Holy God, on this Easter morning we welcome the sunrise. We welcome the birdsong. We welcome the branches swaying above our heads. We welcome the opportunity to greet familiar faces and meet new ones. We welcome the energy and joy and promise of a new day, new beginnings, and new challenges to face. We welcome the chance to hear with new ears the old story of Jesus: how he died at the hands of violent people and was raised by the unstoppable power of your boundless love. Renew our faith in resurrection. Renew our commitment to the Jesus way. Amen.
Holy God, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Scripture tells us that resurrection is assured. Yet we live in fear. We’re afraid of losing our loved ones. We’re afraid of the unknown. We’re afraid people won’t like us or our children will forget us. We know we’re not the church we once were and afraid of what that might mean. We’re afraid that if people knew who we really are, they wouldn’t love us anymore. While we long for abundant life, we’re afraid of what it might demand from us. Disrupt our addiction to fear. Open our lives to true boldness. Give us confidence not in what we can achieve, but in the power of what you are doing in and through us. Amen.
We confess, Holy God, our impatience. We confess our boredom, our preference for stimulation–those little dopamine hits that excite the brain’s pleasure centers. The waiting is the hardest part. We wander the garden wondering where and when and if the spring shoots will sprout. Forgive our distraction. Give us faith in a seed. Give us rising hope. Amen.
We confess, O God, we often find ourselves confused. Like Nicodemus, we are searching for answers. Like Nicodemus, we find ourselves confused. Like Nicodemus, we approach you under cover of night, afraid of what it might mean to expose our broken hearts to the light of day. Like Nicodemus, it can be difficult to see that the one before us is the very one we seek. Like Nicodemus, keep us faithful to the end so that we, too, might bear witness to resurrection. Amen.
Holy God, we confess that sometimes we feel alone. Isolation, despair, feeling unloved and unwanted can take us down some dark roads. Teach us that feelings are not facts. Teach us that above the storm clouds the sun still shines even if we can’t see it at this moment. Give us courage to carry on. Teach us to trust in Jesus, the stiller of the storm, the turner of the tables, the Savior of the world. Amen.
How marvelous! How wonderful! We gather in your presence, Holy God. We gather in this sanctuary space. We gather in our home spaces. We gather online here in Granby and around the world and in every place and every time you are there. Each cup of coffee, each snowflake, each fur baby, each floorboard, each thing shines with your light. Every smiling face, every salty tear, every broken heart, shines with your glory. Give us eyes to see, minds to perceive, and voices to praise you. Amen.
Brother Jesus, we try to pin you down but you’re always on the move. Someone asks, “Where is he?” And we have to admit, “I don’t know.” In the same way, your spirit blows where it will, inviting us on new adventures, urging us into the unknown. Give us courage to step past the edges of our old maps. Give us the resolve to venture with you into the wilderness where angels and beasts make their homes. Show us where to find rest and refreshment on the way. Amen.
Reader One: The Bible says that after Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness where Satan tempted him and angels protected him.
Reader Two: The Bible says that Moses led God’s people on a 40 year journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land.
Reader Three: The spiritual path leads through the wilderness because the wilderness is where we meet God.
Reader Four: This Lenten season we will follow the examples of Jesus, of Moses, of countless ancestors before us and step into the unmapped and unknown areas of our lives. We will examine our doubts, fears, questions, visions, possibilities, and promises for the future trusting in God to guide us. Let’s prepare our hearts for worship. The adventure begins!
Reader One: Our hearts are rested; our souls stirred; our vision sharpened; our bodies energized. We step into the new week with courage knowing that whatever we encounter, we are not alone.
Reader Two: Go in peace to love God and share the good news of new life in Jesus!
Holy God, the world is so surprising and we know so little. Outcomes are uncertain. Threats loom. We long to bring peace to our lives, but even our best efforts often miss the mark. We upset when we meant to soothe. Sometimes speaking the truth in love results in an unpleasant reaction. Sometimes our emotions overtake us and we respond in ways that just make the situation worse. With so much beyond our control teach us to rest in your embrace. Within the swirl of events make us steadfast, kind, and compassionate. Amen.
Holy God, your Spirit calls and our hearts respond. Your Spirit calls and our world is overturned. Your Spirit calls and our spirits awaken. Your Spirit calls and our minds clear. Your Spirit calls and our bodies relax. Your Spirit calls and anxieties depart. Your Spirit calls and old ways diminish. Your Spirit calls and a new future is born. Amen.