Prayers of the People

Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor

Alleluia and alleluia, God of the resurrection. Christ is risen indeed. Every tear shall spring to joy, and every night shall be broken by dawn. The stone is rolled away. The tomb is empty, and indeed, your Christ is risen. Your gift to us we cannot understand: it is too lavish, too scandalous, too amazing. And yet we receive it with open arms. We know it as it comes to us, as it lives in us and around us. Every time a life is made new, a lost sheep is found, the blind have their eyes opened, we feel Christ. Every time justice prevails against oppression, righteousness defeats evil, forgiveness heals guilt, joy conquers despair, we touch Christ. In these and so many other ways we know the truth. Grace has triumphed over the grave, and love is alive! In this resurrection, we are resurrected. We, the body of Christ, are lifted to new life. And so we pray that you would unwrap the shroud  that confines us, God of the living, and we shall walk upon a different earth and under a different sky where former things are not remembered.

We pray, O God, for people in all corners of this globe who are still standing in Golgotha; who are still trapped in the pain, betrayal, and violence of Good Friday; for those who stand at the tomb of loss and struggle. Make your Easter story real, O God of new beginnings. Through us and others, shroud them in your abiding and redeeming love, that all might lift up voices across this earth to shout with joy and for peace that we shall sing grief and war no more. 

We can’t help but remember this day the birthplace of this story. We pray for those in Bethlehem, in Jerusalem, in Gaza and in the West Bank, in all of Palestine and all of Israel who are separated from loved ones, from homes they have known, from freedom they once lived, and from security, which has been swept away. We pray for those who hang on to hope and those who work for justice.

As you sent Christ to us, now send us into the world in his name. Let us not lock ourselves in the upper room, but let us go down into the streets and do as Christ calls, allowing his grace to overpower all doubt and his peace to overcome all fear. Let it be heard again and again: That which is broken shall be whole again. That which died shall live anew. Use us, we pray, to tell the story again, Risen One, and love us into loving more and better, that we, the risen body, might bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things—all of us all together.

May we walk this day and every day claiming in word and deed that Jesus Christ is risen. The stone is rolled away. The tomb is empty. Indeed, Jesus Christ is risen. To God alone, crucified and risen, be the glory and honor and praise. Alleluia and alleluia. And now hear us as we pray in one voice, saying, Our Father . . .

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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