Easter 2002

Bearing Witness





A Christian Community

In the Tradition of the Church of the Saviour

Easter 2002


Bearing Witness




In his speech, foxes, breaddough

and much mended nets became sacred

the down and out were his proof

and actually he had as much assurance

of victory as we in these parts do




Dorothee Sölle, Revolutionary Patience,

in “Cries of the Spirit,” by Marilyn Sewell





Leader:      The loneliness of the cross

led Jesus to the resurrection.


All:              We are invited by Jesus

to follow him into this loneliness,

the loneliness in which God is too close

to be experienced by our limited hearts and minds.


Let us pray for the grace

to surrender our spirits to God as Jesus did.       











Leader:      You give us answers

to the questions we don’t dare to ask.

You ask us questions that have no reply.


Voice 1:      You give us bread and say it is your body,

and in eating it, we become your body, too.


Voice 2:      You pour your life out into ours,

and we learn to pour ourselves out to heal the world.


Voice 1:      We ask for proof. We don’t understand:

The empty tomb, and you, here among us!


Voice 2:      Despite our doubts and confusion,

We shout, “Christ is Risen!”


All:              And know that, improbable as it seems,

Christ is risen, indeed.






All:              To believe in resurrection

is to believe in the impossible;

To believe in the bread of life and living water

is to believe in that which cannot be proved;

To believe in the reality of the cross

is to believe in the reality of love.


Leader: To have faith is to live

without guarantee,

without certainty,

without proof.


All:              We confess to the comfort of knowledge.

We confess that relying on our intellect

is easier than relying on faith.

Too often, belief requires too much of us.





Leader:      In the Resurrection, God gives us a healing mystery:

by giving over our limited minds and hearts

to a limitless God

we are made whole.         


All:              Amen.













The first Sunday of each month we switch to a Communion Liturgy here.









Leader:      If we have one thing to do in these times,

it is to bear witness.


Go out to the ordinary places of your life,

filled with this extraordinary mystery:

"Christ is risen!"


People: Christ is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!


Worship Resources

Confession: Based on Henry J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, entry for July 31

Benediction: Based on Etty Hillesum, as quoted in “In Wisdom’s Path,” by Jan L. Richardson.


[Seekers] [Write us] [Seekers Liturgies] [Fair Use]

Additional Prayers during Easter

March 31, 2002 (Easter Day)

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:                    Acts 10:34‑43 or Jeremiah 31:1‑6

Psalm 118:1‑2, 14‑24

Colossians 3:1‑4 or Acts 10:34‑43

John 20:1‑18 or Matthew 28:1‑10



O holy mystery of life returning from the tomb,

we’ve come because you call us.


God of restless hope,

while it was still dark,

the agony three days cold in the tomb,

the empty cross awaiting death’s next meal —

before dawn this very morning,

your spirit filled the air with gentle rain,

the finger of your spirit moved slowly,

dappling the waters now pregnant with creation.


O risen Christ, open to us the gates of righteousness,

that we may enter through them and give thanks.


Come fill us with your mystery, your power and your promise

for we gather as your resurrection people,

beneath this empty cross — your sign of hope.  Amen.



O God, the chorus of creation cries out:

"Christ is risen! Alleluia!"

"Christ is risen! Alleluia!" sing the supple winds of Spring.

Cherries drinking in the sun cry: "Christ is risen!”


We stoop and stare into the dark with Mary and the others —

The tomb is empty: “Christ is risen, indeed.  Alleluia!”


We see the empty tomb and know that you have gone before us.

Our yeasty vision grows, feasting on the honey of fresh hope.

We face the unknown, washed by uncertainty,

hungry for assurance in the face of multiplying possibilities.


O God of constant new beginnings,

receive our prayers of praise and thanks,

for all that you provide,

but most deeply this morning,

for the life and love of Christ.



Smiling, celebrating chef of spicy opportunity,

the empty grave presents us with a mystery.


We know that Christ is risen,

but in these days between the resurrection and the coming of the holy spirit,

we taste again the doubt that tests our faith.


We hunger for large platters of assurance,

but often what we get are little appetizers, fresh opportunities on a toothpick,

just enough to keep our growling innards quiet while heavenly aromas fill the air around us,

rising from whatever you are cooking up for the future. 


We pray that, being one with Christ, our hopes will grow into an Easter feast,

full of astonishing new possibilities.


On this damp day when war and terrorism thrive,

we pray for peace for those who are engulfed in violence.

We pray for people in Afghanistan and Israel,

for victims, and for those who are the agents of this violence —

for soldiers and governments and terrorists.

We pray for freedom for those who are imprisoned,

for nourishment in the face of hunger,

for gladness in the face of grief and sorrow.


Hear now, o God of healing love,

our prayers for those who suffer on this day of celebration.



Come Holy Spirit, come fill us with the hope of resurrection.

Show us what it means to feast on mystery and opportunity.

Come draw us fully into the presence of the risen Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.


April 7, 2002

Prayers by Deborah Sokolove, Liturgist

Lessons:                    Acts 2:14a, 22‑32

Psalm 16

1 Peter 1:3‑9

John 20:19‑31



Holy Lover, God-With-Us, God who knows us,

you fill us with grace, and call us to be your people.

You invite us to your table,

and feed us with the beauty of the world you have made.

In this Easter season,

the abundant splendor of your creation astounds us.

Clouds of white and pink and red

and wine-colored blossoms appear

where days before had been bare, empty twigs.

Now, they twirl around, blown on your gusting breath,

fragile scraps of material sunlight.

In this Easter season,

you remind us that your love endures

beyond all that we fear, beyond all that we endure,

beyond all that we doubt.

Today, we come again to celebrate the Good News

of the One we recognize in the breaking of bread,

in the pouring of wine,

and in gathering as one small part of your Holy Body.

Let your holy Spirit breath among and through us,

and let us know that we are your beloved people.


Praise and Thanks

Holy One, Holy Three, Holy Lover,

We give you thanks for the seeds, the flowers,

the grass, the trees, the fruit, and the wheat

that fill our hearts with delight and our bodies with food.

We give you thanks for the birds and the fish,

the sheep, the bears, the turtles, and the worms

that fill the earth with their lives

and our lives with amazement.

We give you thanks for family and friends,

for the gift of words and of silence,

for memory and for hope,

for the saints who have gone before us,

and the children who will follow.

Hear, now, our prayers of praise and thanks,

aloud and in the silence of our hearts.


Petition and Intercession

 For all these things, we give thanks, O Wisdom of God.

And yet for some it is hard to give thanks.

It is hard to give thanks when we know

that tanks are rolling in the streets of Bethlehem,

that bombs explode in the streets of Jerusalem,

that hatred and fear drive out reason in too many places.

It is hard to give thanks when we know

that too many have no food, no homes, no work;

that too many have no friends, no family, no safe place;

that too many live without knowing your love.

And when it is hard to give thanks, we offer our prayers

for those who have houses and for those who have none;

for those who have much and for those who have little;

for those who rejoice and for those who mourn;

for those who are waiting in hope or in fear,

and for those who no longer wait at all.

Holy, mysterious, One-in-Three,

hear now our prayers of petition and intercession

aloud or in the silence of our hearts.



Holy Wisdom, Holy Lover, Holy Breath,

receive these, the prayers of our hearts,

Show us the path of life,

and let us know that

in your presence there is fullness and joy;

in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. AMEN.


April 14, 2002

Prayers by Sherri Alms, Liturgist

Lessons:        Acts 2:14a, 36‑41

Psalm 116:1‑4, 12‑19

1 Peter 1:17‑23

Luke 24:13‑35



In your love, life-giving, merciful and ever-present Creator,

we find our voices heard, our prayers answered.

Come now to this your holy house

where we bring before you the suffering and pain

of our neighbors the world round

and call for your healing touch in our own lives.

We lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of God

whose bounty can never be repaid.

We are your servant and the servant

of your created world.


Come to us, Spirit of Peace and Wholeness,

Come among us gathered in your name.


Quiet mystery,

You come to us in ways that are easy to miss, to overlook or to dismiss.

And yet in those signs of your belief and faith in us,

we find our faith and belief in you.


In the miracle that is a freshly baked

loaf of bread for a hungry people;

In the heart of one hot pink azalea,

a symbol of irrepressible life;

In an unruly stubborn band of disciples

so much like us and yet always loved and never deserted;

In the song of one bird, persistent and silly with the

news of the earth’s resurrection into spring;

In much mended fishnets that catch

what cannot be seen but only felt through the heart;

In the sight of a soaring falcon above a city apartment house,

unlikely symbol of your presence in a broken world.


Unseen spirit,

Sometimes, faith is a small thread on which to hold

but it is a golden one.

We give you our heartfelt thanks that you never let go,

that your love never fails,

that in Jesus you gave us a promise of a life abundant and perfectly whole.

In these troubled times, the paradox of eternal and limitless love

is almost impossible to believe.

We give you thanks that you make it possible.


For where we have seen signs of resurrection and peace this week, we give you thanks¼



Loving source of all that is holy,

So much of the news in the past months

breaks our hearts, tests our faith, and leaves our spirits in ashes.

Where is the hope that you promised?

Where is the love that you embody?

Where is the justice that you demand?


As we pray for wholeness, for peace, for justice,

we cling to the Easter story, so absolutely impossible

and yet the one story that promises

life from a tomb,

hope from a cross,

love from death.

In one young carpenter who spoke of

fishnets, bread dough, and lilies of the field,

we find a way to live that can transform our spirits into flames.


Please hear us as we pray for our empty places, our exhaustion and sickness,

and our desperate need for hope¼



In the name of the one

who believed in your wisdom even unto death,

Life-giver, Source of all love,

we pray this day and always

that you will walk with us

on our roads to Emmaus,

break bread with us,

and give us the strength to live

our lives in faith.



April 21, 2002

Prayers by Pat Conover, Liturgist

Lessons:              Acts 2:42‑47

Psalm 23

1 Peter 2:19‑25

John 10:1‑10



We are living after the revolution, after the Messiah has come. Alleluia!  Nothing else has to happen. Everything is ready. The promised presence of the Holy Spirit is among us. There is no reason to delay embracing God, no reason to delay embracing each other, no reason to delay our own offerings.


This is good time ‑ a gift ‑ a time to recognize and celebrate ‑ a time to be aligned and attuned ‑ a time to notice and be glad. Attend to what is worthy, to what is  worthwhile, for that is our true worthship.


Introduction and Celebration

Now we have time to remember and notice the good gifts that have come to us, all the ways  God is moving within us, between us, and before us: luring us into greater trust and engagement. 


This morning we celebrate the fecundity and profligacy of pollen. Fill up our noses and let us sneeze and cough with wonder at all the ways your creation is eager to impregnate and give  birth. Let us share our own gifts and caring with similar lightness, trusting that you will waste and sneeze and save and give the growth.


Petition and Intercession

This is your time and all is ready, but we cry out that so many gifts and possibilities have been clutched and not given, that the stew of oppression and rebellion hides your counsel in war, that misunderstood self‑interest tolerates and condones epidemic diseases and desperate hunger.


We open ourselves now to all the pain that comes with being alive, that comes with caring. We notice that death is part of living and would trust you even with that part of our journey. We notice that in your profligacy, O God, that so much falls to the ground, ready for life but dying without ever becoming ripe. We accept that we are only creatures, O God, but we call out to

you now that all is not easy, all is not right, that so much hurts.


Hear our prayers of petition and intercession.


Gathering Prayer

We have found words for some of our confessions, our celebrations, our hurting and hoping. We ask you now to hear us and hold us beyond what we can bring to words. 


Regrounded in prayer, we turn now to listen for your word to us.  Amen.


April 28, 2002

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:              Acts 7:55‑60

Psalm 31:1‑5, 15‑16

1 Peter 2:2‑10

John 14:1‑14



God of the world and every thing that’s in it,

holy maker of dogwood and nesting geese

and barking foxes in the meadow,

we have gathered here again

to remind ourselves that you are God of all.


We pray that you will fill us with your Spirit

as you filled those faithful sisters and brothers

who have gone before us,

for we gather here this morning to celebrate and pray

in the name of our Saviour, who is Jesus, the Christ.  Amen



Bright blossoming God of Easter hope,

Holy maker of pollen and petal,

God of change and new beginnings,

we find our inner landscape stretched in new directions.


Life is so quick, we need the gift of silence and the open fields

to help see through the blur around us

to the beauty of your truth. 


We celebrate the wild blossom banquet

knowing it will wither long before we’ve had our fill of salmon,

pink and lavender piled high beneath the oaks.


We gather with our friends of many years,

and part again before we’ve had the time to tell each other

all the stories that remind us who we are.


And yet, we know your promise to be with us every time we gather,

even when we think we’ve come for something else.


O Holy God of Sabbath rest,

just now we stop, and breathe

and raise our prayers of praise and thanks to you,

for unexpected joys and hurried glimpses of your gift of life.



O raging, downpour of holy passion,

we come half hoping not to find you here,

half wanting just the quiet of the morning,

and not the clamor of the life you keep creating.


Our joy this Easter season

is beaten to the ground like some drowned tulip,

naked stamen standing in a puddle,

mud-stained petals twisting in the tiny current

heading for the sea. 


We need to stop, and breathe,

and reach out for the Sabbath gifts you bring. 


But when we take the time

to try to understand and celebrate

the richness of your gift of life,

we find it bound together with the pain of war.


The pains of life —

the anguished grief of death and separation,

the grinding numbness of neglect and poverty,

the stab of greed, or disregard, or blindness chosen —

these pains seem to move with us, lingering in our bodies

even as the joy you offer us so freely slips beyond our sight.


We need to stop, and breathe,

and reach out for the Sabbath gifts you bring. 


O God of this creation,

holy maker of our lives in this community,

we lift up in your loving presence all the pain we know.

We stop, and breathe,

and offer you our fear, and pain

our prayers for those in need.



God of the world and everything that’s in it,

we shout our thanks and praise into the howl of your creativity,

and claim your promise that the holy spirit is on the way.

For we would name ourselves an Easter people,

part of the body of the risen Christ.  Amen.


May 5, 2002

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:              Acts 17:22‑31

Psalm 66:8‑20

1 Peter 3:13‑22

John 14:15‑21



God of all creation,

Bright, Greening Fountain of Blossoms,

Maker of Life —

we come together this damp morning

to celebrate the love that pours from you

through us

and out into the world.


Fill us with the good news of the risen Christ;

fill us ‘til your love pours out

in ways we could never imagine.


Open us to the mystery of death and resurrection

in bread broken and grape crushed

as we gather at your gospel table

in the spirit of the risen Christ.  Amen.



Holy, wondrous God,

Creator of the Universe,

God of quiet promises

of new life springing into sight,

God of mighty rivers and terrifying storms,

we’ve come today,

to celebrate your presence in this time and place.


We see your holy growing power

and investment in the future,

our gardens are alive with blossom;

birds labor from dawn to dusk

to make a home for their next generation,

singing as they work.


The dandelion army is already on the march,

claiming new territory for the future.


This is the time for new beginnings,

not only in the world around us,

but in the world within,

and we give thanks for the good news in Christ,

good news that promises

that we, too, are each invited to a new beginning.


We bring our prayers of praise and thanks,

for hope and healing in our troubled world.



God of healing and forgiveness

we come today with burdens, too.


We know that pain and violence

are also growing fast this season.


There is the pain of those we love,

who suffer from disease and isolation.


There is the pain of those in Palestine

and Israel and Afghanistan

who suffer from the violence of terror and counter-terror

in the name of peace. 


We share with so many the fear that comes

when people rise up in angry violence

and kill to get the attention

they feel they have been denied.


We come, o God of healing love,

to raise our prayers for those in need. 


Hear now our prayers for them — and for ourselves,

for we would be dandelions of hope

in the face of violence and fear.



God of all creation,

Bright, Greening Fountain of Blossoms,

Maker of Life —

open us to the miracle

of your transforming presence in our lives

for we have gathered at your table of remembrance

as one small part of the body of Christ.  Amen.


May 12, 2002

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:              Acts 1:1‑11

Psalm 47 or Psalm 93

Ephesians 1:15‑23

Luke 24:44‑53



Holy God,

Creator of the world and every thing that is in it,

holy maker of dogwood and nesting geese,

creator of mirth and mercy,

we have gathered here again

to remind ourselves that you are God of all

and that we are your people.


Fill us with your Spirit

as you filled those faithful sisters and brothers

who have gone before us,

for we gather here this morning

to celebrate and pray

in the name of our Saviour, who is Jesus, the Christ.  Amen



Bright blossoming God of Easter hope,

holy maker of sailing maple seed and pale pink bleeding heart,

God of change and new beginnings,

we find our inner landscape pummeled by the winds of change.


Today we stop to wonder how it was

for those who knew you as their teacher Jesus — 

who knew his vital presence after he’d been crucified,

received the blessing from his very hands

and heard him promise that although he’d go

they would not be alone —

then watched him leave …. again. 


Fountain of Eternal Hope,

we thank you that we’ve known that mystery

well enough to ask for more.


Today we stop just long enough to take a look around

and see the gentle promise of new life,

the joy you offer us in newborn babies,

the smell of fresh concrete foundations settling in the mud,

the  tiny signs of hope in Israel and Palestine,

as your people worship once again in the church of the nativity .


Today we also stop to thank our moms,

for loving us, or putting up with us,

for teaching us some hard, cold lessons,

and in the end, for letting us be who we are. 


For moms, for gentle promises of new life,

for mysteries of presence in the spirit,

for these and so much more,

we offer you our prayers of praise and thanks.



Holy comforter of the fearful and the heavy-laden,

God of hope that springs from nothing

like some fiery plume of galaxies in labor,

giving birth to stars and so much more;

holy mystery of the Spirit that sustains us

even in the midst of fear and pain,

we’ve brought our pain into this room today.


We hurt from illness and the fear it generates;

we ache for those caught up in war and violence;

we can’t let go of fears that those we love will suffer,

even more … and there is often not much we can think to do.


At times our hearts are full of grateful thanks

for all the wonder of this life,

and then we learn that someone else we love is stricken

or the violence has flared again,

or flood and famine are rampaging,

battering what little hope is left for those caught in the path.


We’ve learned that times like these

are very difficult to face alone

and so we’ve come together,

and together turn to you,

to ask for comfort, help and healing.


Hear now our prayers for those in pain and need,

and for ourselves,

for we have come to know that we won’t make it by ourselves.



Holy God,

creator of the world and every thing that is in it,

fill us with your Spirit

as you filled those faithful sisters and brothers

who have gone before us,

for we gather here this morning

to celebrate and pray

in the name of our Saviour, who is Jesus, the Christ.  Amen.

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