EASTER SEASON PRAYER SERVICE

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1 EASTER SEASON PRAYER SERVICE OPENING MEDITATION: Today as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we begin our prayer service in darkness except for one lit candle. The Bible tells us that on the day Jesus was crucified there was darkness over the whole land from noon until three in the afternoon. At three o clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, my God, my God why have you forsaken me. Jesus at that moment felt that he had been defeated and that everything he had worked for had been wasted. Jesus even seems to blame God for all his misfortunes. Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and he gave up his spirit. Jesus died. But in Jesus there was life and his life was the light of all people. The light of Jesus shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that enlightens every person has come into the world and has spread throughout the world. And when Jesus appeared to his disciples for the first time after his resurrection, the first gift Jesus gave to them was the gift of peace. Thus the light of Christ that burns in our hearts will help us overcome any problems or difficulties that we might have in our own lives and Jesus will give us peace. {Students now light their candles } OPENING PRAYER Reader: Jesus, arise and give us your peace, a peace that the world does not know. Reader: Lead all your creation to the river of peace, refresh us, restore us, and give us your spirit. Reader: We stand before you as one body in Christ, give to us a spirit of justice. Reader: Let mercy and compassion flow from us like a never-ending stream. Reader: We lift up our hands to the God of all creation; bless us for all time. Leader: Father, we share in the light of your glory through your Son, the light of the world. Make this fire within us holy, and inflame us with new hope and peace. Purify our minds by this Easter celebration, and bring us one day to the feast of eternal light. Amen. 1

2 LITURGY OF THE WORD FIRST READING: A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians Think the same way that Christ Jesus did. Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. He gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven and on earth. And everyone will openly agree to the glory of God the Father Jesus Christ is Lord! PSALM Reader 1:So the women left the tomb quickly with great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Reader 2: Risen One, bringer of Joy, may we enjoy life, begin each day with enthusiasm, and become ever more aware of you. Reader 1: The women came to Jesus, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Reader 2: Risen One, draw us ever nearer to you. We embrace you and offer you our devotion. Reader 1: Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. But they would not believe her. Reader 2: Risen One, open our hearts to hear your voice. Take away our resistance to the surprising ways you choose to enter our lives. Reader 1: Some of the disciples went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. Reader 2: Risen One, you are the power that we need. Push back the rocks of our unhappiness and shove aside the boulders of our worry. Reader 1: Peter also ran to the tomb and he was amazed at what had happened for he saw the linen cloths by themselves. Reader 2: Risen One, we want to see everything for ourselves. But when we look with the eyes of faith, we too are amazed for what seems dead is filled with life. Reader 1: Jesus himself came near to the disciples and he walked along with them. Reader 2: Risen One, you walk with us on the road of sorrow. You fill us with the strength of your loving nearness. 2

3 SECOND READING GOSPEL READING: A Reading from the Gospel of John. On the evening of that same Sunday, Jesus suddenly appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy. Although Thomas was one of the disciples, he was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So they told him, We have seen the Lord! But Thomas said, First, I must touch the scars on his hands and his side. I won t believe unless I do this! A week later the disciples were together again and Jesus appeared to them. This time Thomas was with them and Jesus said to Thomas, Look at my hands and side. Stop doubting and have faith. Thomas replied, You are my Lord and my God! Jesus said, Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed! 3

4 PROFESSION OF FAITH SIDE A: We believe in God, who is love and who has given the earth to all people. SIDE B: We believe in Jesus Christ, who came to heal us, and to free us from all forms of oppression. SIDE A: We believe in the Spirit of God, who works in and through all who seek the truth. SIDE B: We believe in the community of faith, which is called to be at the service of all people. SIDE A: We believe in God s promise to destroy the power of sin in us all, and to establish the realm of justice and peace for all humankind. SIDE B: We do not believe in the right of the strongest, or the force of arms, or the power of oppression. SIDE A: We believe in human rights, in solidarity of all people, in the power of nonviolence. SIDE B: We do not believe in racism, in the power that comes from wealth and privilege, or in any established order that enslaves. SIDE A: We believe that all men and women are equally human; that order based on violence and injustice is not order. SIDE B: We do not believe that war and hunger are inevitable and peace unattainable. SIDE A: We believe in the beauty of simplicity, in love with open hands, in peace on earth. SIDE B: We do not believe that suffering need be in vain, that death is the end, that the injustices of our world is what God intended. ALL: But we dare to believe, always and in spite of everything, in God s power to bring about a new heaven and a new earth where justice and peace will flourish. {Blessing of the water and then students proceed to the bowl of water and make the sign of the cross.} 4

5 A LITANY OF RESURRECTION APPEARANCES Reader 1: O risen Lord, who in your first appearance to Mary was mistaken for the gardener Reader 2: Be present and show yourself to us in all our mistakes and uncertainties. Reader 1: O Risen Lord, who appeared to your dejected disciples on the road to Emmaus, and opened to them the scriptures so that their hearts burned within them Reader 2: Be present and set our hearts on fire with love for you. Reader 1: O Risen Lord, who gave to your distraught and distracted followers the assurance of healing and forgiveness Reader 2: Be present and bring together all Christians in peace and harmony. Reader 1: O Risen Lord, who mindful of the needs of your disciples prepared a meal by the shores of the Sea of Galilee Reader 2: Be present and make yourself known to us in all acts of hospitality and sharing. Reader 1: O Risen Lord, who in your final appearance on the Mount of Olives lifted up hands of blessing on all humankind Reader 2: Be present and grant that our prayers and praises today may be taken up to you on behalf of the whole world. THE SIGN OF PEACE PRESIDER: The peace of the Lord be with you always. ALL: And also with you. PRESIDER: As a visible expression of our renewed communion, let us give each other a sign of reconciliation and peace. 5

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