Weekly Reflection: Easter Sunday 2011

Here’s an early Easter gift from Bruce Laverman:

Lectionary Sources: Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

Theme: Who is the Jesus you’re looking for today?

Message: “Who Are You Looking For?”

Jesus asks Mary Magdalene the question in the garden cemetery on the morning of His resurrection.

Jesus encounters us today in the midst of our grief with the same question:  “Who is it you are looking for?”

Jesus calls Mary by her name, and he does the same for each of us this morning.  Are we looking for Him?  Do we recognize Him when he appears to us?

Quote(s):

“What reason have atheists for saying that we cannot rise again?  Which is the more difficult, to be born, or to rise again?  That which has never been, should be, or that which has been, should be again?  Is it more difficult to come into being than to return to it?” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, XXIV)

“Bring us, O Lord, at our last awakening, into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house where shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; No fears nor hopes, but one equal eternity in the habitations of your glory and dominion, world without end.”  (John Donne (1573-1631)

Music: “Up From the Grave He Arose,” “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “Alleluia, Alleluia”

Prayers:

Opening Prayer

We thank you, our Father in Heaven, that today is not only a new day, but also a unique day of worship and rest, a day set aside by your commandment centuries ago when your people were wandering in the desert.  And we thank you for the new meaning given to this day by the resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, from the dead.  May your word and Spirit empower us now to  celebrate this day with new life and hope.  Amen

Prayer of Confession:

Pastor: If at times we deny you, God forgive.  When the risks of discipleship are high, and we are nowhere to be found…

People: God, forgive us.

Pastor: When we wash our hands of responsibility…

People: God, forgive us

Pastor: When we cast our lot with powerful oppressors and seek to buy freedom with silver…

People: God, forgive us

Pastor: When fear keeps us from witnessing to your truth, and prejudice keeps us from obeying it…

People: God, forgive us

Pastor: In the bright light of Easter morning, O God, our sin is exposed, and your grace is revealed in your risen Son, our Lord

People: Tender God, raise us in your love so that, with joy we may witness to your awesome deeds, in the name of Jesus, the risen Christ!  Amen

Assurance of Pardon:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefined, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.  (I Peter 1:3-4)

Intercessory:

Today may the risen Lord appear to those who are imprisoned, to those who mourn, to those who have been forgotten, to the weary travelers, to the homeless, to the oppressed, to the world’s fugitives, to the lost…and may they all come to see and know the risen Lord and be raised to new life in the power of His name.  Amen

Offertory:

O Risen Christ, our Savior and Lord, receive these gifts as a prayer that the good news of your life, death and resurrection may be spread in our community and around the world.

Benediction: As Jesus said to the twelve disciples after his resurrection, he says also to us: “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  (John 20:21)

(Excerpts from Leroy Koopman, Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WI 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 x 2469)

 

 

avatar About Bruce Laverman

Bruce is a retired pastor and former Director of Evangelism in the Reformed Church in America now living in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the RCA's representative to Evangelism Connections and serves as Managing Editor of this Web site.

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