April 15, 2007
The days that followed the first Easter contained a wild array of experiences and thoughts. One minute the disciples were talking with Jesus, the next they were facing the doubts of Thomas. One minute they were asking their own questions, the next they were answering those of the authorities who were looking for the body of Jesus.
It was, quite possibly, the most precarious period of time for the disciples - the world they knew had changed overnight. The entire cosmos had been touched.
Some 2,000 years later we still seek to understand the mystery and the glory of Easter, of Jesus’ Resurrection, we seek to have faith and keep faith, to live in the resurrection life of Jesus.
Yet the world looks as if it is holding tightly to the old way of death and sin: Media personalities use their tongues as swords; Cancer doesn’t take its medicine; family relationships run afoul.
As we come to worship, to prayer we do so as people kneeling, living, standing, in two worlds - the world of Easter and the world that knows not Easter.
Let us wonder, marvel and adore God. Let us also pray for our world that the glory of Christ might be revealed that it may be set free.
As we come to pray, we want to especially remember and pray for _M.M._, _F.M._, and others who face cancer. We want to pray for the Church around the world and our brothers and sisters in Christ in our backyard.
We’re going to sing once again and as we do, if you’d like to pray at the altar, please come.
At the end of the Pastoral prayer, we will say the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, and we’ll use the phrase, “forgive us our sins.” Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord.
Holy, Holy, Holy, God Almighty - The earth and heavens are full of your glory. From setting the sun in its place and hanging to moon to light the night sky, to rolling the stone away from the face of the tomb of Jesus - your glory is revealed in all the world. We lift our voices to glorify you Father Almighty, we worship you Jesus the Son, we honor you Spirit of Adoption.
With hearts full of wonder we join with the disciples in gathering together on the first day of the week to remember and celebrate your resurrection, O Jesus. We rejoice in your victory over the grave, in your triumph over evil and sin. Our minds work to know the fullness of your suffering, death and resurrection. Further still we’ve been told that when we trust in you, when we’ve been united to you through faith and baptism that we enter with you into the mystery of your death and resurrection. Open the eyes of our hearts that we may behold the wonder of life - the communion we share with You, and the joy that is ours through Jesus.
Through Your holy word, Father, we heard Jesus new command - that though we would not see Him, we are to love as He has loved us.
The cross is a standard reminder of the greatness of his love. Jesus did not rebuke those who cursed him, but prayed for their forgiveness, such love presents to us a challenge. Apart from His Spirit, our capacity for love is not that of Jesus’. Many of our relationships have been hurt because of things we have said or failed to say. Forgive us, for failing to love fully. Pour out your Spirit anew in our hearts, that we may love as you have made us to do.
Grant to us and to your church, the capacity to be a city on the hill that loves and gives its life for the sake of others, for the world around us.
Help us to hear the need of the world - to see that the world, and many of our neighbors, friends and family members, are locked in a spiritual prison. Their problems, which are expressed in great variety, need your forgiving and life giving power.
Deliver unto those in real prisons the sense that they are not alone, or forgotten. As they bow their heads for mercy we know that in you they find a welcoming embrace. Deliver unto our society and unto your church, the joy of restoration. Deliver us from suspicion, revenge, and holding for eternity a persons transgressions against them.
To children you grant the beauty of faith, the ability to dream, anticipate and accept your profound love - you blessed the children when they came to you.
We pray for the children of our world. There are many dangers and snares set for them. We pray for kids who live in homes filled with chaos - bring order and peace to the place they live. Continue to grant to children great and weighty dreams. May their eyes ever be filled with faith and their hearts overflow with love.
We pray for those who are sick among us
We pray for those who serve your cause around the world . . . We especially think of J. and L. S.. We lift them to you and ask that you would be with them in the birth of their new baby.
Thank you Father, for hearing our prayers -
Grant to us your Spirit, that our prayer may not end.
Hear us as we pray with one voice the prayer Jesus taught his disciples
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day, our daily bread, and
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For Yours is the kingdom, power and the glory, now and forever. Amen. Amen.