Hope comes again despite all that has happened.
The worst thing is not the last thing. There is still more that God will do.
There is still more that God is doing and I pray that is especially true for you, dear pastor, after a whole year of curating worship, fellowship and care remotely. I pray you are finding that there is newness. There is a sense of the possible and even an opening to wonder. I pray you already found inspiration in my thoughts in Holy Week in Coronatide but I wanted to offer something more pepper your worship on this most holy of days and the days that follow.
Likewise, Maren Tirabassi again offers a liturgy for Holy Communion for those gathering around the table on the Resurrection Day that could easily work for the following week with little or no adaptation. Those that subscribe to my newsletter know that I shared this liturgy that includes communion from another talented United Church of Christ clergy.
I’m grateful for Elizabeth Palmer who helped me find words for these prayers.
Call to Worship Inspired by Mark 11:1-11 and John 20:19-31 When we thought it was over, there was another wave. When we believed change had finally come, there was another shooting. Another black body was dead in the street. When we told ourselves that the worst was behind us, it happened again. We shut the doors on possibility in our terror. That feeling has seized us again and again. Again and again, we have come to believe that resurrection still happens. This is what we come to see. It is what we need to see today. This is our joy today. Resurrection still happens. This is what we celebrate.
This is one of the songs from a very short playlist of Easter music on YouTube I created for Easter. It is not something you should stream in worship as far as I can tell but it’s just so good. We all need this kind of joy. Learn more about these talented artists singing for the resistance here.
Pastoral Prayer for the Resurrection Inspired by Mark 11:1-11 O God, however tempted we might be to stop in the fear, we know that this terror is not all there is. It is not all there will ever be for even in the terror there is amazement. There is good news that cannot not be shared because joy teaches us what is possible. O God, we have seen your wonder this year in the fellowship we've found through our modems and the community we've continued to build. We have found joy in [name particular joys in your life together]. Joy won't stick around forever. It comes in a moment. It is unexpected and maybe that's why it alarms us. It rolls back our expectations and urges us to stay. To stay and see this thing that is happening just as we are trying to witness to [name particular injustices in our world and in your community]. O God, our eyes are open to what could be for we know that this is not the end. This is not where your good news ends with the disciples fleeing from the tomb in fear but there is more to this good news that begins with you and me. Joy is like that. It pushes us onward. It reminds us again that there is goodness in this world. There is goodness and joy and love even with all that terrorizes and overwhelms. We will not let the worst stop us from finding the promise of resurrection because resurrection still happens. It is happening right now. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
There are a thousand things on your plate and the last thing that you might have been worried about was the Egg Hunt that a faithful volunteer plans every year. I hope that that kind soul followed through this year but if you find that you are frantically trying to make this happen, this Pandemic Easter Egg Hunt might help. You might also opt to extend the storytelling of this good news with a pageant in the season of Easter because why not. You can find the one that I co-wrote especially for this pandemic year here. If you are eager to encourage your people to find words to this hope, you might encourage them to write Pandemic Easter Affirmations.
Over on Instagram, I’m offering daily prayer practices especially for you, dear pastor, in the chaos that is this week. Sometimes I even post them on other socials. Sometimes. You can follow along with @pandemic.prayers if you’re on Instagram.
That’s all I have for you, dear pastors. I am praying for you. I am praying for you, as always.