What We’re Singing: Easter Sunday

What we’re singing at First Baptist Church of Berkeley this Sunday

Easter Sunday – “Christ is risen, Christ is risen, indeed!”

The service begins with recorded music and words for contemplation, the Matthew 28 telling of the resurrection story.

Hymns of Rejoicing:

“Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!”                                                                       (words: Brian Wren, 1986; tune: hymn to joy, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1824)

Stanza 1:                                                                                                                           Christ is risen! Shout Hosanna! Celebrate this day of days!                                    Christ is risen! Hush in wonder! All creation is amazed.                                         In the desert all-surrounding, see, a spreading tree has grown.                  Healing leaves of grace abounding bring a taste of love unknown.

“Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing!”                                                            (words: Cyril Alington, 1931 tune: gelobt sei gott, Melchior Vulpius, 1609)

Psalm 100 responsive reading, with sung response:                                         Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.                                                       (words and music by Rawn Harbor, 2006)

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:1–12 (Luke’s version of the resurrection story)

Hymn: “Because You Live, O Christ”                                                                             (words: Shirley Erena Murray, 1987; tune: vruechten, Dutch melody, 17th century)

Stanza 1:                                                                                                                              Because you live, O Christ, the garden of the world has come to flower;          the darkness of the tomb is flooded with your resurrection power.                 The stone has rolled away and death cannot imprison!                                           O sing this Easter Day, for Jesus Christ has risen!

Scripture Reading: John 20:1-18 (the Good News as recorded by John)

Hymn: “Woman, Weeping in the Garden”                                                          (words: Dan Damon, 1991; tune: kingdom, V. Earl Copes, 1959)

  1. Woman, weeping in the garden, who has pushed the stone aside?           Who has taken Jesus’ body; Jesus Christ, the crucified?
  1. Woman, waiting in the garden, after men have come and gone;                after angels give their witness, silently you watch the dawn.
  1. Woman, walking in the garden, Jesus takes you by surprise;                    when the gardener calls you, “Mary!” faith and joy meet in your eyes.
  1. Woman weeping in the garden, weep for joy, for you have seen              Jesus Christ, Messiah, risen; Christ, of whom the prophets dream.
  1. Woman, dancing from the garden, find the others and proclaim                Christ is risen as he promised; tell the world he knew your name!

Message – “An Easter People (Minister Sharon Allen, preaching)

Hymn: “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”                                                               (words: Samuel Medley, 1775; tune: duke street, attrib. John Hatton, 1793)

Time of Sharing and Prayer

Time of Offering

Hymn of Dedication: “He Lives”                                                                                        (words and music: Alfred H. Ackley, 1933)

Call to Communion: Mark 16:1-7 (the resurrection story as told by Mark)

Sharing the Bread and Cup

Hymn of Joy: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”                                                        (words: Charles Wesley, 1739; tune easter hymns, Lyra Davidica 1708)

Stanza 4:                                                                                                                                     Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!                                                         Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!                                                                                Made like Christ, like Christ we rise, Alleluia!                                                                 Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Easter Blessing:

Pastor: Behold, I tell you a mystery! We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised. For, like Christ, our earthly bodies shall put on immortality and the saying shall be fulfilled:

People: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O grave is your sting?”

Pastor: Thanks be to you, O God, who gives us the victory through Jesus the Christ. And as we say “Amen,” Eternal One, we proclaim for all time:

People: I know that my redeemer lives!

Pastor: Christ is risen!

ALL: Christ is risen, indeed! Amen!


FBC Berkeley worships at 10:00 am every Sunday in Crouch Classroom, Hobart Hall, on the ABSW campus. Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Hall (ABSW faculty) is the pastor. Come sing with us! We are a Welcoming and Affirming congregation for the LGBTQ community (www.fbcberkeley.org).

“It is Finished”

“It is Finished”, the final words of Jesus spoken from the cross just before his death, according to John’s gospel (19:30).  In verse 28 John quotes what he understands to be Jesus’ penultimate words “I am thirsty”, and he is the only gospel writer to include this quote.  Before this penultimate quote John has included a parenthetical comment “in order to fulfill the scripture.”  This parenthetical comment is often overlooked, but has been inserted by the gospel writer to point us to his larger meaning; lest we miss it!  With this inserted comment John is alluding to Psalm 69: 19-21.

19 You know the insults I receive,

And my shame and dishonor;

My foes are all known to you.

20 Insults have broken my heart,

So that I am in despair.

I looked for pity, but there was none;

And for comforters, but I found none.

21 They gave me poison for food,

And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

While two other gospels writers (Matthew & Mark) include the scene where the sponge is dipped in sour wine and lifted to Jesus on a stick for him to drink, John is the only one that highlights this event.  John initiates the description of the giving of sour wine to Jesus with a quote from Jesus, “I am thirsty”.  John concludes this short epic with our traditional language around communion “When Jesus had received the wine” followed by Jesus’ final words “It is finished”, and an ultimate narrative comment “Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Given the allusion to Psalm 69:19-21 coupled with the final breath of Jesus on the cross I would like to suggest that John has created a double entendre .  Jesus’ last words, according to John, certainly point to the last moments of Jesus’ life, but they also point to an extreme shift from the old ways of dealing with hatred and violence to a new way.  “It is finished” also speaks to the Psalm 69 passage.  After verse 21, Psalm 69 shifts into, what was at the time of the writing of this Psalm, the typical response to enemy attack and violence, mainly imprecations.  Note the language of verses 22-29:

22 Let their table be a trap for them,

A snare for their allies.

23 Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,

And make their loins tremble continually.

24 Pour out your indignation upon them,

And let your burning anger overtake them.

25 May their camp be a desolation;

Let no one live in their tents.

26 For they persecute those whom you have struck down,

And those whom you have wounded, they attack still more.

27 Add guilt to their guilt;

May they have no acquittal from you.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;

Let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

29 But I am lowly and in pain;

Let your salvation, O God, protect me.

In his telling of the crucifixion story, John, the last of the gospel writers, building off of the gospel stories that had come before his own, emphasized the insertion found in Luke’s telling, “Father forgive them ; for they do not know what they are doing”, (23:34)  by ending the reading of Psalm 69 at verse 21.

21 . . . and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

“It is finished”

In other words, no more!  We shall no longer meet violence with imprecation.  We shall no longer call down the wrath of God upon our enemies.  We shall no longer include in our lament the cry for God to pour indignation upon those who accuse and attack us.  John’s depiction of the death scene signals the end to the theology of retributive justice, i.e., an eye for an eye justice.

The death of Jesus on the cross, according to John, is a call to non-violent resistance against the evil of the world, a call to forgiveness, and a call to resurrection into a new way of living.  It is a call to restorative justice.

May we see, may we hear, may we practice.

LeAnn Snow Flesher, PhD

Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testament


Dr. Paul M. Martin, President and Professor of Pastoral Theology

I get so excited when the Season of Lent comes around each year. The Lenten Season is the doorway opening thoughts of introspection, preparation and renewal for Easter and the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Some of the best preaching I did as a pastor was during Lent, Good Friday and Easter. I love the hymns of Easter, especially those that open the door to renewal and hope. Hymns like “He Lives”, “He Arose”, “Because He Lives”, and “The Angel Rolled the Stone Away” to name a few. I am sure every Christian resonates with me on the power of this season as a renewal of ones faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Easter represents renewal and resurrection. Recently, I experienced renewal and resurrection as I participated in a marvelous experience on the beautiful campus of the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois where leaders of our denomination, seminaries, colleges, universities and caucuses gathered for a conversation about our life together in our great denomination.

Under the growing excitement of our denominations theme, “Transformed by the Spirit”, we were able to share stories together as we learned about each other, visioning together around mission and learning about our ministry contexts. We did some much needed community building as we listened to and learned about our concerns. We talked about deepening our connections and developing of possible partnerships and finally networking as we disseminated information about our missions and ministries. 

This became a Pentecostal moment for me as a dream of mine began to emerge. It is my dream that we connect with each other in new ways. Jesus reminded his disciples that if the Spirit was to visit and transform them then they had to be in the same place praying and on one accord. Being with my brothers and sisters in this dynamic experience proves to me that our denomination and its ministries are being used by God’s Holy Spirit in a new and vital way. A new wind (Holy Spirit) is blowing over our denomination opening new venues of communication and it is refreshing. It is a transforming moment. If I were to choose a text for this feeling I have, it is the following:

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for people to dwell together

in unity. It is like precious ointment upon the head that ran down

upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down to the skirts

of his garments. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that

descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord

 commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133 NKJV) 

This was a creative and renewing moment for all of us. We found out that we are being challenged to do a new thing for the Lord that has roots in old school experiences. We must be committed to the process of adaptive changes in our ministries that will prepare men and women for ministry in the 21st century. Key to this is the church being yoked in new and exciting ways with our denominational structures. Our common prayer then in light of how the Spirit of God is moving must be:

“Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me,

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me,

Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.”

(From: John 1:32)