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Growing With Peter Series: Go Tell Peter! - Mark 16

An Easter service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the certain victory we have in him.

Theme of the Service

It's very easy to clearly identify the theme of this worship service - we are to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the certainty of victory we now have in him.


Prelude: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today", Held
"Good Christians, All, Rejoice", Manz, Willan

The Easter Proclamation: Matthew 28:1-10

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Anthem: "Jesus Is Risen! Alleluia!", Nagy

*God's Greeting and Congregational Amen!

*Worshipers greet each other


*Song of Celebration: "Christ Is Risen" PH 104 (tune Hymn to Joy), SNC 147 (tune W zlobie lezy), WOV 672 (tuneJackson New)

Anthem: "He Is Not Here!", Nagy

An Easter Reading from I Corinthians 15:12-20
(see liturgy notes)

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Song of Testimony: "We Know That Christ Is Raised" PH 495, PsH 271 (using tune of PsH 512, Engelberg), RL 528

Offertory Prayer

Offertory: "Voluntary on 'We Know That Christ Is Raised' ", Callahan

Anthem: "All Shall Be Well", Foley

*Song of Praise: "Praise the Savior, Now and Ever" PsH 400, TH 243


The Reading of Scripture: Mark 16:1-8

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Song of Testimony: "A Shout Rings Out, a Joyful Voice" PsH 392

Sermon: Go Tell...Peter!
(Growing with Peter - #8)
Text - Mark 16:7

The Prayers of the People


*Song of Celebration: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today/Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" PH 113, PsH 388, RL 312/325, SFL 172, TH 273/277, TWC 234/250

vs.1 - All
vs.2 - Antiphonally (women first, men on "Alleluia")
vs.3 - All
vs.4 - Antiphonally (men first, women on "Alleluia")
vs.5 - All

*The Benediction

*Song of Celebration: "The Hallelujah Chorus", Handel

Postlude: "Fanfare", Mathias

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

The preacher must be particularly sensitive on Easter Sunday to the presence of those who may be irregular attenders, and especially those who may be inquiring about the Christian faith. It's vitally important, therefore, that the core of the gospel be presented clearly and convincingly.

We would suggest that you begin this message by asking all to imagine what it would be like if there were no Easter. What would our worship be like, our professions of faith, the way in which we think about death, and the way in which we deal with the tragedies of life? Point to the I Corinthians 15 passage read earlier in the service and explain how Paul explains very logically that the one thing that more than anything else authenticates the Christian faith is the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Then the message should zero in on Peter. What would Peter have been like without an Easter? Review the ups and downs we've covered with him so far in this series of messages. Peter needed Easter badly, or he would have been left brooding about his failure in denying his Lord.

We've read the story from Mark's gospel. Recall that Mark, it is assumed, got most of his information for his gospel from the preaching of Peter. With that in mind, review the events of Sunday morning as the women experienced them. Note all the statements made to the women by the angel in verses 6-7. And then note that buried within those statements there is a very important short clause that can easily be overlooked. ".And Peter" is found in v.7. Why was Peter singled out? This little statement is a treasure!

Now, the message can say and illustrate how the story of Easter makes the story of the Gospel the story of a fresh start for people. The door was open for a fresh start for Peter, and also for other disciples, and the Centurion, and thousands of people throughout the book of Acts. You now have a golden opportunity to explain the new and fresh start it can provide for any who will believe today, and call them to faith.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. The initial piece of the prelude is a quiet setting of "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" by Wilbur Held from the collection "Six Preludes on Easter Hymns" published by Concordia 97-4649 [1975]. Settings of "Good Christians, All, Rejoice and Sing" can be found in "Ten Chorale Preludes" set 5 by Paul Manz and originally published by Concordia 97-5257 [1974] (M), and in "Six Chorale Preludes" set 1 by Healy Willan and published by Concordia 97-3903 [1950] (M). These two settings work very well together - the rhythmic motive which drives the settings is the same for both pieces.
  2. The anthem "Jesus Is Risen, Alleluia!" by Russell Nagy is a unison anthem published by Beckenhorst BP JH524 (E). This is festive and rhythmic, and both children and adults enjoy singing it.
  3. The opening hymn "Christ Is Risen" can be sung to the Polish carol W Zlobie Lezy as printed in Sing! A New Creation or to Beethoven's Hymn to Joy.
  4. "He Is Not Here" by Russell Nagy is an SATB anthem retelling the Matthew 28 passage. It is published by High Street Music JH538 [1994] (M-D). The beginning and end of this anthem sings like a folk song; the middle section is set as a fugue and will take some work to put together.
  5. The hymn "We Know That Christ Is Raised" is taken from a concertato for choir, organ, brass and congregation by Hal Hopson and published by HW Grey GCMRO3566 [1989]. This concertato has a reprintable congregational part for the stanzas.
  6. The offertory music by Charles Callahan is published by Morningstar MSM-10-702 [1990] (M-D) and is titled "Voluntary on 'Engelberg' ".
  7. The anthem "All Shall Be Well", by John Foley S.J. is published by North American Liturgy Resources 5569 [1985] (E-M). This is an energetic, brief strophic anthem.
  8. An introduction, choral stanza and free harmonization with descant by Larry Visser for "Praise the Savior, Now and Ever" can be found in Reformed Worship vol. 38 on page 26. Wayne Leupold Editions owns the copyright but gives permission to reproduce from the article for worship.
  9. An SATB choral setting with optional trumpet and free harmonization to "A Shout Rings Out" by Dale Grotenhuis is published by Exultation, a division of Lorenz 10/1761L [1999] (E).
  10. A free harmonization for "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today/ Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" (Easter Hymn) can be found in John Ferguson's Hymn Harmonizations for Organ bk. 2 Ludwig O-07. Check your hymnal for which tune is used (Easter Hymn, Llanfair, Orientis Partibus) and number of verses.
  11. Congregational copies of "The Hallelujah Chorus" can be purchased through Fred Bock Music Company B-G0745 [1984]. A choral arrangement transposed to the Key of C by Clair W. Johnson was published by Rubank, Inc. in 1941. Using the transposition makes the chorus more accessible for congregational singing.
  12. The postlude composed by William Mathias can be found in "The Oxford Book of Wedding Music" Oxford ISBN 0 19 375119 4 (M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. The festive nature of this Easter celebration can be aided by creative attention to the visuals used in the worship space. A worshiper, especially a visitor, who steps into the worship space should immediately receive the message that this is a special day of celebration. Flowers, colors, paraments, banners, etc. will be an excellent aid to worship this morning.

2. Children should be very visible in Easter worship. In addition to the inclusion of the Children's Choir, we have usually asked children to read the Easter Proclamation from Matthew 28 that opens the service. Either a single child can read it, or two of them can share sections of the reading. In either case, they should be provided coaching on how to read well in public, and should rehearse their reading with the microphone ahead of time.

3. The second reading, from I Corinthians 15, can be very effective when structured as a Scripture Drama reading. A suggested script for this reading is included below. When multiple readers are used, they should be positioned apart from each other on the platform, each with a microphone, and have rehearsed it together so they can be comfortable with their own part and familiar with the parts of others.

4. The Prayers of the People on Easter Sunday should be particularly sensitive to the needs of others around us - the sufferers, those who wrestle with doubts, fellow Christians who are persecuted, and those who are acquainted with the Christian faith and wondering whether they should make a commitment.

5. We established a tradition to close our Easter services with the congregational singing of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus". Many folks eagerly looked forward to it each year. We provided copies to sing from (see Music Notes above), and told the congregation that they could choose from several options - to come to the front and join the choir in singing, to sing with them from the pew, or to remain in the pew and celebrate while others sing it. It became a concluding highlight!

Script for Scripture Drama Reading - I Corinthians 15:12-20

Cast: Three Readers

Reader 1: If it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

Reader 2: And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

Reader 3: More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.

Reader 1: But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

Reader 2: And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.

Reader 3: Then those who also have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ we are to be pitied more than all men.

All three Readers: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep!

All three Readers: The Word of the Lord!

Congregation: Thanks be to God!