Community Prayers in Expectation of Easter

holy saturdayTonight we will observe Good Friday at Eastgate – it will be a time of somber, reflective worship in contemplation of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We’ve been holding a Good Friday service for several years now as part of our lead-up to Easter morning.

Easter is one of the most important days for the Christian church – really, for the world. It was the day that changed everything. It was the day that poured all of the possibilities of God’s rule into this broken world. It was the day when Jesus stepped from the tomb with the promise of new life for everyone who will believe.

But Easter held in isolation loses something along the way. Easter Sunday isn’t meaningful without the cross of Friday. That’s why the Church tends to observe this holiday in stages – to reinforce the glory that’s revealed in an empty tomb. Maunday Thursday reminds us of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. Good Friday challenges us to recall the horror and desolation of the cross. Holy Saturday forces us to acknowledge the tomb that swallowed up all the hopes which were buried with a murdered Messiah.

For the past several years we have commemorated Holy Saturday by inviting the people of Eastgate to stop three times throughout the day and pray in expectation of Easter. We have written prayers so that all of us are praying in unity. You’ll find the prayers at the bottom of this post.

For those who are able and willing to, we are also inviting all to a community fast. A fast (as we understand it) is the abstaining from necessary food for a given period of time – a meal, two meals, from morning till evening. However you may want to approach it. Why would we do this? For the disciples who followed Jesus, Saturday was a terribly dark day (it is also called “Black Saturday” in some church traditions). Everything they had hoped for concerning the anticipated kingdom of God had come to an abrupt and brutal end. They watched helplessly as the one they put their trust in was overwhelmed by the powers-that-be and executed. Saturday would have been a day of shock and bitter grief. Fasting is one way in which we can enter into that story with them.

The difference is, we know that Sunday is breaking in.

On Sunday we won’t be fasting. We’ll get up with the sunrise and welcome the day with songs and prayers. We normally have a Sunrise Service at the beach, but this year it looks as though the weather will move our service inside the Big Room (6:15 am). No matter, we’ll still be up with songs and prayers, rejoicing as we remember that glorious day.

At 10 am we’ll have a blow-out jam session expressing our exultant joy for all possibilities that are resident in word like resurrection! Then we’ll have a pot-luck lunch which reminds us of another feast we’re anticipating. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – when heaven and earth will be united again forever.

This is how we do Easter at Eastgate! I hope you can participate.

Here are the community prayers for tomorrow:

COMMUNITY PRAYERS

IN EXPECTATION OF EASTER

Morning Prayer:

Lord for our sake You left the riches of heaven

And became poor.

You came within our reach.

May we be open to you, and to each other.

May we be open to you and to each other.

You did not hold on to even the little

You had left to call your own.

May we be open to you, and to each other.

May we be open to you and to each other.

 

Midday meditation:

Where there is love, there is no room for fear.

Where there is hope, every doubt disappears.

Where there is faith, mountains are cast away.

Where there is love, all things are beautiful

Evening prayer:

Lord, our prayers and hopes must bear the sign of the cross

And the weight of the stone which covers the grave

Some of us are never far from tears,

And some of us have forced ourselves not to cry.

Bring our tears into your captivity and direction,

That they respond to your voice.

You have the words of eternal life.

You have the words of eternal life.

A downloadable version can be found here:  COMMUNITY PRAYERS

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