Today marks the high day of the Christian calender. Jesus is risen, He is risen Indeed! Here are some prayers that help mark the wonder of Easter, and the newness it brings. The first is from Lent & Easter Readings from Iona, a prayer of blessing from Kate Mcllhagga. She names the reality of new life which we experience this time of year (Northern Hemisphere, and relates it to Christ’s resurrection:
How beautiful is the blossom
spilling from the tree,
the hidden primrose
and the bluebell
ringing out the news
He is risen
he is alive
we shall live
The dark winter is past,
the slow, cold, foggy days are over.
May the warmth of your resurrection
touch our hearts and minds
as the warmth of the sun
blesses our bodies.
The next prayer comes from Walter Brueggemann’s Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. Easter confounds the wise and troubles the strong. Brueggemann does a good job of challenging those of us who are safe and smug move beyond our pontificating into wonder:
We are baffled
Christ is Risen
He is risen indeed!
We are baffled by the very Easter claim we voice.
Your new life fits none of our categories.
We wonder and stew and argue,
and add clarifying adjectives like “spiritual” and “physical.”
But we remain baffled, seeking clarity and explanation,
we who are prosperous, and full and safe and tenured.
We are baffled and want explanations.
But there are those not baffled, but stunned by the news,
stunned while at minimum wage jobs;
stunned while the body wastes in cancer;
stunned while the fabric of life rots away in fatigue and despair;
stunned while unproperouus and unfull
and unsafe and untenured . . .
Waiting only for you in your Easter outfit,
waiting for you to say, “Fear not, it is I.”
Deliver us from our bafflement and our many explanations.
Push us over into stunned need and show yourself to us lively.
Easter us in honesty,
Easter us in fear;
Easter us in joy,
and let us be Eastered. Amen.
Finally this prayer comes from St. John Damascene, 8th Century, excerpted from the Prayer Book of the Early Christians. What I like about this prayer is that it names the whole arc of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and resurrection:
Hymn to the Life-Giving Cross
O Christ our God,
Ceaselessly we bow
Before your cross
That gives us life;
And glorify your Resurrection,
Most powerful Lord,
When on that third day
You made anew
The failing nature of mankind,
Showing us revealed
the path to heaven above;
For you alone are good,
The Lover of the Human Race.