Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017
Offered by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor
Holy One, we keep doing it over and over again—wondering where you’ve been taken. We look into empty tombs of grief and worry, of war and destruction, of poverty and suffering, and all we can see are the trappings of death strewn about, and we wonder where you’ve been taken. Then, at the most surprising moments, we turn around and find that you are here, right here in our midst, and with us, risen; that somehow you vanquish the power of death, overtake the misery of suffering, and break into the despair of doubt. Because you are alive in this world and the tomb is empty—and while trumpets do their share of announcing the promise and helping us to believe—the promise is also announced in very ordinary ways, by angels of all types, if only we would recognize you in those surprising people and places, too.
On this Easter Sunday, with signs of conflict increasing rather than decreasing, we claim you as our Risen Lord. In fact, we do even more than that. We cling to you, Risen Christ, and ask that you give us the strength of a sure belief in the power of your love, not only in our own individual lives, but in the power of your love to pulse through this world, to bring light to dark tombs of suffering, to change human hearts filled with hate, to cleanse our own human hearts, hearts that have become so weighed down that they can’t feel the joy of your presence here and now.
On this Easter Sunday, we pray for our loved ones, those for whom we worry, those who seem to have little faith, those for whom life is overwhelming. We pray for our children, and we pray for our parents. We give you thanks for our friends. And we pray for our church, this church and the church universal, that indeed we would protest evil everywhere and would bring a revolution of love everywhere. We give you thanks for our Jewish brothers and sisters of faith and their celebration of Passover and for the meal that links us forever.
Gracious God, when we can no longer hear the sound of the trumpets or the glorious singing ringing in our ears, when life threatens to weigh us down again, remind us of this day, and this place. Bring the tune of the hymns back to us. Break through those locked doors we create to protect us from our own fear and doubt and help us say, with Mary Magdalene, I have seen the Lord and he is risen and alive in this world. We pray all of this in the name of the Risen Christ, saying together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church