a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Easter confession

All: We come running, looking for you, Risen Christ,
but you are not where we expect you to be.
As always, you are to be found among the living—
those living at the edge, those living with uncertainty,
those living in ways we cannot imagine and may not approve.
We come running, our hands full of things and our minds full of self-reliance,
only to find that you have been here already,
you have rolled away the stone and called us to trust your word.

One: If this good news is true, it means everything is different now.
We confess that our excitement is a little bit nervous—
it’s hard for us not to be in control.

All: Today as we peer once again into your empty tomb,
remind us of all you have told us, and then guide our feet to follow.
Fill the empty tombs of our hearts with your love that cannot be contained.
Breathe new life into us, into your church, into your world,
and overcome our fear of change so that we too may be found among the living.
Turn our expectations upside down,
and lead us into the new and different world you are creating, even now, even here.
Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Easter communion: at this table, still you work

Invitation

Jesus said “I am the gate, and you will come in and go out and find pasture.”
At this table, Christ opens the door for all people, calling us by name and inviting us to be nourished.
At this table, it does not matter if we have denied, betrayed, forgotten, or turned away—Christ bids us come.
At this table, we do not need to understand, we only need to be open to love.
At this table, we do not need to be Presbyterian, to all think or believe the same things—all we need is to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us to enter and be fed.
At this table, we are filled with the good gifts of God so that we can go out and feed others.
At this table, Christ is the host, and each one of us is a treasured guest.
So come, for you are invited to come in and go out and be fed.
Prayer

The Lord be with you,
and also with you!

Lift up your hearts!
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Let us pray together:
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, Creator of the universe,
for you worked in darkness to bring all life into being,
and to bring new life through Christ your Son.
Out of that darkness you bring marvelous light, again and again.
When we shield our eyes, unwilling to see what you are doing, still you work.
When we shut the doors, afraid to step into your new world, still you work.
When we deny and betray, with words and with actions, still you work.
And so we give you thanks, O God,
that your love does not depend on our faithfulness,
that your saving grace does not depend on our worthiness.
You are the breath of life and the light of the world,
giver of every good gift.
As we come to your table of grace, filled with your bounty,
we cannot forget the emptiness that plagues so many bellies,
the hunger of our neighbors near and far.
We cannot forget the rawness of your earth,
exploited for our gain and groaning under our weight.
We cannot forget the world at war—in Syria, in the Congo, in the streets of Chicago.
We cannot forget the world preparing for war, and we beg for peace in North Korea and Ukraine.
We cannot forget those who suffer at the hands of those who should love them.
We cannot forget those who feel trapped in the tomb, with no hope of life ahead.
We pray that you would come quickly, Lord, with good news for this troubled world.
Come quickly, Lord, with your spirit of justice and peace.
As you rose in darkness to bring about a new thing,
rise again in our darkness, bringing light that dispels the shadows of despair.
As we come to your table of grace,
we hear again your call to be made one,
and to show the world your love in our every action and every word.
Send your Spirit again to this place,
that just as many grains become one bread and many grapes become one cup,
we who are many may become one with you and with your people in every time and place.
May this feast nourish us for your kingdom,
and may your kingdom come here and now.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ,
who is victorious over death and who calls us by name,
and who taught us to pray together, Our Father…

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Sunday’s Coming: EASTER!

Okay, so many of us are covered in snow. But still–Easter is coming! Like, really soon.

And before that, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Do you have plans? Worship services every day, or just one or two days? Do you do an Easter Vigil?

What kind of liturgy will you use this week? Footwashing? Communion? Stripping the Sanctuary? Sunrise?

Are you planning to stick to your congregation’s traditions and do what you did last year, or write something new?

We’re here, ready to brainstorm, commiserate, plot, and create with you!

Easter day communion: a stop at the table

Invitation to the Table

As we go into the world on this Easter Day,
we first stop here at the table of our risen Lord.
We were just here a few nights ago,
remembering how Jesus shared a meal with his disciples before he was arrested,
but he promises to meet us here again and again and again.
This is the table of our risen Lord,
the table where we remember how he gave of himself for us,
the table where we share the great feast of earth and heaven even now,
the table where we can expect to meet Jesus.

[Read more…]

illumination: the tombs of our mind

Holy God,
remove the stones that block the portals of our minds…
shine your light so that it may take over the darkness within…
and fill our thoughts with your perfect vision for creation
so we may go, and tell, and be, and do.
Amen.

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

CTW: share the mystery & wonder

The sun had just risen from behind the horizon…
the world was quiet, but for the chirping birds and buzzing insects…
the three women walked slowly to the tomb
only to quickly leave with shocking news they never expected to receive:

JESUS IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

Let’s share in the mystery and wonder of those words…
let’s allow our hearts to ponder and our minds to reflect…
and let’s celebrate the glory of God, together!

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Easter prayer: joy comes in the morning

Weeping comes for a night,
but joy comes in the morning, O God of power and might.

Death has been defeated
and we shout Alleluia!

Let all that we do today be a prayer of praise.

For many of us,
it is an Easter just like the others,
with Easter bonnets and Sunday best,
with the ringing of bells and hymns of joy,
with the preparing of meals and gathering around tables and hunting for eggs…

But let this be an Easter like no other.
Let us see and hear with resurrection eyes and ears.

Let us discern signs of new life in the usual places—a new baby, the beauty of nature;
and in unusual places… who knows where we might find you if we but look?

It is daunting to be resurrection people
even as we read and watch the news—
news of continued violence, poverty, suffering and despair.
We drink in these stories with our morning coffee, day after day,
and wonder where the Easter’s gone.

One year ago we celebrated your resurrection,
and it seems little has changed in our world since then—
Easter seems an idle tale in the wake of
lives destroyed by war, children abused, a creation spoiled,
and endless bickering among our leaders—
too much hand-wringing and too little willingness to do the difficult things.

Close to home, we know loved ones
who have felt the sting of death in their families;
people who struggle to survive the loss of a job,
people entombed by depression or a crippling illness.

Yes, resurrection eyes are not blind to pain.
Resurrection ears are not deaf to cries of suffering.

But resurrection people see your goodness
that outlasts and overpowers any darkness
we can experience or concoct.

Easter is the climax of the story, but not the end.
You alone can roll away the stone,
but we are called
to run, and tell:
“We have seen the Lord!
Come and follow! Believe, and live!”

If we don’t, who will?
Resurrect us, O God of new life—resurrect us from our complacency and fear.
You have the power to do it.

Submitted by MaryAnn McKibben Dana, Idylwood Presbyterian Church, Falls Church, VA.

confession: fear of “uns”

God of new life…
too often, we we seem to be controlled by our fear of “uns”;
fear of the unexpected…the unknown…the uninhibited.
Sometimes, like the magi from the East,
we respond to our fear by taking an alternative path,
because that really is the best plan.
And sometimes, like Mary, Mary, and Salome,
we respond by running away as fast as we can,
not saying a word to anyone…
even when what we’re afraid of is your life-changing good news.
Give us the wisdom and the courage to know
how to respond to our fears…
and more importantly, to your renewing presence…
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Easter prayer: we go to the tomb

We go to your tomb, O Christ,
expecting to be met by the cold hardness of stone,
sealing the death of hope.
Instead, we find that the stone has been rolled away
and you are not there!
Help us to encounter your risen presence everywhere we go
and live in the joy of Easter morn each and every day,
through Christ our risen Lord.
Alleluia! Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, New York, and Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

confession: when we ___…

“A servant woman saw Peter sitting in the firelight. She stared at him and said, ‘This man was with Jesus too.’ But Peter denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I don’t know him!’” Luke 22:56-57

When we deny you, Christ, forgive us.

“All his disciples left Jesus and ran away.” Mark 14:50

When the risks of following you are high, and we are nowhere to be found, Christ, forgive us.

“Pilate took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I’m innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. Then he handed Jesus over to be crucified.” Matthew 27:24, 26

When we wash our hands of responsibility, Christ, forgive us.

“Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I turn Jesus over to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 26:14-15

When we side with powerful oppressors and seek to buy freedom, Christ, forgive us.

“When the women returned from the empty tomb, they reported everything to the Eleven and all the others. Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women.” Luke 24:9, 11

When fear keeps us from witnessing to your truth, or prejudice keeps us from believing it, Christ, forgive us.

(Silent prayer)

Tender God, raise us in your love so that, with joy, we may witness to the good news of Easter, in the name of Jesus the Risen One. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Daniel Hayward, Ingleside-Newington Pastoral Charge, South Stormont, Ontario, The United Church of Canada, adapted from a prayer in The United Church of Canada worship resource Celebrate God’s Presence.

 

Aside/idea from your LiturgyLink admins: this would be a really interesting prayer to “build up” throughout Triduum–the first to sections on Maundy Thursday, add the next two on Good Friday, and then add the final sections at the Easter Vigil or on Easter morning…