Messengers of Life in the City of the Dead: One church and two Easter services--at 8:45 and 11:15

These two Easter services were submitted by Charlotte Larsen, director of music at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like many growing congregations, Ann Arbor CRC holds two morning services that are distinct in style and flavor but grow out of the same Scriptures and include the same sermon. The different character of the two services is designed to address the diverse university community.

One of the things that marks the distinct character of the two services is the amount of information each service includes in the bulletin. The 8:45 service assumes ease with finding information on paper (three pages). The 11:15 service is no shorter in “real time,” but it is definitely shorter on paper (one page). Much more is unwritten, even though the words spoken are as carefully prepared by the worship leaders as the written responses in the first service. A second distinction between the two services is reflected in the way worship leaders are identified. A third distinction involves the organization of the service.

A comparison of those differences may generate some thinking on the part of your worship committees and leaders.You may also want to review the important distinctions between content, structure, and style (developed by Robert Webber in RW 39). The important thing is to develop the kind of service that both encourages “engaging with God,” to use the title of one of the best books on the theology of worship (reviewed in RW 33), and also stands within a structure that is deeply connected to the holy catholic church of all times and places.



Prelude: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” Willan

“O Sons and Daughters” Dandrieu
“Thine Is the Glory” Smith

Choral Call to Worship: “A Shout Rings Out” Grotenhuis

[text included in bulletin from PsH 392]

Easter Greetings:

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!
Glory and honor, dominion and power,
be to our God for ever and ever!
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
God has made us alive with Christ!
Death has been swallowed up in victory!
Grace and peace to you from him who is,
and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

[We greet one another.]

Hymns of Praise

“Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain” PsH 389, PH 114-115, RL 315-316, TH 265-266
“Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” PsH 402, PH 106, TWC 240

Children’s Message: “Alleluia”

Our Response: “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” PsH 402, PH 106, TWC 240

[refrain only; text printed in bulletin]

Encounters with Our Risen Lord

Three Women: Luke 24:1-12

Our Testimony: “O Sons and Daughters” stanza 1-2—solo; stanza 3—all; PsH 393, PH 116-117, TH 272

Peter and Mary Magdalene: John 20:1-18

Our Testimony: “Low in the Grave Christ Lay” PsH 396, TH 276, TWC 235

Guards, Chief Priests, Crowds: Matthew 28:2-4, 11-15

Solo Testimony “Were You There When God Raised Him from the Tomb?”

Disciples: Luke 24:13-17a, 27-35

Our Testimony: “As We Walk Along Beside You” PsH 299

Thomas: John 20:19-20, 24-29

Our Testimony: “O Sons and Daughters” st. 4, 8; PsH 393, PH 116-117, TH 272

We Ourselves: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Our Testimony: “Thine Is the Glory” TH 274, TWC 251

Guidance from Our Risen Lord

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:5b

Message: “Messengers of Life in the City of the Dead”

Hymn of Response: “I Serve a Risen Savior” PsH 405, TWC 248

Commitment to Our Risen Lord

Offertory Prayer

Offering: . . . for the ministries of this church

[Please sign and pass the Friendship Registers and name tags]

Offertory Solo: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” Handel

Commitment of Faith: The Apostles’ Creed
Do you believe in God the Father?
We believe in God, the Father almighty . . . ,
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
We believe in Jesus Christ . . .
Do you believe in God, the Holy Spirit?
We believe in the Holy Spirit, . . .
[The entire creed was included in the bulletin.]

Hymn of Response: “Alleluia! Alleluia!” st. 1,4; PsH 402, PH 106, TWC 240

Parting Blessings:

Go forth in joy to love and serve God in all that you do.

We are sent in the name of the risen Christ.
Let us bless our Lord!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia!
May the God of peace,
who raised to life the great Shepherd of the
make us ready to do his will in every good thing,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever
and ever!
Amen! Alleluia!

Hymn : “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” PsH 388, PH 113, RL 325, TH 277, TWC 234

Postlude: “Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing” Willan

[Worship leaders named]: pastor, organist, choir director, soloists, brass players, readers.


An overhead projector is used for all songs. If you prefer, you may also use the hymnals [Psalter Hymnal numbers were provided].

Prelude: “Easter Song” Herring/Wilson

Gathering Songs

“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”
“Oh, How Good Is Christ the Lord”
“Low in the Grave Christ Lay”
“Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks”

Time for Confession and Renewal

Song: “He Is Exalted” (songsheet)

Offering: . . . for the ministries of this church

[Please sign and pass the Friendship Registers.]

[Prayer request cards can be found in the pew racks.]

Offertory: “He’s Alive” Francisco

Time for Sharing and Prayer

Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 (p. 1106)

Message: “Messengers of Life in the City of the Dead”

Response: “I Serve a Risen Savior”

God’s Blessing for His People

Closing Song: “He Is Lord”

Assisting us in worship: [names of] pastor, worship leader, readers, musicians, brass ensemble

All song words reprinted with permission of CCLI#xxxxxx

Charlotte Larsen is music director of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church.


Reformed Worship 50 © December 1998, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.