After that last supper, after the disciples have deserted and one of them has betrayed all that he once believed to be true, after the one they had been following died the most horrible death one might have imagined then, it will be Sunday.
It will be Easter.
It’s what happens after — but it can’t come without those things happening. It doesn’t come without the hope and expectation of the procession into Jerusalem or the number of ways that the followers of this would-be Christ will screw up over the past week. All of that stuff happens first.
And then, there is resurrection.
Something changes — but perhaps not everything. There will still be the memory of the death and worry over what has come to pass in the past few weeks. Will it change everything? Will it change nothing Will we go on living as we always have? These seem to be the central questions of Easter. As much as we want the joy — as much as we want to sing and dance and shout “alleluia” — we have to also ask ourselves if we’re ready to be changed. Did we change? Have we changed? How will this cause us to live differently now that Easter has come?
The Narrative Lectionary on April 5, 2015 is Matthew’s version of the Resurrection. In Matthew 28:1-10, we follow Mary to the tomb to find that this message is for us. This message is for us — and so we try not to be afraid as find the courage to tell the story in our own words. What better than to find that courage than through the music of my colleague and friend Rob Leveridge. Rob recently came out with a wonderful album of progressive music for worship called Dancing on the Mountain.
For Easter, I’m particularly inspired by the ninth track Let it Live which I imagine being played just after the Call to Worship to set the tone for worship. No lyrics yet. Just the tune on guitar, piano or whatever you’ve got going on instrumentally this Sunday. This would then build up to when the congregation gets to sing along during dance party that happens somewhere after the sermon. (What?! You don’t have a dance party on Easter? You should.) For me, Easter is a dance party even when these three days haven’t healed everything that has come to pass. That stuff is still there — the sense of betrayal, loss and desertion is all still there. It’s not the only thing that’s there — but it hasn’t totally gone away as we try to allow ourselves in the resurrection.
It’s the first line of Rob’s song that says this so well:
I’m starting to see…
It is this line that inspires the only prayer I’ll offer this week.
Let us pray:
Come into our fear.
Come into our questions.
Come into all of that we are still holding onto right now.
Because it is Easter, Lord.
It is Easter. And we need to be resurrected.
Come and help us remember that he was raised from the dead.
Come and help us see him ahead of us.
Come and help us see him before us.
Because you hoped that this would be a message for us.
So, come Lord. Come into our fear and our questions.
Come and separate us from the death we cling to.
Bring us out of the tombs we cling to.
Push us up from the grave.
Help us to begin to see.
Help us begin to see all that you see.
Come, Lord. Come on this Easter morning.
Come and resurrect us all. Come.
If you use the prayers I’ve written in your worship, and I hope you will, please do offer me credit with as follows:
The prayers in our worship this morning were written by/adapted from Liturgical Lights for Sunday April 5, 2015 by the Rev. Elsa Anders Peters. Elsa is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who blogs at https://elsaacook.wordpress.com.