Worship planning in the season of Easter

Seeds
04/05/2013

Worship planning in the season of Easter

The season of Easter is the high point of the Christian church year, lasting not a day but a full week of weeks. The season is an extended feast wherein the paschal candle is lit at every service as a sign of the risen Christ.

Consider how your Lutheran congregation will maintain the festival throughout the whole 50 days. Be sure to replace the Easter Sunday explosion of flowers with other festive displays throughout the season.

Gathering

The gathering time in worship for ELCA congregations throughout the Sundays of Easter may be more elaborate and celebrative than at other times of the year. If the choir does not process throughout the year, it may do so during the season of Easter, marking the festivity of the season. The Kyrie and canticle of praise "This is the feast" are sung and may be more festive with added instrumentation.

Maintain the energy and excitement of the Easter greeting Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! throughout the whole season.

Hymn

The Easter season is a time to join the voices of all the nations in the proclamation of the resurrection. The Spanish text and tune of "¡Aleluya! Cristo Resucitó" ("Evangelical Lutheran Worship" 375) were written by Luis Bojos in 1974. The stanzas included in "Evangelical Lutheran Worship" are part of a longer text that tells in poetic form several post-resurrection stories from Luke 24:1-42, John 20:19-31 and John 21:1-14. Bojos' hymn first appeared in Lutheran worship resources as part of "Libro de Liturgia y C'ntico" (1998). Even if your congregation does not regularly sing in Spanish, learning the refrain in Spanish welcomes the world into your local church. Consult the "Musician's Guide to Evangelical Lutheran Worship" for suggestions about adding percussion and trumpet to the hymn.

Proclamation

The season of Easter is a time when the lectionary texts highlight our connection to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in baptism. In baptism our lives are transformed by the Easter good news and we receive the gift of new life.

Nevertheless, this new life is not without questions, doubt, suffering and struggles. Proclamation during the season of Easter provides the opportunity to examine the juxtaposition of new life in Christ with the struggles and challenges of the Christian life.

The lectionary texts proclaim in our lives the power of the resurrection that gives strength in suffering, unity in diversity, consolation in sorrow, perseverance in adversity and faith in times of doubt. Consider an overarching proclamation theme of baptismal living for the Sundays in the season of Easter.

Sending

"Go in peace. Share the good news." We celebrate life-changing good news in the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, during the Easter season. The imperative to share this good news turns us out into the world with a story to share with our friends and neighbors. But sharing our faith often involves more listening and learning than we might realize.

Encourage your congregation to get to know their local and global neighbors. Encourage worshipers to bring a friend or coworker to worship during the Easter season and fine-tune your ministry of hospitality.

Midweek prayer

Morning Prayer resounds with resurrection themes. With the rising sun, the church praises God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and seeks the Holy Spirit's guidance for the day ahead. Extend the Sunday celebrations of Easter through the week by regularly gathering together on a weekday morning for Morning Prayer before the work day begins.

Honor morning schedules and responsibilities by keeping the prayer service short and by starting on time. A flexible service of Morning Prayer that can be adapted for use in your community can be found beginning on page 298 of "Evangelical Lutheran Worship."

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