Monday, January 25, 2016

Easter Day (March 27): A Dawn Service and a later Celebration

Readings: Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118, John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

About the Images:
Upper Left: Buds shoot from the bark (epicormic shoots) of eucalyptus (more commonly known as gum) tree devastated and defoliated by bush fires in the Australian High country. For more info on this area visit This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: The beach at dawn in Paynesville where the Mitchell River Parish hold their dawn service. For more info on this area visit This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is an image of a replica of Jesus tomb in found in the Garden Tomb complex in Jerusalem.  This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.

Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply - however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at

Some Particularly Useful Stuff for a Dawn/Sunrise Service

Have this service near a lake or beach if possible - if you live inland, then choose a high point - if you live inland on a plain then find a nice river -if you live inland on a plain in a desert (most of Australia) then you will have plenty of beautiful places to choose from.

Call to Worship or.....:When The Inevitable is no Longer Sure
Found at These words could be used in all sorts of ways. This site can also be found in my links (above left) and is well worth a look. Cheryl Lawrie regularly blogs and her writing is excellent, relevant and creative.

Easter candle:
Have a camp fire or a fire pot instead.

Prayer: Jesus We Greet You
Found in Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 188 (pictured at left)

Prayer: Lord God, Early in the Morning
Found in Stages on the Way as above, page 184 (pictured at left)

Meditation: I Have Seen Jesus

Found in Mucky Paws Volume 4 or in the April 2007 Mucky Paws archives (see my link above left - Roddy Hamilton writes excellent stuff)

Meditation: Prayers That Jesus Hears
Found in Present on Earth by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 20028, ISBN 0901557642, page 95 (pictured at right)

Response Activity 
Cook fish and middle eastern bread over an open fire or on a plough disc. A great pita bread recipe can be found at

Easter Services at a More Reasonable Hour

Call to Wo

A time of silence. Then play Anthem Part 3 from the album, Powaqqatsi, (1988) (pictured at left) while showing six 20 second Good Friday images. When the music reaches the fanfare, show an Easter Day image. Then fade the music enough so that a reader can read Isaiah 65:17-25.

Call to Worship: King of Glory

Play King of Glory by Third Day found on their album, Carry Me Home (pictured at right) or on WOW 2001. For each verse, show an image of the crucifixion and for each chorus show an image of the resurrection. Show a resurrection image for the last verse and then as the choir on the CD begins to back the Third Day singer, fade the music and have somebody read the Psalm.

Call to Worship: Change
Found in Mucky Paws Volume 4 or in the April 2007 Mucky Paws archives (see my link above left).

Call to Worship Activity:
If you had an old wooden cross in the church for Good Friday, give everybody a streamer or coloured ribbon as they enter and ask them to decorate the cross before sitting down.

Kids: Butterflies and Flowers
Tell the Easter story using the cocoon and butterfly, seed and flower analogies. Have a dead branch at the front of the church and either have them make paper flowers or butterflies to decorate the branch with. This works very well as a congregational activity. Alternately have the kids give everyone in the congregation a tiny butterfly or flower sticker - people really run with this and wear them immediately putting them on lapels, collars, watch faces, spectacle frames etc etc.

Drama: What's Easter All About:
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109178, page 87 (pictured at left).
This drama goes with any of the readings.

Video Clip: Fantasia 2000
Show the Firebird Suite segment after the fire when everything greens up. In the clip below which I have embedded so you can see how it works. You could easily start at around anywhere from the 4 or5 or 6 minute mark depending on how much time you have and how much you want to show. 

Discussion: Fantasia
How does Easter bring new life to the world?

Story: Stephen's Egg
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 159 (pictured at right).

Story: Nikolai Church and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
This story can be found often and easily by googling.

Story: Easter
Found in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929, page 51 (pictured at left).

Listening Song: Early in the Morning
By David Meece on his album, Once in a Lifetime.

Listening Song: Libera
By Robert Prizeman on his album, Libera.

Prayer: Yes/No 

Found in the 21st March 2008 Mucky Paws archives (see my link above left)

Pass the Peace:
Give every one a balloon to blow up. Toss them, catch a new one and pass the peace using Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Response Activity:
In groups or individually get people to name their easter dreams for the world, for their church, for themselves and to use these as starters for a prayer time.

Poem: Risen
Also a great prayer and collect included on the same page.  Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 150. To order a copy of this excellent book email
Sermon Thought: Forgiveness has Risen from the Grave

Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year C by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2012, ISBN 9781921945083, page 64ff.

Words For Easter
Found in Before the Amen by Maren C Tirabassians Maria I. Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, page 78-81. 

Story Plus Other Stuff: Roxsanne Makes Good
Found in Wally the Dodgy Trolley and other Stories of Faith and Humour by Ian Johnson, Scripture Union Australia, Lidcombe, 2000, ISBN 0949720984, page 37.

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