A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (April 21/Easter Sunday) Athens First UMC

[Our opening gathering music set the tone for our Easter worship celebration. Ellen Brown and Jeff Daubenmire offered this beautiful piano duet. Our church is so blessed with musical talent that honors and glorifies the Risen Christ. For the sermon, click here. Happy Easter, everyone!]

God of resurrection and new life, thank you for your amazing grace that relieves our many fears. 

We confess that we have more fears and anxieties than we would care to admit. If we’re honest, sometimes, it’s a struggle for us to face a new day, a challenging situation at work, beginning a new project, mending a broken relationship, being open to a different point of view, stepping out of our comfort zones.

So many fears, O God; temptations, doubts, fruitfulness, forgiveness, generosity, confidence, serving, life after death. We live with these fears and they never seem to go away.

But on this day, this day of resurrection, in only the way you can, you have surprised us with news of great joy. The tomb is empty and Christ is risen! And like the women on that first Easter morning, we will leave from this place with something more than just fear. We will leave from here with great joy.

The fear of a fire burning down a cathedral quickly moves into the joy of a world coming together in a way no one thought was possible. The fear of not being able to pay off a three-year capital campaign quickly moves into the joy of a church coming together with additional generous gifts. The fear of not winning The Masters ever again quickly moves into the joy of a surprising victory. 

God of resurrection and new life, thank you for reminding us today that even though we live with both fear and joy in our day to day living, joy always wins because of the good news of Easter. 

May the joy of this special day continue to sustain us when fears overwhelm us, when death has its grip, when the morning feels like it will never come, and when all hope feels lost.

It is with this great joy, that we pray the words that Jesus taught us to pray together…

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

[Our chapel and sanctuary were beautifully decorated by faithful volunteers for our Easter Sunday celebration. The Easter Lillies were especially beautiful this year!]

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