Readings from the Easter Service,  March 27, 2016

Easter Exultet, by James Broughton

Shake out your qualms.

Shake up your dreams.

Deepen your roots.

Extend your branches.

Trust deep water and head for the open,

even if your vision shipwrecks you.

Quit your addiction to sneer and complain.

Open a lookout.

Dance on a brink.

Run with your wildfire.

You are closer to glory

leaping an abyss than upholstering a rut.

Not dawdling.

Not doubting.

Intrepid all the way

Walk toward clarity.

At every crossroad

Be prepared to bump into wonder.

Only love prevails.

En route to disaster insist on canticles.

Lift your ineffable out of the mundane.

Nothing perishes;

nothing survives; everything transforms!

Honeymoon with Big Joy!

 

Prayer

O God, we thank thee for the stir of thy Spirit within us;

for the courage which is equal to every new day;

for the hopes which rise out of the failures of yesterday;

for the resolve which lifts its head above wrong and woe, and affirms its right to repent and begin again;

for the life which cannot be holden by death;

for the healing which comes to wounded hearts through time;

for the sunrise which is greater than our fires and ashes;

for the joy which breaks in we know not how and when least expected;

for the disappointment which releases better desire;

for the darkness where the roots grow;

for the golden thread of valor and goodwill never lost through all our strange wanderings;

for all the labors of those who have sown that others may reap;

for the high calls of duty in our day and time;

for the goodness which is at the heart of the world;

for the spirit of Jesus;

for all the saints; for all we love;

for the longing of this our prayer.

 

“Easter” by Joy Croft

A myth is not a tall tale.  Quite the reverse.  Whether it is true or false historically speaking, a living myth is true to life.  The story of Jesus has lasted because it proved true to life after human life.

Daily, ordinary people show extraordinary courage.  Grasped by some vision of a better life, a better world, they declare it and live by it, although bystanders insist the time is wrong, the idea is nonsense or worse, although there is no guarantee of a happy ending. And all too often, there is no happy ending.  Who has not cherished a dream that would not come true?  Have we not all known the scourge of uncomprehending rejection, the pain of defeat?  That pain is as real as the pain of the crucifixion.  That death is real too: the irredeemable death of dreams.  Yet there is hope beyond the grave, and meaning to the suffering.  New visions can rise from the ashes, wiser and more compassionate ones.

There is meaning: there is value.  Yet, when darkness surrounds us, it is hard to believe.  At such times, let us turn to the tale of one who lived and died on such a scale that his significance is undeniable.  The Easter story is our small passion tides writ large.  So let this man’s faithfulness till death dignify our own acts of faith.  Did he die?   did he rise again?  Let the truth of it rest within us, giving us courage, helping us hope.

 

“He is risen” by Clinton Lee Scott

Jesus is risen from the dead.  The centuries have not been able to bury him.

Forsaken by his friends, sentenced to die with thieves, his mangled body buried in a borrowed tomb, he has risen to command the hearts of millions, and to haunt our hate-filled world with the restlessness of undying hopes.

The years bring him increasingly to life.  The imperial forces that tried to destroy him have long ago destroyed themselves.  Those who passed judgment upon him are remembered only because of him.

Military might and political tyranny still stalk the earth; they too shall perish, while the majesty of the carpenter-prophet bearing his cross on the hill will remain to rebuke the ways of violence.