Transform Us To Be Easter People (Acts 10:34-43)

The message spread throughout the land, from Galilee through Judea.
The message spread throughout time, growing in strength,
the witnesses growing in numbers over the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses today.
We tell your story to our children and share your love with others.

You taught peace, Jesus.
We hunger for peace in our world today,
a world that is filled with noise, anger and chaos.
Remind us to practice peace in our daily lives.
Remind us to listen for understanding and
to seek out that which we can agree upon
while accepting differences in opinions.
Remind us to adhere to your teachings
and to share your peace with others.

Your message spread throughout the land and through the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses this morning, filled with the joy of your return.
Our hearts beat faster as we allow our celebration
to fill us with hope and with your grace.
The flowers of rebirth surround us, the music embraces us,
and our belief in second chances and a new beginning is strengthened.
We are transformed as your children, as your believers.

Even on your way to the cross, Jesus, your focus did not change.
You still cared about the poor, still continued to teach your disciples,
and still had complete faith in God, the Father.
Fill us with that same strength, with that focus on your teachings.
Help us to be the Easter people, filled with hope and joy!
Help us to transform our lives to truly be your people,
to show your love at all times to all people.
Help us to stand up for those who have no power, no money,
and no voice.
Help us to encourage peace, not anger and hatred.
Help us to always feel the joy of your resurrection,
to keep hope alive in our hearts.
In this time of renewal, we ask that you be with ___
sharing your gift of healing and strength with those who need it the most.

Your message spread throughout the land and throughout the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses this morning, filled with the joy of your return.
Easter is finally here.
You have returned.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Now hear us as we pray the way you taught us saying,
“Our Father…”

People of the Good News (John 20:19-31)

We are the people of the good news.
Our grief at the cross, our fear of being left alone,
our uncertainty when the tomb was found empty,
has turned into joy with the news of your resurrection.
Open our hearts in joy with this good news.
Lift our hands up in celebration.

We are the people of the good news.
We gain comfort knowing that you are with us always,
despite our doubts, despite our failings,
you are with us always.
Open our hearts in joy with this good news.
Encourage us to dance with joy,
as if no one is watching us.
Encourage us to share your news
with those we meet in our lives.

We are the people of the good news.
Knowing the good news does not free us from worry
or fear.
Your disciples locked themselves in a room.
Unlock the barriers we place between ourselves and others.
Remind us that we can lift our burdens up to you
Free us from our fear and concerns of this world,
and open our hearts to the concerns of others.

We are the people of the good news.
Remind us to act as if we are full of this joy,
as if we are full of your love.
We are your children, Lord,
each of us uniquely cherished and completely loved by you.
Open our eyes to your love,
call us into your dance,
remind us that we don’t dance alone.
We are the people of the good news;
we are your people, your children.
You are with us always, and we ask that you specifically be with ___ .

We are the people of the good news.
We can’t sit out this dance, we are unable to be quiet.
We have to share the news of your love, your resurrection.
Your teachings, the way you lived your life, have inspired us,
have shown us the way.

As the people of the good news,
we dance freely without reservation,
we celebrate and embrace the life you have given us.
We use the words you taught us, saying
“Our Father, …”

People of the Resurrection (Luke 24:36b-48)

Today, we heard the story of your resurrection from Luke.
Huddled behind locked doors, their minds closed to what might be,
the disciples were scared and afraid of you at first.
Remind us, Lord, that we are the people of the resurrection.
Remind us to see you fully and completely in our lives.
Take our fears and uncertainties from our hearts.

We can’t understand fully the resurrection.
It defies our belief of the natural world.
Remind us, Lord, that we are the people of the resurrection.
Remind us to see you fully and completely in our lives.
Open our hearts to the truth of your teachings and
remove our doubts.

Our focus on the world around us sometimes causes us to miss the simple joys in life.
A moment with a friend,
the joy of a child taking their first steps,
the spring flowers emerging from the cold snows of the winter,
the laughter shared among family remembering memories of the past.
Remind us, Lord, that we are the people of the resurrection.
Remind us to see you fully and completely in our lives.
Open our eyes to your presence in our daily lives.

We are the people of the resurrection, your children,
brothers and sisters in the community of your church.
As such, and because of your teachings,
we are your witnesses.
Remind us that we are the people of the resurrection
and it is up to us to share the good news.
Give us the courage to tell others how your love has changed our lives.

We admit we don’t have all the answers.
We admit we have questions.
But we gather here today, as a community,
as your children, to say publicly that we believe.
We are the people of the resurrection, your people,
and you have changed our lives.
We know that you are with us always and we ask that you be with ___.

As the people of the resurrection, we are your witnesses.
Your original disciples recovered from their fear and doubts,
we learned your story from them.
Today we accept the cost and joy of your discipleship and know that
we are now to share the good news with others.
As we prepare to share that news, we use the words that you taught us,
“Our Father…”

You Are Our Shepherd (John 10:11-18)

We are your children, Lord.

You watch over us as a shepherd watches over his flock.
We have come together to this place.
We have come from different backgrounds,
from different flocks.
But we have joined together as your people.

Remind us that it is
our job to look after those who need protection,
our job to look for the wolf and to speak out for those in danger,
our job to pick up those who stumble and to seek out those who get lost.
You are our shepherd, Lord, but we act as your shepherds here on earth.
We share your teachings in order to gather others into your flock.

We are your children, Lord.
We celebrate the gift of your life.
Like you, we would gladly give our lives for our children.
Remind us to live our lives every day to honor you,
to reflect your teachings in our actions and in our thoughts.
Remind us to dance with joy as our hearts are filled with your love.
Remind us to share your love with everyone we meet,
even if we don’t really like them.
Remind us that you are with us always, watching over us,
embracing us with your grace and your love.
We ask that you grant your healing touch and your strength to ___.

We are your children, Lord.
Remind us that our membership
in the body of Christ is a full and complete membership.
We are not hired hands who will run at the first sign of trouble.
We are your disciples, your followers.
We have come to this holy place for a purpose.
We gather strength from one another,
from this community of believers.
We share our doubts, our fears, our worries,
and we celebrate our births, our joys, and our celebrations.
We are your followers, your flock of believers,
and we know it is up to us to share your good news with others.

As your followers, we use the words that you taught us
“Our Father..”

I Am (John 15:1-8)

Lord, in your teachings to us, you often use the words “I Am”
You are the bread of life.
You are the light of the world.
You are the gate for the sheep.
You are the resurrection and the life.
You are the vine and we are the branches.

We are part of you and you are part of us.
Your teachings have shaped us,
molded us, and guided our growth.
The way we live our lives,
the way we reflect your teachings in our lives,
is the fruit on the branches.

Remind us to use those same words in our lives.
“I am” a member of the body of Christ.
“I am” a follower of Jesus.
“I am” determined to share your teachings with the world.
“I am” willing to share my gifts and talents with others.
“I am” trying to love others as I love myself.
“I am” not afraid to speak up for those who are less powerless.
“I am” sure I do not have all the answers,
but “I am” asking the right questions.
“I am” a child of God and “I am” loved.
“I am” loved unconditionally.

Lord, you are the bread of life.
We celebrate the community around us,
as we come together at your table.
Lord, you are the light of the world.
We celebrate how your teachings illuminate
the dark corners of our world.
Lord, you are the gate for the sheep.
We celebrate that you are always with us,
guarding us, protecting us.
We ask that you be with those among us
who need your grace and your healing touch.
Be with ___
Lord, you are the resurrection and the life.
We celebrate your resurrection and we are the people of the resurrection.
Lord, you are the vine and we are your branches.
We celebrate that you are with us and we are with you,
intertwined with you and with one another.

You taught us to be your community,
to be brothers and sisters in Christ,
to make this world as it is in heaven.
You taught us the words we use today,
“Our Father…”

Love Joy Choice (John 15:9-17)

Love, Joy, Choice.
You have loved us since before we were born.
You have joy in us, each of us uniquely loved and cherished.
You chose us and we have chosen you.

Love, Joy, Choice.
As we love our children, you have loved us.
As we have joy in our children, you have joy in us.
As your chosen people, you have shared your teachings
and your love with us.
As your disciples on this earth, we, in turn, share your teachings
with others.
As your followers, we share your love with those around us,
and we use ourselves to fulfill your plan in this world.

Love, Joy, Choice.
You called your disciples your friends, your followers.
We have chosen to follow you, to be your disciples on this earth.
You found joy in your disciples.
We are the people of the resurrection,
and we share our joy with those around us.
We choose to follow you.
Our hands are yours to use to do your work.
Our feet are yours to walk in your desired path.

Love, Joy, Choice.
You love us completely as we love you.
Our lives give you joy and we celebrate the joy you have given us.
We choose to be here today, in this congregation, in this community of believers.
We know that you are with us, and we ask that you be with those among us
who need your strength and healing grace. ___

Love, Joy, Choice.
You have shared your teachings and your love,
and in love, and in joy, and with complete choice,
we lift our voices and our hearts to you, sharing the words that you taught us,
“Our Father….”