Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015
Offered by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor
as Jesus lay in the tomb,
we were reminded that the world has fallen into darkness:
people marginalized and oppressed because of who you created them to be;
people killed because of their faith;
your children at war, and the fear of more to come;
violence in the streets and in our homes;
abuse and neglect doing untold harm;
poverty and hunger, privilege and excess;
unemployment and homelessness;
illness in body and in mind;
senseless tragedies and avoidable disasters;
loneliness and hopelessness;
grief and deep sorrow.
But you, O God,
you have shown us the light.
On this morning the sun shines
as at the dawn of creation,
because today is a new day.
We are new people.
The world has been born anew.
From an empty tomb
the good news of your love spreads throughout the world.
Our hope and trust in Christ’s resurrection
shatters our fears and overcomes our doubts.
Here in this place we can’t ignore your presence;
here in this place we are lifted up;
here in this place we are filled with your Spirit.
But in the days to come,
the sound of trumpets will no longer fill the air;
the “Hallelujah Chorus” will fade away;
these flowers will wither and die;
the long loneliness may well up inside us;
our fears and doubts may resurface;
our hope may begin to fade;
and we may once again find ourselves shrouded in darkness.
Gracious God, when that day comes, help us to remember.
Help us to remember the mystery of this day:
a hope beyond hope;
faith beyond reason;
life in the face of death;
light that pierces the darkness.
Loving God, if the light of Christ is to sustain us,
Easter cannot be a single day,
or even a season of our church year.
Make our Easter proclamation
like the air we breathe and the food we eat,
filling us up with your love,
giving us strength to love you and each other.
In the chaos and cacophony of life,
may we hear your still, small voice
reminding us that Christ is alive
and so are we.
Thank you, God, for the miracle of this day
and for the miracles of every day.
May the light of this morning
shine within us and from us
as we live our lives in you
and live into your kingdom
as it emerges in the world around us,
speaking hope against fear,
faith in the midst of doubt,
and the good news of your boundless love for us.
As we go from this holy place, O God,
may we not be silent.
Help us to finish the sentence.
And hear us now
as we pray for your kingdom
with the words the living Christ teaches us to pray.
Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church