Easter Family Service
St. Augustine's

2007 April 8

Key :

instructions for congregation
movements during service
prayers and readings
sections of the service

Other information :

There are some notes on our production of the service.

A rough plan of the church is available.

A note on copyright.



Reader We welcome you here in the name of Jesus. May we learn more about the importance of the Easter story in our lives today.

No collection will be taken during this service. There is a donation box at the back of the church for anyone who would like to give a donation.

If you would like the music for our hymns today, please put up your hand and we will bring it to you.

Toilets are between the church and the hall.

Thank you.

Our sentence for today is taken from the first Letter of Peter Chapter 3 verse 18 :

"Jesus Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty."

Jesus enters Jerusalem

Please stand to sing the hymn

"Ride on ! ride on in majesty !"

During this hymn twelve people proceed down centre aisle each carrying one of the eggs and place the eggs on the table in front of the altar; they return to the back down Hospital aisle.

1.   Ride on ! ride on in majesty !
  Hark ! all the tribes Hosanna cry !
  O Saviour meek, pursue Your road
  With palms and scattered garments strowed.

2.   Ride on ! ride on in majesty !
  In lowly pomp ride on to die :
  O Christ, Your triumphs now begin
  O'er captive death and conquered sin.

3.   Ride on ! ride on in majesty !
  The wingèd squadrons of the sky
  Look down with sad and wondering eyes
  To see the approaching Sacrifice.

4.   Ride on ! ride on in majesty !
  The last and fiercest strife is nigh :
  The Father on His sapphire throne
  Awaits His own anointed Son.

5.   Ride on ! ride on in majesty !
  In lowly pomp ride on to die;
  Bow Your meek head to mortal pain,
  Then take, O God, Your power, and reign.

Reader Please sit.

The chocolate Easter eggs that we usually give now weren't made until about 100 years ago, but Easter eggs have been around for a very long time. People used to decorate real eggs, which were either hard-boiled or whole egg shells with the centre blown out through a tiny hole.

These hollow eggs remind us of the empty tomb. Some thought the tomb where Jesus was laid after He had been killed was shaped like an egg.

But the whole point of an egg is to bring new life into the world; that's what it's for !

Chocolate eggs are given on Easter Sunday because they are a celebration of new life and remind us that not only did Jesus die on the cross, but He also came back to life and offers new life to those who follow Him.

During this service we are using these eggs here on the table ( point to table ) to emphasise some of the events of the Easter story.

The idea is adapted from "Resurrection Eggs" by Randal Lee Walti produced by Family Life.

Jesus comes to front down centre aisle, opens the first egg, and shows the donkey to the congregation.
Jesus This is a symbol to remind us that Jesus, the "King of Kings", rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as a sign that He comes as the "Prince of Peace".
Jesus goes behind the altar and places the donkey on the altar, then comes in front of table to meet the crowd.
Reader John Chapter 12 verses 12-15

The next day the large crowd that had come to the Passover Festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.

Crowd comes down centre aisle waving palm branches. )

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, shouting :

ALL Praise God ! God bless Him who comes in the name of the Lord ! God bless the King of Israel !
Crowd place palm branches under table and return to the back.
Jesus goes to back down Hospital aisle.
Reader Matthew Chapter 26 verses 14-16

( Judas comes down Hospital aisle and Chief Priest comes down Organ aisle; they meet in the centre. )

Then one of the twelve disciples - the one named Judas Iscariot - went to the Chief Priests, and asked,

Judas What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you ?
Chief Priest opens the second egg and, giving the coins to Judas, says :
Chief Priest Thirty pieces of silver.
Judas takes the coins and returns to back down centre aisle; Chief Priest returns to back down Organ aisle.
Reader From then on Judas was looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to the Chief Priests.

As we proceed through the Easter story we will sing several verses taken from different hymns to illustrate the story. We will use the hymn tune to "When I survey the wondrous cross"; please join in singing these verses but remain seated.

ALL sing ( sitting )
When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

The Final hours before Jesus's arrest.

During this dramatised reading, we invite each one of you to imagine you are one of the disciples.

Selected verses from Mark Chapter 14 and John Chapter 13 verses 26-27, 30.

Jesus eats the Passover meal with His disciples.

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Jesus' disciples asked Him :

ALL Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you ?
Reader Then Jesus sent two of them to get everything ready.
Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 come down centre aisle carrying a small table and white table cloth, which they place in front of the table in front of the altar. Disciple 1 opens the third egg and places the cup on the little table, then Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 stand one on each side of the little table facing the congregation.
Reader When it was evening, Jesus came with the disciples.

( Jesus and Judas come down centre aisle and stand behind the little table. )

While they were at the table eating,

( Jesus, Judas, Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 mime eating )

Jesus said to them -

Jesus I tell you that one of you will betray Me - one who is eating with Me.
Reader The disciples were upset and began to ask

( Judas, Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 look upset. )

ALL Surely, you don't mean me, do you ?
Jesus I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to the one I am talking about.
Reader So He took a piece of bread, and dipped it in the sauce, and gave it to Judas.

( Jesus and Judas mime this. )

Jesus ( to Judas ) Hurry and do what you must.
Reader Judas accepted the bread and went out at once.
Judas hurries to the back down centre aisle.
Reader Mark Chapter 14 verses 22-24

While they were eating, ( Jesus and disciples mime the actions ) Jesus took a piece of bread, said a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples.

Jesus Take it, this is My body.
Reader Then He took a cup ( Jesus picks up the cup ), gave thanks to God, and handed it to them.
Disciple 1 takes the cup, drinks from it and hands it to Disciple 2 who takes a drink and places the cup on the table.
Jesus This is My blood which is poured out for many, My blood which seals God's covenant.
ALL sing ( sitting )
Now Christ our Passover is slain,
The Lamb of God without a stain;
His flesh, the true unleavened bread,
For us is freely offerèd.
Disciple 1 takes the cup and going behind the altar places it on the altar;
Disciple 2 moves table and cloth to Hospital aisle;
Jesus moves to Hospital side.
Reader Matthew Chapter 26 verses 36-41, 45-50, 56b

Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane.

Jesus, Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 go by the congregation side of the altar rail and stand in front of lectern.
Jesus ( to congregation ) Sit here while I go over there ( pointing towards organ ) and pray.
Reader He took with Him Peter, James and John.
Jesus, Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 move along on congregation side of rail to the centre.
Reader Grief and anguish came over Him and He said to them -
Jesus The sorrow in My heart is so great that it almost crushes Me. Stay here and keep watch with Me.
Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 sit down, Jesus moves nearer the organ.
Reader Jesus went a little further on, threw Himself face downward on the ground and prayed :
Jesus kneels.
Jesus My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from Me ! But let it be as You, not I, would have it.
Disciple 2 quietly gets up opens the fourth egg, shows the praying hands to the congregation, goes behind the altar, places the hands on the altar and returns to sit down next to Disciple 1.

Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 pretend to fall asleep.

Reader Then Jesus returned to the three disciples and found them asleep.
Jesus comes back to Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 who rub their eyes and try to stay awake;
Crowd, Judas, and Chief Priest assemble at the back of the church.
Jesus How is it that you were not able to keep watch with Me for even one hour ? Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 go back to sleep.
Reader Twice more Jesus went away and prayed.
( Jesus returns to His praying position. )
The third time Jesus returned to His disciples and said :
Jesus Are you still sleeping and resting ?

Look ! ( points to the crowd at the back of the church; Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 look to the back of the church. ) The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinners. Get up, ( Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 jump up. ) let us go. Look - here is the man who is betraying me !

Judas and Chief Priest and crowd come down centre aisle noisily.
Reader Jesus was still speaking when Judas arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs sent by the Chief Priests and the elders. Judas had arranged a sign with them : "The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him !"

Judas went straight to Jesus.

Judas Peace be with You, Teacher !
Reader and kissed Him.
Judas kisses Jesus.
Jesus Be quick about it, friend !
Reader Then they came up, arrested Jesus, ( Crowd 1 and Crowd 2 arrest Jesus, grab hold of an arm and hold Him tight ) Then all the disciples left Him and ran away.
Disciple 1 and Disciple 2 run down different side aisles.

Crowd 1 and Crowd 2 hustle Jesus down centre aisle with crowd and Judas and Chief Priest following noisily behind.


The trial of Jesus.

Jesus was brought to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where they tried Him, then He was taken to Pilate, the Roman Governor, who could find nothing wrong with Him. But the crowd was so noisy yelling out "Crucify Him !" that Pilate was afraid a riot might break out, so he had Jesus whipped.

Soldier 1 comes down centre aisle, opens the fifth egg, shows the whip to the congregation, goes behind the altar and places the whip on the altar, then returns to seat.
ALL sing ( sitting )
For us to wicked men betrayed,
Scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
He bore the shameful Cross and death;
For us at length gave up His breath.
Reader Mark Chapter 15 verses 16-20.

Then soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor's palace, and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on His head. Then they began to salute Him :

ALL Long live the King of the Jews !
Reader They beat Him over the head with a stick, spat on Him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to Him.

When they had finished making fun of Him, they took off the purple robe, and put His own clothes back on Him.

Then they took Him out to be crucified.

Soldier 2 comes down centre aisle, opens the sixth egg, shows the crown of thorns to the congregation, goes behind the altar and places the crown on the altar, then returns to seat.
ALL sing ( sitting )
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingling down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown ?

The crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Matthew 27 33-35a.

They came to a place called Golgotha, which means "The Place of the Skull".

There they offered Jesus wine mixed with a bitter substance; but after tasting it, He would not drink it.

They crucified Him.

Soldier 3 comes down centre aisle, opens the seventh egg, shows the nails to the congregation, goes behind the altar and places the nails on the altar, then returns to seat.
ALL sing ( sitting )
How fast His hands and feet are nailed;
His throat with parching thirst is dried;
His failing eyes are dimmed with blood :
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.
Reader Matthew 27 verse 35b.

- and then divided His clothes among them by throwing dice.

Soldier 4 comes down centre aisle, opens the eighth egg, shows the dice to the congregation, goes behind the altar and places the dice on the altar, then returns to seat.
Reader Luke Chapter 23 verses 44-47.

It was about twelve o'clock when the sun stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country until three o'clock; and the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father ! In Your hands I place my spirit !". He said this and died.

The army officer saw what had happened, and he praised God, saying, "Certainly He was a good man !"

John Chapter 19 verses 31a, 32-34

Then the Jewish authorities asked Pilate to allow them to break the legs of the men who had been crucified, and to take the bodies down from the crosses.

So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and then the other man who had been crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, plunged his spear into Jesus' side, and at once blood and water poured out.

Soldier 5 comes down centre aisle, opens the ninth egg, shows the spear to the congregation, goes behind the altar and places the spear on the altar, then returns to seat.
ALL sing ( sitting )
There whilst He hung, His sacred side
By soldier's spear was opened wide,
To cleanse us in the precious flood
Of water mingled with His blood.
Reader Adapted from Matthew 27 verses 57-61.

The burial of Jesus.

When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph and he also was a disciple of Jesus. He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph.

( Joseph and helper come down centre aisle;
Mary 1 and Mary 2 follow down Hospital side and watch all that Joseph and helper do.

So Joseph took it,

( Joseph and helper mime taking body from cross, place it on floor.

Joseph opens the tenth egg, shows linen to congregation, mimes wrapping the body in the linen. )

wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own tomb.

( Joseph and helper mime carrying the body to behind the altar ( Hospital side ) and placing it in the tomb ( behind the altar ).
Joseph places linen on altar. )

Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb -

( Joseph and helper mime rolling a large stone in front of the tomb;
Helper opens the eleventh egg, shows the stone to the congregation, and places it on the altar. )

- and went away.

( Joseph and helper return to back. )

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there facing the tomb.

Mary 1 and Mary 2 sit looking at the grave.
ALL sing ( sitting )
His tomb of late the threefold guard
Of watch and stone and seal has barred;
But now, in pomp and triumph high,
He comes from death to victory.
Mary 1 and Mary 2 go to back;
Angel moves inconspicuously to a position near the lectern.
Reader Matthew Chapter 28 verses 1-9.

The Resurrection.

After the Sabbath, as Sunday morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
( Mary 1 and Mary 2 come down centre aisle. )

Suddenly there was a violent earthquake;
( Mary 1 and Mary 2 stagger and clutch hold of each other. )

an angel of the Lord came down from heaven
( Angel hurries across to grave. )

and rolled the stone away,
( Angel mimes rolling stone away. )

and stood by the grave.
( Angel stands by grave,
Mary 1 and Mary 2 creep nearer. )

His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

The angel spoke to the women :

Angel You must not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has been raised, just as He said.

Come here and see the place where He was lying.

Mary 1 and Mary 2 go and look in the empty tomb.
Mary 1 opens the twelfth egg, and shows Mary 2 and the congregation the empty egg. Mary 2 puts half the egg on the altar whilst Mary 1 puts the other half on the table, both halves placed so the congregation can see the empty inside.
Angel Go quickly now, and tell His disciples, 'He has been raised from death, and now He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see Him !' Remember what I have told you.
Reader So they left the tomb in a hurry, afraid and yet filled with joy, and ran to tell the disciples.
Mary 1 and Mary 2 run to centre front with joyful faces. Angel returns to organ.
Mary 1 and Mary 2 He is risen ! He is risen !
ALL ( standing ) He is risen indeed !
Organist goes straight into hymn "Jesus Christ is risen today";
Mary 1 returns to her seat; Reader returns to seat. During the hymn, Preacher comes to lectern with bag of coins.

1.   Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia !
  Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia !
  Who did once, upon the Cross, Alleluia !
  Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia !

2.   Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia !
  Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia !
  Who endured the Cross and grave, Alleluia !
  Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia !

3.   But the pains that He endured, Alleluia !
  Our salvation have procured, Alleluia !
  Now above the sky He's King, Alleluia !
  Where the angels ever sing "Alleluia !"

Reader Please sit for

the message

"If only"

Preacher Message
At the end of the message the bag of coins is placed on the altar.
Reader Please stand for the hymn

"Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord".

During this hymn the pray-ers come to the lectern.

Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Reader Please sit or kneel for the prayers followed by the singing of the Lord's Prayer.
Pray-er 1 Thank You, Lord Jesus, for offering Yourself as a sacrifice for us.

Teach us to understand more fully what this means.

Show us how to come to You for forgiveness and love.

Receive us into Your loving arms.


Pray-er 2 Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the wonder of Your risen life.

And as we celebrate this victory today, may we, too, celebrate the joy of new life found in You.


Pray-er 3 We pray for all who are sick, lonely, depressed or sorrowful, asking You Jesus to heal, comfort and strengthen them.


Organist plays introduction to the Lord's Prayer.
ALL sing Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
in earth, as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil,
for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and for ever.
Reader Please stand for the final hymn

"Low in the grave He lay".

During the hymn, pray-ers return to their seats.
1.   Low in the grave He lay,
  Jesus my Saviour,
  Waiting the coming day,
  Jesus, my Lord :

Chorus :
  Up from the grave He arose,
  With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
  He arose a victor from the dark domain,
  And He lives for ever with His saints to reign :
  He arose ! He arose ! Alleluia ! Christ arose !

2.   Vainly they watch His bed,
  Jesus my Saviour;
  Vainly they seal the dead,
  Jesus, my Lord :


3.   Death cannot keep his prey,
  Jesus my Saviour;
  He tore the bars away,
  Jesus my Lord :


Reader Please remain standing for the Blessing.