Easter Sunrise

This is the Easter Sunrise Service in the United Methodist Book of worship, starting on Page 370.  What is printed here is the first two sections of "The Easter Vigil Service". What is printed here is more resource than service. You will have to pick and choose or the service will last too long.  You will have to adapt it to your own people.


p. 371: The United Methodist Book of Worship


The leader addresses the people with these or similar words:

Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ our Lord.

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

On this most holy morning

in which Jesus Christ passed over from death to life,

we gather as the Church to watch and pray.

This is the Passover of Christ,

in which we share in Christ's victory over death.


God of life, through Jesus Christ you have bestowed upon the world the light of life. Sanctify this new fire, and grant that our hearts and minds may also be kindled with holy desire to shine forth with the brightness of Christ's that we may attain to the feast of everlasting light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The leader lights the paschal candle from the fire, saying:

The light of Christ rises in glory, overcoming the darkness of sin and death. The paschal candle is lifted so that all may see it, and the leader says: Christ is our light!

A procession then forms.


If candles have been given to members of the congregation, they may be lighted by others that have been lighted from the paschal candle. As the room fills, stationary candles in the sanctuary may be lighted.

As the congregation processes into the darkened sanctuary, the following or another appropriate hymn from UMH may be sung:

173 Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies


When the paschal candle is placed on a stand visible to the people, the ancient Proclamation (the Exsultet) follows. The stanzas may be divided among different readers.

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation around God's throne!

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!

Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, heavenly powers!

Sing, choirs of angels!

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!

Rejoice, 0 earth, in shining splendor,

radiant in the brightness of our King!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes for ever! R


Rejoice, 0 holy Church! Exult in glory!

The risen Savior shines upon you!

Let this place resound with joy,

echoing the mighty song of all God's people! R


It is truly right that we should praise you,

invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your Son, Jesus Christ.

for Christ has ransomed us with his blood,

and paid the debt of Adam's sin to deliver your faithful people. R


This our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain.

This the night when first you saved our forebears,

you freed the people of Israel from their slavery

and led them with dry feet through the sea. R


This the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This the night when Christians everywhere,

washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,

restored to grace and grow together in holiness. R


This the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death

and rose triumphant from the grave.

truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth,

we are reconciled to you! R


Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed,

A pillar of fire that glows to your honor.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven,

And continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of the night! R


May the Morning Star, which never sets, find this flame still burning.

Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,

And shed his peaceful light on all creation,


Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. R Amen.


The members of the congregation extinguish their candles. The lights in the church are turned on. The paschal candle remains burning, and it is lighted at all services Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost.



Let us hear the record of God's saving deeds in history, and pray that each of us may receive the fullness of this grace.

The number of readings may vary, but Exodus 14 and at least two other readings from the Old Testament should be used in addition to the New Testament readings.

Each reading may be introduced with the words given and followed by silence, a psalm or a hymn, and then a prayer.


With a word God creates order out of the primeval, watery chaos.

God's good creation reaches its pinnacle in humankind,the bearer of God's image.

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

767 Psalm 33

145 Morning Has Broken

Almighty God, you wonderfully created, yet more wonderfully restored the dignity of human nature. Grant that we may share the divine life of the One who shared our humanity, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


God causes the earth, overcome by sin, to be drowned in a watery deluge. Yet in Noah and his family, God saves a remnant and binds all together in a covenant with the sign of a rainbow.

Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

780 Psalm 46

110 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Almighty God of heaven and earth, you set in the clouds a rainbow to be a sign of your covenant with every living creature. Grant that we may be faithful stewards of the dominion you have entrusted to us on earth, according to your grace given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Abraham is tested when God commands him to sacrifice his own son, the embodiment of God's promise to him.Through God's own provision on the mountain, the promise holds.

Genesis 22:1-18

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

748 Psalm 16

116 The God of Abraham Praise

Gracious God of all believers, through Abraham's trust in your promise you made known your faithful love to countless numbers.

By the grace of Christ's sacrifice fulfill in your Church and in all creation the joy of your promise and new covenant. Amen.

467 Trust and Obey


The ruler who kept God's people in slavery pursues them to the Red Sea as they try to escape.

Despite a hopeless situation, God rescues God's people, leading them on dry land through the parted sea and closing the waters on their former masters. Miriam then sings a song about God's marvelous deliverance.

Exodus 14:10-31 (and 15:20-21 if canticle does not follow)

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

135 Canticle of Moses and Miriam

315 Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

134 0 Mary, Don't You Weep, Don't You Mourn

God our Savior, as once you delivered by the power of your mighty arm your chosen Israel through the waters of the sea, So now deliver your Church and all the peoples of the earth from bondage and oppression, to rejoice and serve you in freedom, through Jesus Christ our Deliverer. Amen.


The prophet Isaiah issues an invitation of abundant life to the hungry and thirsty.

Isaiah 55:1-11 (or 1-5 if canticle follows)

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

Canticle of Covenant Faithfulness 641 Fill My Cup, Lord

Creator of all things, you freely offer water to the thirsty and food to the hungry.

Refresh us by the water of baptism and feed us with the bread and wine of your table, it your Word may bear fruit in our lives, and bring us all to your heavenly banquet; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The prophet promises that God will renew God's people.God will replace their heart of stone with a new heart.

Ezekiel 36:24-28

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

777 Psalm 42

393 Spirit of the Living God

Prayer for a New Heart (UMH 392) or the following is said:

God of holiness and light, in the mystery of dying and rising with Christ you have established a new covenant of reconciliation. Cleanse our hearts and give a new spirit to all your people, that your saving grace may be made known to the whole world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The prophet Ezekiel sees a vision:

God will take the dry bones of God's people, reconnect them, breathe into them, and restore them to life.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Silence, then one of the following from UMH:

856 Psalm 143

420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God

Eternal God, you raised from the dead our Lord Jesus and by your Holy Spirit brought to life your Church. Breathe upon us again with your spirit and give new life to your people, through the same Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.


The apostle Paul reminds us that in Christ we have already died, drowned in baptism. Yet we who have died are raised to newness of life.

Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114 (UMH 835) and/or an alleluia UMH 78, 162, 186, 486) may be used.


Matthew 28:1-10 (Year A)

Mark 16:1-8 (Year B)

Luke 24:1-12 (Year C)


Jesus is raised while the guards shake.

Who will roll away the stone for us?

Why look for the living among the dead?