Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seminary Shenanigans 2

The following could potentially be the longest blog post in world history. This is the grand project from my Christian Worship class, a transcript of a worship service of our own design, featuring every word to be spoken or sung in said service and including, in our notes, our rationale for using the words, songs, elements, etc. we used and for placing them where we placed them in the course of the service. We were to put into practice the principles we learned during the semester in putting together a worship service appropriate for the context in which we could see ourselves ministering. As my notes indicate, I paid most attention to Gospel re-presentation throughout the course of the service, maintaining the Gospel-flow of hearing-repentance-praise in each major section of the service, and integrating the theme of the service in every aspect of the service. I wish I had paid more attention to utilizing a greater diversity of styles and variously contextualized expressions of worship, but I was focused on meeting the needs of the envisioned congregation. However, since the church is a global movement made up of people from every language, tribe, nation, generation, and socioeconomic background, we should include in our worship services expressions that arise from Christians whose lives differ from our own.

Calvary Presbyterian Church
Podunk, Midwest
Easter Worship Service
Bold indicates congregational response
* indicates pastor is speaking or leading prayer
† indicates standing

A Note about Congregational Context: I can envision myself working in a confessional or conservative mainline Presbyterian or Reformed church on the traditional side of things in a small town in the Midwest. If I were to wind up serving in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I would imagine such a congregation would be largely graying and thus trending more toward a traditional style of worship. Such a congregation would probably be comfortable with a rather heavier and more ecumenical Eucharistic liturgy such as I have used here, though from my limited experience in this denomination, a service of this length would not meet the needs of many PC(USA) churches. The Presbyterian Church in America, from my experience, seems a bit younger, with more families, children, teens, and young adults. In that context, I imagine the needs of the congregation would require a utilization of more styles of worship. Historic catholics in the PCA would probably appreciate the heavy liturgy, but it may not meet the needs of more mainstream evangelical or "Truly Reformed" folks. That being said, a service lasting an hour-and-a-half with hymns, expository preaching, and moderate liturgy seems to meet the needs of many conservative Reformed churches.

*Welcome and Announcements
We welcome you to Calvary Presbyterian Church this beautiful Easter morning—the most joyous day of the year in the life of the Church. If you are visitor with us this morning, we are delighted to have you with us to worship the risen Lord. Please register your attendance with us in the friendship pad at the end of the pew so we can get to know you. [Announcements would follow.]

*Introduction of Service/Seasonal Theme[1]
Jesus Christ has risen from the grave and we gather on this and every Lord's Day to celebrate his resurrection and the victory he has gained over sin, death, and Hell–a victory we share in by faith. This day, however, is different from every other Lord's Day in that it represents the stamp on the calendar of an actual historical event that occurred in this very world we inhabit. It happened long ago and in a physical location far removed from our own, but its consequences are so great and world-altering that we experience the event right now as if we were encountering the newly risen Christ with the disciples all over again. You see, the resurrection is no myth nor is it a purely spiritual event in which the disciples only encountered a ghost. No; Jesus rose bodily from the tomb and changed the world in a concrete and irreversible way. As it was in the beginning, so it is now because of the resurrection and so shall it be in the end. Jesus Christ is Lord of the entire Creation and of all nations and of every heart; he is Lord of life and victor over death. The fallen world has not yet recognized him as Lord, but the resurrection shows us that he is and that he will win the battle. Indeed, he already has. Let us take a few moments to prepare our hearts to join in praising the risen King.
silent preparation

God Calls Us to Worship
*Please rise to join me in the call to worship.

†*Call to Worship: Psalm 150[2]
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

*Please remain standing and turn in your hymnals to #205 and we will sing "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today."

Hymn #205: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" Original Trinity Hymnal
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739
Music: Easter hymn, unknown composer, Lyra Davidica (London: 1708)

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say; Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing ye heav'ns, and earth, reply: Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal; Alleluia!
Christ has burst the gates of hell: Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids his rise; Alleluia!
Christ hath 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 thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head; Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise: Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies. Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and heav'n! Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be giv'n; Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now; Alleluia!
Hail, the Resurrection Thou! Alleluia!

*You may be seated.[3]

God Cleanses Us from Our Sins
*We have seen the risen King in his glory. Seeing his glory should cause us to reflect on how far short of that glory we fall. We are sinners who have rebelled against God. In love for us, Christ died for our sins and now he has risen for our salvation. This calls for a response of gratitude and obedience on our part. St. Paul reminds us of this in his first letter to the Corinthians: "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." This turning from sin and embracing a new, righteous life begins with our confession of sin to our forgiving and sanctifying God. Before we take this opportunity to confess our sins together, let us now go individually to the Lord in silent confession.[4]
silent confession

*Corporate Prayer of Confession[5]
Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from the grave and crowned him Lord of all. We confess that we have not bowed before him or acknowledged his rule in our lives. We have gone along with the way of the world and failed to give him glory. Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules the world and is head of the Church, his body. Amen.

*Please rise for the assurance of pardon.[6]

†*Declaration of Pardon
Brothers and sisters, I declare to you, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Believe the Gospel.
In Christ Jesus we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

*Please remain standing as we sing the Gloria Patri.

Hymn: Gloria Patri (printed in the bulletin)
Words: author unknown
Music: Gloria Patri (Greatorex), Henry W. Greatorex, 1851

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,World without end. Amen, Amen.

God Consecrates Us by His Word
Prayer for Illumination[7]
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us hear God's Word.
We rejoice to hear and obey the Good News.

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 118[8]
This morning's Old Testament reading is Psalm 118. In the psalmist's praises to God for delivering him from the hand of his many enemies, we see God's deliverance of Christ from the grave foretold. Like the psalmist, who was surrounded and nearly overcome by many hostile nations, God's Anointed was put to death by a joint Jewish-Gentile conspiracy representing the whole of rebellious humanity. As in the case of the psalmist, however, Christ was delivered from defeat in a most surprising manner, being revealed as the very point to which God's deliverances of Israel from the nations had been pointing all along. Listen to the Word of God:

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say: "His love endures forever." 3 Let the house of Aaron say: "His love endures forever." 4 Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."
5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things! 16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high; the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Gospel Reading: Luke 24:1-12[9]
Our Gospel reading this morning is Luke's account of the resurrection. Listen for the pointed question the angels waiting in the empty tomb have to ask of the women and of us, God's Easter people. Their words remind us that death has been thoroughly defeated in the resurrection of our Lord. The reading begins in the 24th chapter of Luke, verse one, and ends at verse 12. Listen to the Word of God:

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words.
9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
This is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Praise be to you, O Christ!

*This is a new song, so you might not have had the chance to hear it before. It’s based on the heavenly praise that is given to the conquering Lamb in the book of Revelation. It is thus titled "Revelation Song." You will find it printed in the bulletin. Let us continue our praise of the risen King in the words of this song.

Hymn: "Revelation Song" (printed in the bulletin)[10]
Words and Music: Jennie Lee Riddle, 2002
Copyright: Integrity Music, 2006

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King


Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Repeat Chorus [3X]

*Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:20-27
20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he "has put everything under his feet."
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Please join me in prayer.

*Pre-Sermon Prayer
O gracious Father, we pray that you would lovingly apply your Word to the hearts and lives of your servants for our growth in grace and effectiveness in ministry to your Church and world. Speak through me that your Word may be declared faithfully and effectively in my weak and fallible words. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

*Sermon: Jesus Christ Declared Lord at the Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 5:20-27[11]
Fallen Condition Focus- We want to segregate God to a small slice of life, but Christ is Lord of all.
Proposition- Christ is Lord.
· Lord of creation
· Lord of the nations
· Lord over death
Our Easter Response
1. Recognize God's glory in the creation; Christ is renewing it.
§ Commune with and glorify God in everything.
2. Recognize God's glory in the affairs of humanity; Christ is King.
§ Offer nation to Christ in faith that his Kingdom has come and will come.
3. Recognize Christ as Lord of life and death; Christ has defeated death.
§ The whole cosmos is passing from death to life; join in.
§ There is a great assembly, the Church militant and triumphant, praising the King and cheering us on.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

*We have heard God's voice in the proclamation of his Word. In response, join us as we confess our faith together with the Church universal in the words of the Nicene Creed.

†*Nicene Creed[12]
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds:
God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made: who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen!

Choir Anthem: "Hallelujah Chorus" (words printed in the bulletin)[13]
Words and Music: Georg Friedrich Handel, Messiah, 1741

: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :

: For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. : Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! :

The kingdom of this world
Is become the Kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,: King of kings, and Lord of lords, :
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever
King of Kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever, : King of kings! and Lord of lords! :
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

God Receives Our Sacrifices
*The mighty Christ who rules so magnificently intercedes on our behalf with the Father. Therefore, let us approach God’s throne with confidence in bringing him our praises and petitions. Do we have praises and concerns regarding ourselves or loved ones that we would like to share now? Any events in the life of the nation or the world or the church that we should pray about?

*Prayers of the People[14]
[It would be most appropriate if prayers of the people were brought before God in the form of an extemporaneous pastoral prayer. In addition to the particular praises and petitions brought before the congregation for this time of prayer, I would mention concerns that are currently weighing heavily on the congregation or praises in which all are rejoicing, such as those already printed in the bulletin. I would lift up concerns and praises in the life of the nation, the world, or the church that might not have been mentioned by the congregation or in the bulletin. I would also continue prayers in accordance with the general theme of the service or the season in the church calendar. I also think it is important in the course of such prayers to petition God for the growth of love and fellowship within the congregation and for the outreach of the congregation to the community. I would pray especially that our congregation would be welcoming to those who are somehow "different" from the majority of the people in the church community. The last would be a weekly soapbox petition on my part, both for myself and for the members of the congregation.]

*In view of God's generosity to us in Christ, let us present our tithes and offerings for God's service.


Hymn: Doxology (printed in the bulletin)
Words: Thomas Ken, 1674
Music: Old hundredth, Ge­ne­van Psalt­er, 1551, at­trib­ut­ed to Lou­is Bour­geois

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Presentation of Tithes and Offerings and Diaconal Prayer[16]
Heavenly Father, we thank you for all that you have done for us in creating and redeeming us and in sustaining us in earthly and heavenly life. We pray that you would take these, our gifts to you from the bounty of what you have first given us and make them useful for the growth, maturation, and advance of your Kingdom to the ends of the earth. In Jesus's name we pray. Amen.

Christ Feeds Us at His Table
* Eucharistic Instruction and Invitation to the Table[17]
We come to this table because our Lord has died and risen again. We solemnly remember his death for our sins, but we also joyously celebrate his resurrection and eagerly anticipate his coming again. As in his resurrection, Christ demonstrates his lordship to us here. Just as Christ has brought us to eternal life from the midst of death by his resurrection, at this table the Holy Spirit brings the nourishment of Christ's body and blood to our souls through our eating of bread and wine, which, by its very nature, like all food, is dead. We thus taste and see his lordship over death. We taste and see Christ's lordship over Creation at this table because natural eating and the gifts of the field and the vineyard become for us the means of communion with God they were always intended to be. This is only because of the resurrection, through which the curse on nature is being reversed. We taste and see Christ's lordship over the nations at this table, because he assembles people from every language, tribe, and nation to become in him one new people of one body and one blood. This, of course, can only be because of the resurrection, through which he has made those who were not a people his very own people. Therefore, Christ invites to feast at this table all of those who trust in him alone for salvation, having been baptized in the Triune name and sharing in vital union with his body—the Church. Please join us now as we thank God for his great gifts to us in Christ.

*Prayer of Great Thanksgiving[18]
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up unto the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, our duty and highest joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to you, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God. You created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. You made us in your own image; and in countless ways you show us your mercy. Above all we praise you for the glorious resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the true Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. By his death he destroyed death, and by his rising brought us eternal life. Therefore with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, we worship and adore your glorious name, praising you forevermore:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.[19]

All glory and blessing are yours, O holy God, for in your great mercy you gave your only Son, Jesus Christ. He took our human nature, and suffered death on the cross for our redemption. There he made a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. We praise you that before he suffered and died, our Savior gave us this holy sacrament and commanded us to continue it as a lasting memorial of his death and sacrifice until he comes again.

Therefore, remembering his incarnation and holy life, his death and glorious resurrection, his ascension and continual intercession for us, and awaiting his coming again in power and great glory, we claim his eternal sacrifice and celebrate with these your holy gifts the memorial your Son commanded us to make. Great is the mystery of faith:

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

Merciful God, by your Holy Spirit bless and make holy both us and these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break may be a communion in the body of Christ, and the cup we bless may be a communion in the blood of Christ. Here we offer ourselves to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you. In your mercy, accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, as, in communion with all the faithful in heaven and on earth, we ask you to fulfill, in us and in all creation, the purpose of your redeeming love.

Help us, O God, to love as Christ loved. Knowing our own weakness, may we stand with all who stumble. Sharing in his suffering, may we remember all who suffer. Held in his love, may we embrace all whom the world denies. Rejoicing in his forgiveness, may we forgive all who sin against us. Give us strength to serve you faithfully until the promised day of resurrection, when with the redeemed of all the ages we will feast with you at your table in glory.[20]

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.[21]

*Lord's Prayer[22]
And now, as Jesus has taught us, we are bold to pray:
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

*Words of Institution and Distribution
The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: [breaks the loaf] “Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, [lifts up the cup] "Drink this, all of you; for this is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

As we are distributing the bread and wine, turn in your hymnals to #207 and join us in singing Martin Luther's classic Easter hymn, "Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands." We'll sing the first two stanzas as the bread is passed and then the final three stanzas as the wine is passed. When you receive the elements, please wait so we may eat them together.

Hymn #207: "Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands" Original Trinity Hymnal[23]
Words: Martin Luther, En­chridi­on (Er­furt, Ger­ma­ny: 1524); translated from German into English by Richard Massie, Martin Luther's Spiritual Songs, 1854
Music: Christ Lag in Tod­es­band­en, Geistliche Gesangb├╝chlein, 1524; arranged by Johann S. Bach, 1724

Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand he stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah. Hallelujah!

It was a strange and dreadful strife
When life and death contended;
The victory remained with life,
The reign of death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That death is swallowed up by death,
His sting is lost for ever. Hallelujah!

[Hymn pauses at end of distribution of bread. If second verse concludes prior to end of distribution, instruct musicians to continue playing tune until congregation has been served.]

*Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body; for we all partake of one loaf. Is not the bread we break a participation in the body of Christ?[24] [All eat.]

[Hymn continues as distribution of wine begins.]

Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree—
So strong his love!—to save us.
See, his blood doth mark our door;
Faith points to it, death passes o'er,
And Satan cannot harm us. Hallelujah!

So let us keep the festival
Whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By his grace he doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended. Hallelujah!

Then let us feast this joyful day
On Christ, the Bread of heaven;
The Word of grace hath purged away
The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed,
He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other. Hallelujah!

[Hymn concludes. If hymn ends prior to end of distribution of wine, instruct congregation to sing verse 1 again.]

*Likewise, is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? [All drink.]

God Commissions Us for His Service
*Matthew and Mark tell us that after supper Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn before they departed the Upper Room. Before we leave this place, let us do likewise. This hymn will serve as our prayer of dedication for the week. It is the last song printed in the bulletin. Rise as we pray in the words of the fourth stanza and refrain of "In Breath and Flesh and Power."

Hymn for Mission: "In Breath and Flesh and Power" stanza and refrain 4 (printed in the bulletin)[25]
Original Composition
Words: Jamie Stober, 2010
Music: cleansing fountain, 19th-century American camp meeting tune, arranged by Jamie Stober 2010

Lord we have been with You this Easter Day in the new Jerusalem.
You have fed us with the bread of life and filled our hearts with hymns.
Strengthened by Your death and victory, conform our lives to You,
And send us as Your co-laborers in making all things new.

In making all things new, in making all things new.
And send us as Your co-laborers in making all things new.

Benediction and Dismissal: Numbers 6:24-26
Now may the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Three-fold Amen

[1] In this rather lengthy opening, I have provided a discussion of the guiding themes of the service to all present and an explanation to both Christians and seekers of the unique significance of Easter. The Gospel-progression of the service starts rolling as we begin to see the glorious nature and works of God and his Christ in these remarks.
[2] Psalm 150 is a most appropriate call to worship for an Easter service, with its call for exuberant praise in response to God's mighty works and awesome nature. The praise of God with the creational gift of music and the expressed desire that "everything that has breath praise the Lord" sounds a sub-theme—Christ's lordship over the Creation—of the service's dominant theme of Christ's lordship declared in the resurrection.
[3] The practical need to be seated corresponds with the need to shift to a more appropriate posture for the upcoming confession of sin. Kneeling later for the confession would have been desirable, but I thought that would begin to be too much up and down movement.
[4] A rubric in which I attempt to build a logical connection between praise and confession of sin. The overall Gospel-progression of the service moves from recognition of God's character to confession of our sin. In my rubric, I place confession of sin within the context of repentance in response to God's forgiving love, preparing us for the next step in the overall Gospel-progression of the service, that of receiving instruction from God for living a life of grateful obedience.
[5] Used by Permission from The Worship Sourcebook (Grand Rapids, Mich: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2004), 638.
[6] God raises us up from our humiliation by declaring us forgiven sons and daughters, therefore, we rise to hear the declaration of his pardon and remain standing afterwards in the dignity he has given us through Christ's blood, thanking him by singing the Gloria Patri. The call to worship and confession portion of the service together represent the first of multiple cyclical Gospel-progressions of hearing-repentance-praise within the service. Note the distinction and continuity between the multiple Gospel-progressions within the service and the overall Gospel-progression of the entire service.
[7] Time-honored tradition or vain repetition? I could think of more appropriate, less done-to-death prayers for illumination, but inserting the sursum corda here in the Liturgy of the Word helps to cement the relationship between Word and Sacrament, since the sursum corda also appears in the Liturgy of the Upper Room.
[8] Psalm 118 is an appropriate choice in light of the Easter theme of Christ's lordship I have chosen to emphasize. This Psalm shows that the Father has given Christ a great victory over the nations and over death in the resurrection—victories that are important sub-themes in this service.
[9] I suppose some explanation is in order for breaking from the traditional liturgical order and preaching from the epistle instead of the Gospel reading. I'm not a very good theologian, so I don't know how to preach this passage without accessing apostolic reflection on the resurrection, hence my use of the epistle reading for my sermon text.
[10] I have certainly drawn on the richness of past expression in this service, but I felt it imperative to include the freshness of current expression. Since everything else in this service is traditional, including this one new song feels a bit like throwing the proverbial dog a bone. Because its content is so thematically appropriate, however, including "Revelation Song" in this heavily traditional service is not as arbitrary as some choices of contemporary music in traditional contexts seem to be.
[11] The sermon is the point in the overall Gospel-progression of the service where we receive God's instructions for our new obedience. In this instance, I believe I have done a good job of integrating the sermon theme throughout the rest of the service and that the Gospel storyline flows effectively through the arrangement of Word, song, prayer, and Sacrament. Because there is such continuity between the sermon and the non-preaching elements, I would opt for a shorter sermon on the order of 20-25 minutes. Also part of my rationale for this decision is that the long recounting of salvation history in the Eucharistic Great Thanksgiving carries some of the weight of proclamation and Gospel re-presentation the sermon is typically called on to carry.
[12] I chose the Nicene Creed rather than the Apostles’ Creed because of the former's strong Christological focus and because the former is used more universally (in the Eastern Church but without the filioque, of course) than the latter. Christology and catholicity are appropriate emphases for Easter. As I noted in the preceding rubric, I include the Creed after the sermon because it represents a doxological confession of faith in response to God's works on our behalf and desires for our lives, as proclaimed in the sermon. Not to mention, the historic Creeds create a sense of belonging to a huge, centuries-spanning, globe-embracing mystery. This represents the rising toward culmination of a cyclical Gospel-progression of hearing-repentance-praise in the consecration by the Word portion of the service and also the beginning of movement in the overall Gospel-progression of the service from hearing God's instruction to being commissioned for his service.
[13] I absolutely love this piece of music! I chose this to serve as the climax of the cyclical Gospel-progression within the consecration by the Word portion of the service. I am concerned with the flow of the service here because this crescendo of praise might raise the whole service to its peak, whereas my desire is to have the Lord's Supper as the climax of the service as a whole. However, placing the "Hallelujah Chorus" prior to the Eucharist could also be strategic in preparing us to "lift up our hearts" into the heavenlies to feast with Jesus.
[14] I chose to place prayers of the people here as an appropriate response to the re-presentation of the Gospel in the consecration by the Word portion of the service. The preceding rubric serves to transition us seamlessly from praise to petition and to call us to covenant faithfulness in offering ourselves to God through prayer.
[15] The people's offering of themselves in response to God's grace continues with their offering of financial gifts. The preceding rubric serves as both transition from prayers to the offering and as a call to covenant faithfulness in returning to God a portion of his gifts to us.
[16] I have not yet addressed congregational participation in the service. Of course, the songs and the prayers have been participatory, the choir has had the opportunity to offer beautiful music, laypersons have led the prayer for illumination and offered Scripture readings, and a deacon is here providing the prayer for the offering. Multiple prayers and a reading in the service are dialogical and responsive. I have strived to strike an appropriate balance between proclamation and participation in this service.
[17] I have placed a brief Eucharistic reflection here to thematically tie the Lord's Supper, the sermon, and the whole of the service together. It thus also serves as a good transition from one part of the service to the next.
[18] Used by Permission from The Book of Common Worship (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993). I chose to include a Prayer of Great Thanksgiving in the Lord's Supper because, in regard to the overall Gospel-progression of the service, it covers the same ground as the sermon in re-presenting the Gospel, prepares us to receive tokens of that Gospel, and is a both a call for covenant faithfulness and a response of covenant faithfulness. The prayer is parts praise, proclamation, dialogue, petition, and instruction, balancing passive receiving and active participation.
[19] The responsive sections of the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving emphasize God's glory, inspire a sense of transcendence and awe, and join our hearts to the faithful of all times and places, considering that these praises have been uttered constantly on earth and in heaven since the Church began.
[20] In the prayer's petitions for the Church, the world, and for loving faithfulness in ministry to the world, vertical concern for God's glory is balanced with horizontal concern for our neighbor's good.
[21] The Prayer of Great Thanksgiving is heavy on propositional content but presents it in such a way that it inspires transcendence and mystery, effectively balancing cognitive and emotional characteristics of Gospel presentation.
[22] I chose to include the Lord's Prayer in the Communion liturgy, rather than earlier, to ratchet up the sense of catholicity and the communal orientation of the Sacrament.
[23] If it's Easter, and you need a Communion hymn, so help me God, you can do no other than sing Luther's great hymn. A couple things about this might be tricky, though: 1) holding hymnals while passing communion plates, and 2) the logistics of coordinating the timing between distribution of the elements and the verses of the song. I give three of the five verses for the distribution of the wine because it takes a bit longer than the bread.
[24] The prompts for eating and drinking focus on the communal and cultic aspects of the Sacrament.
[25] I chose to place this song here to serve as a prayer for Christ to empower us to carry out the work he has commissioned us to do in response to his grace. I decided to be creative in expressing the dedication prayer through song. I probably would not actually use this rather amateurish song of my own creation in a service, but it works quite well in the context of an Easter service.

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