Celebrating Grace this Easter
Someone has aptly described Christians as "resurrection people." Every time we gather for worship, Christians are at their best when we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus. For Easter Sunday, worship planners tend to look for something "extra" to create an added sense of joy, new life, and freshness. Consider unveiling the new Celebrating Grace Hymnal on Easter Sunday 2012 (April 8). What better way to celebrate anew! Besides, isnâ€™t the resurrection of Jesus integral to Godâ€™s grace we celebrate in worship?
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Get the pastor on board as soon as possible.
2. Place your order by February 15 to ensure that you will receive shipment by late March. If you plan to place bookplates in the hymnals, allow time for that as well.
3. It is traditional in some churches for the congregation to place Easter lilies in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday as memorials or to honor someone special. For this year, suggest that instead of Easter lilies, Celebrating Grace Hymnals be placed in the sanctuary as a lasting memorial; the cost is about the same.
4. Be sure to include in the planning those who are responsible for sanctuary flowers each week. Suggest that rather than dozens of Easter lilies all over the sanctuary, one large floral arrangement be placed in the appropriate location(s).
5. For the Easter morning service, there are thirty "familiar and fresh" hymns and readings in the Eastertide section of the Hymnal (#193-223). (See below for highlights of the Eastertide section.)
6. There are also many supplemental music resources available online through Accents Signature Music (www.accentssignaturemusic.com).
7. Perhaps the Sunday following Easter, consider having a Hymnal Dedication service as part of the regular Sunday service, or as a special event.
Easter is always a special Sunday, but your congregation will experience greater anticipation and celebration by singing hymns they know along with some new expressions of resurrection praise from the Celebrating Grace Hymnal. Give them that opportunity.
Ten Highlights of the Eastertide Section
1. begins with scripture and reading across the page from "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and ends with "Crown Him with Many Crowns."
2. "In the Garden" is set in proper context across the page by the Johnâ€™s Gospel account of Mary and Jesus in the Garden.
3. two hymns return from previous hymnals â€“ "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" and "Come Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain."
4. an exciting new David Schwoebel tune for Timothy Dudley-Smithâ€™s hymn "Jesus, Prince and Savior." People will leave the sanctuary singing its memorable refrain.
5. a new singable tune for "Easter People, Raise Your Voices."
6. a new eight-measure, three-stanza song "King of Glory, Risen Lord."
7. "Look, Ye Saints! The Sight is Glorious" â€“ a bright, majestic hymn in a minor key that invites saints, sinners, and even Satan to "see the Man of Sorrows now!"
8. a new text â€“ "Scatter the darkness, break the gloom; sun, reveal an empty tombâ€¦" â€“ set to a dance-like French folk melody.
9. a joyful text â€“ "Christ is Risen! Shout Hosannas" â€“ paired with the gentle tune normally associated with the Christmas hymn, "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly."
10. a new harmonization of the Gaelic melody BUNESSAN for the singing of "Day of Arising."