Easter 2C

Acts 5:27-32

Psalm 118:14-29

Revelation 1:4-8

John 20:19-31


You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


There are far too many wonderful Easter songs to include them all on one day so make the most of the full season and consider using songs you may not have sung on Easter Sunday. Come, you faithful, raise the strain (CH 414 / MP 103) and This joyful Eastertide (CH 415) would both be excellent well known hymns to open with. Great things (CCLI) would also work well as a general Easter season opening song as would King of Kings (CCLI) which also picks up some of the themes from the readings. One church, one voice (Satellite) is always a good opening song and could link to the doubts of Thomas in v3. Humbly in your sight (CH 496) could also link to the Gospel, both in the call for Jesus to be present, but also in the reference to the different senses. If you used any of the more contemporary hymns on Easter Sunday such as Christ is alive, and the universe must celebrate (CH 422), Away with gloom, away with doubt (CH 418), Earth, earth, awake; your praises sing (CH 420) or Christ was raised (Resound) it could also be worth considering repeating them to help them become part of your congregation’s repertoire.



Word


This is the day (CH 194 / MP 691 / PFAS 118K / link) begins with verses from later in the psalm but there is a version with v2 “Open to us the gates of God” and v3 “You are our God we will praise your name” which fits with the verses in the lectionary and would work well for Easter Sunday. Oh, set ye open unto me (CH 78) is a good metrical option while vv.1, 6-8 of Come, praise the Lord, for he is good (Grace / CCLI) sung to How can I keep from singing would give you the right verses. This is the day the Lord has made (PFAS 118D / Hope) looks tricky in 7/8 time but actually feels natural if learned by ear.



Response


You may have used the first few verses of O sons and daughters, let us sing (CH 431) last week and vv.1,5-8 pick up on the story in this week’s Gospel. There is also an alternative translation of this hymn, My daughters and my sons hear, tell (Hymnary), which can be sung to the same tune. There are various songs which explore when we have doubts such as How often we like Thomas (CH 432) and Have mercy (link) with its second verse of “Oh help my unbelief”. Listening God, you hear us when we cannot speak (STF 524) and Now the green blade riseth (CH 417) both reference the touch of Christ as important in times of trouble and are both set to the same tune. The other angle to look at would be songs which are more focused on faith such as True faith needs no defence (MV 139) and By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty), with the line “We’ll walk by faith and not by sight” particularly relevant. Listen to the words (Peace be with you) (Resound) is a really simple call and response using the words of Jesus in v21 and you could also link into this verse using a blessing song such as The peace of the earth be with you (CH 798) or May you find peace (Fischy).


The passage from Acts would link well to songs which encourage us to share the good news of Christ such as We have a gospel to proclaim (CH 363 / MP 728) and Sing to the world of Christ our sovereign Lord (CH 447). O praise the name (Anástasis) (CCLI) allows for some reflection on the events of Easter while focusing on praising the name of Jesus as the apostles had been ordered not to do. Tree of Life and awesome mystery (CH 401) also considers how we respond to the Easter story and also mentions the Holy Spirit to link to v32. You could also consider two short songs from Africa, Stand O stand firm (WGRG) which would speak into the apostles obeying God rather than human authority, or Murassala (WGRG / H 82) which is a call to be witnesses or ambassadors for Christ.


The reference to Jesus coming with the clouds in Revelation would link to songs such as Days of Elijah (MP 1012 / CCLI) and Lo, he comes with clouds descending (CH 477 / MP 424), a song commonly associated with Advent but which takes on a very different tone post-Easter, particularly in the “deeply wailing”. There is a credal feel to the opening of the reading with the statements of who Jesus is which could resonate with This I believe (The Creed) (CCLI) or Cornerstone (CCLI). You could link to the final verse with Alpha and Omega (CCLI), a song from Zimbabwe which has become popular as a worship song.



Sending


There are a couple of hymns which tie into the Gospel story which could work as closing songs. Christ has risen while earth slumbers (CH 430) can be sung to Blaenwern or Hyfrydol if the tune is unfamiliar while The risen Christ who walks on wounded feet (link) can be sung to Woodlands (you could also use this earlier in the service in which case the tune Upper Room is worth considering for a more reflective feel). As with the opening song, you could also use some general Easter hymns which speak into themes across all the readings such as To God be the glory (CH 512 / MP 708), The power of the cross (MP 1217 / CCLI / Getty), This is amazing grace (CCLI), or Christ is alive! Let Christians sing (CH 416).




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