April 4, 2013

Resurrection Sunday 2013

After ending in silence on Good Friday, it seemed to me that beginning with a bang on sunday morning felt a little disingenuous, as if it was so dark and then all of a sudden Jesus jumped up and said “fooled you!” So we began Easter quietly, and built from silence to volume through our live opener. “Redemption Song” is a beautiful piece, written and performed by Adie Camp, it also seemed appropriate that we begin with a female singer; the Marys were the first to bear witness (even to the disciples), why not allude that that as we began our gathering of celebration?

Weapons have been replaced by new life
One of the things I love about big celebratory holidays is that we get to sing more; the preaching, great as that can be, takes a more supportive role in telling the story, but we don’t generally celebrate by listening. No, celebration happens when we sing, we dance, we eat, we play. Our gathering this year reflected this, I think, fairly well. Six pieces of music instead of our usual four or five, some liturgy to tie them together, and a shorter message about living the resurrection (instead of simply believing it).

Something we did new this year was including kids second-grade and older in the entirety of our two modern gatherings. While kids usually enjoy singing with their family, they do tend to have a harder time paying attention during speaking portions (and particularly a grown-up sermon, although you might be surprised what they’ll pick up if they’re coloring while they listen). So our children’s director had the brilliant idea to pass out some activity bags to those who wanted them as we received the offering; giving and receiving all at the same time, in both directions. Well-received, and no crying during the message.

A cross that has me thinking
The sanctuary looked great (my creative team outdid themselves again), but my favorite piece - aside from all the brilliant color - was the cross itself. The cross has been “growing flowers” over the course of this last sermon series. What started out as a “hey, that looks cool” sort of idea has taken on some pretty deep meaning to me; death has been overcome, and live is taking its place. The symbolism of flowers growing on top of a former instrument of painful execution is many-layered, and I hope people keep that image in their mind for a long time to come; it certainly has kept me thinking.

I get to work with an amazing team of people
But thing that got me most excited this year was our new choir. The modern gathering has never had a choir of its own before, but this choir was more than a simple group to back up the worship team. This choir was intergenerational; we had a three-year-old, grade school kids, teenagers, and all ages of adults involved. Whole families sang together as part. And they were so, so good; they led our congregation with passion from the risers, and I can’t wait to find a way to do this with them again!

Here’s what Resurrection Sunday looked like, in a nutshell:

Traditional Gathering (8am)

Organ and Piano duets | Prelude
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Come, Christians, Join to Sing Responsive Liturgy Christ Arose
Worship Christ the Risen King
We Shall Behold Him / Hallelujah Chorus Medley | Choral Offertory
Doxology, Prayer for the People, and the Lord’s Prayer
The Easter Story | Video
Because He Lives
Organ and Piano Duets | Postlude

Modern Gatherings (9:30 and 11am)

Redemption Song | Adie Camp
My Savior Lives | New Life Worship, with choir
Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise) | Brooke Fraser, with choir
Responsive Liturgy
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) | Matt Redman
Christ is Risen | Matt Maher
The Easter Story | Video during offering
Christ Arose | arr. Brookwood Church

The sanctuary on Easter morning

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