that fills us with both fear and great joy.
On this day you sent your angels to roll back the stone
and you raised Jesus, who had been crucified, from the dead.
Never again need we search for Jesus 
in the places of dead memories and buried dreams,
for now he has been raised and goes forever ahead of us
to open the gates of justice,
preaching peace and the forgiveness of sins.
Indeed though he was the stone rejected by the builders,
you have made him the cornerstone,
the rock on which is founded the life everlasting,
the life that is hidden for us in Christ
until it is revealed with Christ in glory.
We thank you and we praise you O God, 
both now, and through your living word,
eternally.   Amen.  Amen.

Hear this record of the promise of God to his people Israel - a
promise that even now through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the dead is coming to pass.  A reading of the word of God from the
Prophet Isaiah.

       (NRSV)  For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the
       former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. {18} But
       be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about
       to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. {19} I
       will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people;  no more
       shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of
       distress. {20} No more shall there be in it an infant that lives
       but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a
       lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered
       a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered
       accursed. {21} They shall build houses and inhabit them; they
       shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. {22} They shall not
       build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat;
       for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and
       my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. {23} They
       shall not labour in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they
       shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-- and their descendants as
       well. {24} Before they call I will answer, while they are yet
       speaking I will hear. {25} The wolf and the lamb shall feed
       together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the
       serpent--its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy
       on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

L      This is the word of the Lord
P      Thanks be to God
ANTHEM: "In The Garden" 

This morning is so full of images - the empty tomb - the voice of angels -
Mary's encounter with Jesus - the promises made through the prophets coming
true   it is so rich - so full - so basic to who we are as an Easter

Friday - sad Friday - the day we call God Friday - is brushed aside in one
glorious moment of realization   one moment of startling fear and
overwhelming joy - a moment of holy awe - as the significance of what is
seen - and what is unseen comes crashing in.

Jesus is Risen.  Death could not hold him.  
And if it cannot hold him, it cannot hold us.

All that Jesus said about life and death
all that was understood only as idea - as a concept - as a vision
is made real in that empty tomb
and in that encounter in the garden.

And we today  
- we standing here - before these rough and rude crosses
- we standing here before these emblems of suffering and shame
We share in it.

We share in the promises made to Children of Israel
and to the entire world through the Prophets.
We share in the promises made to the disciples 
and to all who listened to Jesus as he walked towards his death
upon a slab of wood like these.

We share in it - for the word that he spoke to them - and to us 
-- is made true and real by what we testify to this morn,
it is made true by the resurrection.

And more yet - it is made true by the testimony of our hearts
hearts here among us - this very day - who have been touched
       by the spirit of the living Lord
hearts here which have heard Jesus knocking upon the door
       and have opened that door
       and had him come in and dine with them.
hearts that encountered the risen Christ what is now almost 
thousands of years after the stone was first rolled back
and the tomb shown to be empty
and our Lord risen.
What is this Easter morn?

It is God's promise of a new day
It is God's promise of a new life
It is God's promise of a new world
coming to pass in our midst.

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

Praise be to God for his great love
And to Jesus his only Son.
And to the Spirit 
All three in one.

----  Check out George Hartwell's Creative Closings - Easter Sunrise - Year A 
for a different prayer or meditation to insert into the above
reflection or homily and/or to conclude it and lead into the prayer 
time below.

Lord Jesus, we greet You, risen from the dead, victorious over sin and
death, over suffering and shame, over all evil and wrong.

Lord Jesus, we greet You, risen from the dead, overcoming by the power of
love, by patient trust and perseverance, by faith in God alone.

Lord Jesus, we greet You, risen from the dead, proving that nothing can
separate us from God's love, showing us how far that love will go, and
suffering for the sins of the world.
Lord Jesus, we greet You, risen from the dead, and we offer You our thanks
and our praise, our prayers and our worship, our devotion and our service.

Lord, Jesus, we greet You, and we pray to you, and we pray through you, 
and we pray with joy and confidence as you taught us, saying Our Father... 

HYMN: Crown Him With Many Crowns
       Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne
       hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!
       Awake my soul, and sing of him who died for thee,
       and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
       Crown him the Lord of Life, who triumphed over the grave,
       and rose victorious in the strive for those he came to save.
       His glories now we sin who died and rose on high,
       who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
       Crown him the Lord of Peace, whose power a sceptre sways,
       from pole to pole, that wars may cease, absorbed in prayer & praise.
       His reign shall know no end, and round his pierced feet
       fair flowers of Paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.
       Crown him the Lord of Love, behold his hands and sides,
       rich wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
       All hail, Redeemer, hail!  for thou hast died for me;
       thy praise shall never, never fail throughout eternity.

L      There was darkness over the earth before creation;
P      There is darkness in the womb before birth;
L      The seed grows in darkness before it meets the light;
P      There is darkness in the tomb before resurrection.
L      But now Christ is risen!
P      The dawn has come
L      A new creation has commenced
P      The world is born anew.
L      Christ is Risen.
L      Thanks be to God!

Go out now as God's chosen witnesses
to testify that Christ has been raised 
and that we are raised with him.
Set your minds on the things of God
and do not be afraid 
for your life is safe with Christ in God.
And may God raise you from all that would entomb you.
May Christ Jesus be your life.
And may the Holy Spirit empower you for all that is good.

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

copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2006
             please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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