Associate Pastor Charlene Han Powell offered these Prayers of the People on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017.
God of Creation, Son of Man, Spirit of Truth:
On this beautiful morning, we have gathered, just like believers all over the world, to tell the story of our faith. Some of us have come here with joy and certainty already in our hearts. We know that you are God for we see your faithfulness in our lives. Others of us have come here with hopeful hesitance. We want to believe, we need to believe that when you say you have plans to prosper us and not to harm us. And the rest of us have come here with full blown doubt radiating in our hearts. We watch the news, we see the pain in the world and in our lives and we can't seem to understand how a loving God could allow such things.
Yet we all come and gather in this holy, this sacred space, people of every age, every race, every background, believing, hoping and needing to find you.
But you aren't where we left you, are you, Lord? You aren't where we expected you to be, are you, Lord? You aren't where the world, our reason, our powers of deduction told us to find you, Lord? Because when we go looking for you in the tomb, you are not there. For you have risen, Lord, you have risen indeed.
But where does that leave us? In truth, while we gather here today to celebrate that you are a risen God, a dynamic God, a moveable God, it does make it harder for us. Harder for us to pin you down, explain you away, and limit you to our realm of understanding.
Don't you realize that if you would just stay put, live up to our expectations, regard our sense of reason, that following you, believing in you would be so much easier?
Yet perhaps the best part of the story—this story, our story, your story—is not that you are a risen God or a dynamic God or a moveable God, but that you are a living God. Alive in this world. Alive in this place. Alive in our lives.
We need not worry about where to find you, because you will find us. You will find us in our moments of sheer certainty. You will find us in our hopeful hesitance. And best of all, you will find us in our full-blown doubt. After all, you have conquered death, so Lord, we ask that you conquer us.
Conquer every aspect of our lives that might keep us from going out into the world and living as your children, as an Easter people. Where there is sorrow and death in the world, help us bring life. Where there is darkness and sadness in our communities, help us be light. And where there is fear and hatred, help us embody your love. Your unending, your powerful, your amazing love.
For you are the God who not only came into this world to be in our midst, who not only sat with us at table and broke bread and drank wine, who not only suffered a criminal’s death on the cross, you are the God who rose again in glory.
So on this beautiful morning, we gather here today, just like believers all over the world, to worship you, sing to you, and most of all, to offer our voices in prayer to you, even the prayer your son taught us to pray, saying….
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.