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Easter Season

A possible structure for The Gathering of the Community:

The Paschal Candle is lit at all services during the Easter Season. To highlight the Resurrection celebration and contrast vigorously with Lent, penitential elements are minimised or preferably omitted in the Gathering of the Community.

1. Hymn in procession

2. Easter Greeting:

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

This is the day which the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

3. Glory to God in the highest (sung – or another Resurrection Song of Praise)

4. Collect of the Day

Easter introduction:

Between the greeting and the singing of, for example, “Glory to God in the highest” the presider may introduce the celebration, or there could be a short litany of praise such as the following:

The risen Christ meets us at the tomb, and turns our tears to joy.
For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

Christ comes through our locked doors, and turns our fear to courage.
For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

Christ comes to daily life and work, and turns our failure to new vision.
For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

Christ breaks the bread, and turns our despair to hope.
For your love and goodness
we give you thanks, O God.

[As we rejoice in the gift of Christ’s risen presence with us we sing the Easter hymn.]

Sprinkling the community with baptismal water may appropriately follow a baptism. Alternatively sprinkling could be part of the Gathering of the Community.

Appropriate Songs of Praise:

A Living Hope (NZPB page 75)
The Easter Anthems (page 94)
The Song of Moses (page 100)
Our Great High Priest (page 101) towards the end of the Easter Season
Life in the Spirit (page 101) towards the end of the Easter Season
Glory to God in the highest (page 405)

Suggested response for The Prayers of the People:

God of love
grant our prayer.

Variation/Addition to the Great Thanksgiving: Easter; Ascension (near Ascension Day); Pentecost (between Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost).

Alternative introduction to the Lord’s Prayer:

The risen Christ is in our midst, so with Christ we pray.

The Dismissal of the Community:

Go now to love and serve the Lord. Go in peace. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Amen. We go in the name of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Day of Pentecost

The Easter acclamations continue through to the evening of the Day of Pentecost. The Paschal Candle is lit at ordinary services for the last time on the Day of Pentecost. Thereafter it is moved from the sanctuary to the baptistery and is lit during baptisms and funerals (when it is usually moved near to the casket), reminding us that we are baptised into Christ’s death and resurrection.

Everyone carried a candle lit from the Paschal Candle during the Easter vigil, symbolically sharing the light of the risen Christ. Perhaps on the Day of Pentecost, during the period of reflection after receiving communion, these candles could be relit from the Paschal Candle. The Pentecostal fire is thereby visibly divided and shared by everyone (cf. Acts 2:1?]4; first reading for the Day of Pentecost, Three Year Series). The Paschal Candle can then be extinguished, vividly concluding the Fifty Days. The risen and ascended Christ, gone from our sight, is still present by the Spirit and we are commissioned to go out into the world to spread the light of Christ. (This might be symbolised by all processing out with the lit candles).

Water is also a rich symbol of the Spirit. Hence, sprinkling with water while singing a dynamic, vibrant song after the renewal of our baptism on the Day of Pentecost could also be very powerful.

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