A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Prayers of the People: Son Rise ~ Easter Day Sunday '18 'Yr B

For Sunday, April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday, Year B, Readings: Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 
Mark 16:1-8

      Peter began to speak..."I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable..."[Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead...everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. [Acts 10:34-35]

     Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his mercy endures forever....On this day the LORD has acted and we will rejoice and be glad in it. [Psalm 118:1, 24]

     For I handed on to you as of first importance...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures... [1 Corinithians 15:3-4]

     As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. [Mark 16:5-6a]

        EASTER is here! Hallelujah!! Christ is Risen!!! Wherever you are on this planet whether bursting into Spring or slipping into Autumn, today our Salvation is assured through our faith in this Risen Lord of All. But what is it really all about, apart from one day – one church service? – of celebrating the Resurrection? Most of us will have participated in Easter celebrations many times so we are sure we know. I find myself, particularly this year, drawn to the words of Thomas Merton in his book The Sign of Jonas, "The grace of Easter is a great silence, an immense tranquility and a clean taste in your soul. It is the taste of heaven...a discovery of order above all order...a wine without intoxication, a joy that has no poison in it. Life without death..." Of course, there is always more to the story, but how do we discover it?
        There are four Gospel accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This year we hear from the Gospel of Mark, which generally feels to me as a newspaper account, light in detail and flourish with just the basics. He says that the “women fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them..." after being told by a young man in a white robe that Jesus had been raised and they didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid.  
        The drama seems a bit greater in Matthew who tells us there was an angel whose "appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow." He spoke to the women who then "left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy..." and Jesus met them.
       In Luke there were "two men in dazzling clothes" who said to the women "why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." The women told the apostles but those words "seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them."  
       John tells us that Mary Magdalene arrived first and then ran to "...Simon Peter and the other disciple...and said to them, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.'" It was some time after Peter and the "other disciple" looked in and saw the tomb empty before Mary had an encounter with "two angels in white" and was shortly after greeted by Jesus. 
        If you were asked to tell the story, which is closest to your memory? Listening to or reading different accounts of the same event can give us a fresh perspective and a new experience of the moment.
       Take some time this Easter season and read the Gospel accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Reflect on what surprises you and what questions arise. Wonder, and try to decide, if one account speaks to you more than another and why? Or perhaps you'll mix and match the Gospel writers' accounts to arrive at your own version, visualizing yourself in the time and place. Whatever you do, ask yourself: So what? What does it all mean for my life today, tomorrow, and beyond? What will I do - or stop doing - as a result of reflecting on Christ's Death and Resurrection? 
      Merton also says, in He is Risen, “Christ is the Lord of a history that moves. He not only holds the beginning and the end in his hands, but he is in history with us, walking ahead of us to where we are going. He is not always in the same place…True encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power that we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, resilience, an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation.” 
       I want to find that clean taste in my soul and that fresh joy, that creative transformation. I want to resurrect my faith and meet and be liberated by Christ beyond the tomb. While I must remember that the resurrection of Easter requires the Cross of Good Friday, with Christ moving with us and before us, our path, though not easy, will surely lead us into the eternal Easter of Salvation and life everlasting. 
                                                      He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!


Leader:  ~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, the earth-bound tomb is empty! You are raised to the right hand of God from the temporary bindings of human death. You redeemed our souls that we may accept Your gift of new life and join You in the joy and glory of eternal salvation.

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
RESPONSE:                  Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, Your Death and Resurrection fulfilled the Scriptures as the Sacred Victim of political murder, being feared most by those whose political power was merely temporal and time-limited. Help us strive to remind those who now hold earthly power in our World, in our Country and in our Community, that God shows no partiality and all who believe and do right are acceptable and forgiven through You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
                                                       Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, lavish Your healing grace and glory on all those who are ill in body, mind, or spirit, and on those who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
                                                       Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, by Your Sacrifice, mortal death has been vanquished and the ransom for sin has been paid for those we love, and we ourselves in time, who joyously enter perpetual life with You. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
                                                       Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
                                                       Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
~ Christ Jesus, Risen Lord of All, we give You great thanks for the priests of Your Church who, in teaching, care, and humility, walk with us and lead us in this life, toward the fullness of Your Salvation in the next. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
                                                       Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
The Celebrant adds:  Son of God, our Savior Christ, You are the Word with God from the Beginning, Who is Beloved of God, and through Whom God is brought to each of us. Release us from our self-imposed tombs of sin, that we may transcend mortal desires, be stronger in faith, and lift our souls to You. We ask through You, our Living Lord; the Power of the Holy Spirit, and the Enduring Grace of the Almighty, who together are our One God, forever and ever. Amen.


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