The sanctuary actually wasn't very full -- though people trickled in, throughout the first ten or twenty minutes after service began, as well.
It was this upbeat song with a "halle-halle-halle...loo-oo-ya" refrain, which I think they've done before, but which I also wanna say feels familiar from First Churches in Northampton.
Call to Worship
[One] Christ has risen.
[All] Christ has risen indeed.
[One] God is alive...
[All] new birth is given.
[One] Hope is alive...
[All] liberation is here.
[One] Love is alive...
[All] death cannot harm us.
[One] We are alive...
[All] new life is within us.
[One] Christ has risen!
[All] Christ has risen indeed!
Opening Prayer: (unison)
Lord Jesus, we greet you, risen from the dead. We thought that your way of love was a dead end, leading only to a cross: now we see that it is the way to life.
We thought that your whole life was wasted: now we know that it was gloriously worthwhile.
We thought that your suffering was pointless: now we can see God's purpose in it.
We thought that death was the end of you: now we know that your life was too great to be ended by death.
Lord Jesus, we adore you, risen from the dead.
Hymn: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!" (insert)
This felt slow, which bugged me.
Choral Call to Prayer
"This is the day that the Lord has made." This was very up-tempo, which I enjoyed.
Prayer of Confession: (unison)
If, at times, we deny you God, forgive us. When the risks of discipleship are high, and we are nowhere to be found: forgive us. When we wash our hands of responsibility: forgive us. When we cast our lot with powerful oppressors and seek to buy security with silver and sword: forgive us. When fear keeps us from witnessing to your truth, or prejudice keeps us from believing it: forgive us.
In the bright life of Easter morning, O God, our sin is exposed and your grace is revealed. Tender god, raise us in your love so that, with joy, we may witness to your awesome love, in the name of Jesus the Risen one. Amen.
Words of Assurance
Passing of the Peace of Christ
Time With Our Young People
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10
Scripture Reading: John 10: 1-18
Sermon: "Did It or Didn't It?"
Karl talked about the resurrection, said there is the scientific view: that it can't have happened so it didn't; the literalist view; the agnostic: that maybe it happened and maybe it didn't, but it opens up interesting questions; and that there is a fourth view: that says that's the wrong question, that a more important question is What does it mean to say that Christ rose from the dead?
He said there is a loving and gracious energy alive in this world -- against death, domination, destruction. God will make us new and make us free.
Affirmation of Faith
In Christ, God gave us a glimpse of the new creationHymn: "The Day of Resurrection" (insert)
God has already begun and will surely finish.
We do not know when the final day will come.
In our time we see only broken and scattered signs
that the renewal of all things is under way.
We do not yet see the end of cruelty and suffering
in the world, the church, or our own lives.
But we see Jesus as Lord.
As he stands at the center of our history,
we are confident he will stand at its end.
He will judge all people and nations.
Evil will be condemned
and rooted out of God's good creation.
There will be no more tears or pain.
All things will be made new.
The fellowship of human beings with God and each other
will be perfected.
In the death of Jesus Christ
God's way in the world seemed finally defeated.
But death was no match for God.
The resurrection of Jesus was God's victory over death.
Death often seems to prove that life is not worth living,
that our best efforts and deepest affections go for nothing.
We do not yet see the end of death.
But Christ has been raised from the dead,
transformed and yet the same person.
In his resurrection is the promise of ours.
We are convinced that the life God wills for each of us
is stronger than the death that destroys us.
The glory of that life exceeds our imagination
but we know we shall be with Christ.
So we treat death as a broken power.
Its ultimate defeat is certain.
In the face of death we grieve.
Yet in hope we celebrate life.
No life ends so tragically
that its meaning and value are destroyed.
Nothing, not even death, can separate us
from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers of the People and The Prayer of Christ (the regular "debts" version, I think -- which I didn't even realize initially, as I've gotten used to reading it from the bulletin since we're doing a quirky version, and CWM's been doing a quirky version I have to read from the bulletin as well, so I've gotten out of the habit of training myself to remember to say "debts" in the morning and "trespasses" in the evening when reciting with eyes closed and instead just read it from the bulletin)
Prayer of Dedication
Hymn: "Thine Is the Glory" (insert)
Response: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!" (v. 1)