Here’s my prayer I read at church this morning. Happy Easter!
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
Yahweh, we come before you on Easter Sunday, the most significant day of celebration for us, your followers. Although many hundreds of years have passed since the first Resurrection morning it is still so easy to see ourselves in the Easter story. We, your people have learned much, and yet so little.
We are the crowd on Palm Sunday, hearts full, cheering for Jesus when times are good. It is easy to have faith, to believe and to be thankful when everything’s going right. Father, forgive us for how quickly we turn on you when things go wrong.
We are Judas, for many of us have done or said terrible things to people we love that we come to regret. We have schemed and betrayed, we have been false. We have presented a bright smile when our hearts were filled with treachery and deceit. Many of us are still selling out our fellow man in the pursuit of money. Mother, forgive us.
We are the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, sleeping while so many around us are in peril, or in need of our support and comfort. Father, forgive us when we fail to see what is happening around us, for when we do not respond as we might.
We are the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane, bringing swords and clubs to quash rebellion, even when that rebellion speaks of nothing but peace. We are quick to assume that those who seek to live differently to us are dangerous, and that those who challenge our society are wrong. Mother, forgive us.
We are Peter denying Christ, when we feel embarrassed to admit we are a Christian; or when we fail to speak up when a workmate disparages religion as being for the weak-minded; or when we feel like we don’t have all the answers so we shy away from debating the tough questions from those who don’t know you. Father, forgive us.
We are Pilate, confused and unsure what to do, going with the wishes of the crowd, afraid of their anger. We do not always do what is right when the circumstances around us mean that doing right is hard. Mother, forgive us.
We are the mocking soldiers when we fail to see Jesus in the face of the mentally ill lady muttering violently to herself on the bus, or the tattooed Black Power member, or even in the angry, orange hue of Donald Trump. We fail to remember that all are worthy of your love and grace, and that we all have that God-spark within us. Father, forgive us.
God, with every Easter I wonder why the symbol of your followers is the cross, that bringer of pain and death, when I wish it was the empty tomb instead, with its promise of new life and hope.
Help us to be like the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb, who were so struck by the power and might of Jesus, that they fell down immediately. Help us to see you at work in this world. Help us to be so amazed and awestruck by your creation that we fight to protect its splendour, and help us to be inspired to join in when we see people being your hands and feet to those in need.
Help us to be like the women at the tomb on that Sunday morning, so full of joy that we tell others about you, even when we are not believed.
Help us to be like the men on the road to Emmaus. Open our eyes to the truth around us, help us to see what you need us to see, help us to recognise Jesus every day.