Sunday, April 23, 2000
Offered by John Wilkinson, Associate Pastor
How could we sing resurrection this day, eternal God? How could we sing it and pray it and act it? How could we live for the promise of the empty tomb? How could we gather with the women on that first morning, with the terrified disciples? How could we gather with the church over decades and centuries and millennia? For that is what you have called us to do, sing resurrection. We have waited and watched and lived through the darkness of the night. And now morning comes, the stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty. And though with words never adequate, we would sing and pray and gather together in this resurrection community, with Christians around the world, sharing, simply, the good news that Christ is risen.
And as we share that good news this day, gracious God, we would be mindful of corners of the world where resurrection’s whisper is faint. We know fighting and civil unrest circle the globe, and so this day we would lift up prayers for peace and claim our calling to be peacemakers. We know there is famine, unimaginable famine, and so this day, we would lift up prayers for those who are hungry, particularly young bellies without food, and claim our calling to multiply loaves and fishes until all are fed. We know the earth our home aches from abuse, and so this day we claim our calling to be stewards of the creation which you so trustingly place in our care. We know that there are shadows, shadows that sometimes make us want to tremble—shadows called Vietnam, Oklahoma City, Columbine.
And yet joy comes in the morning, loving God, and so grant us the courage to proclaim, even with the faintest whisper, of resurrection and new life.
And in that triangle whose difficult angles are Miami and Havana and Washington, we pray for grown-ups, that they may have the spirit of discernment, and we pray for that little boy caught in the middle, and for little girls and little boys everywhere, whose day this is, whose very lives testify to the promise of resurrection, and whose neighborhoods must be filled with safe places to play, arms to embrace and friends to care for them.
We lift up those whose bodies and spirits ache this day, from the pain of disease, from addiction on loneliness or anxiety. This resurrection day is their day. We lift up those facing cancer, those facing HIV and AIDS, those facing depression. Help them to know, and all those who love them and care for them, that though they walk through the valley of darkness, that the light of the empty tomb is theirs now and forever.
We pray for the church, the church of Christ in every age. As it gathers in many places and forms this morning, eternal God, we pray for its unity, for its call to be caring and compassionate, for its call to serve those in need, for its call to move beyond differences into the fullness of this morning, that the news it proclaims might be good and hopeful, that the communities it builds might be open-hearted and vibrant, that the ministry it undertakes might reflect transformation, the transformation of a stone rolled away and the joy of this good day.
And so meet us on this good day, gracious God. In your living persuade us to rejoice. In your suffering, vindicate the love which saves. Call us by name and meet us with gentleness and resolution, that we might sing resurrection this day and every day, for he who was dead is not dead, but is risen, and our joy comes with the morning. And hear us now as with voices joined with the voices of the resurrection community gathered over time and space, in that great city, we share the prayer of the risen one taught to his friends, saying . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church