Prayer on the Raising of Lazarus

The appointed lesson for the first Sunday in Lent, February 18, in the Narrative Lectionary is John 11:1-44. Jesus goes to Bethany when his friend Lazarus dies. He is greeted my Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, who are grieved and distraught. The story is a reminder of the reality of death and the promise of new life, a shadowing of the life of Jesus we remember during Lent as with journey with Jesus toward Holy Week and Resurrection.

The following is a Prayer of Great Thanksgiving for use in worship or devotion, to be prayed in conjunction with the Gospel lesson. (For those using this prayer in Holy Communion, the sursum corda has been omitted, and the traditional sanctus and memorial acclamation have been abbreviated or altered.)


It is good and right to give thanks, we say, O God,
and yet our journey is marked with so much sorrow.

Death has lurked behind since the days when
stories were told around fires roasting meat.
Death has lurked within us since the days when
we first felt greed and hate and disgust.
Death still lurks below us as we walk upon
the dust from which we came and to which we shall return.

Only you and your promise of life remains.
Only you and your wind of love remains.
Only you and your power of hope remains.

So we sing through our tears, “Holy!”

And yet,
If only you had been there, O Christ,
wouldn’t this have been prevented?
If only you had been there, O Christ,
couldn’t this have been different?
If only you had been there, O Christ,
wouldn’t life still remain?

You speak, and we are hushed.
“I am resurrection.
I am life.”

So we sing through our tears, “I believe.”

Holy Spirit, aren’t you the witness of life?
Holy Spirit, aren’t you the witness of hope?
Holy Spirit, aren’t you the witness of peace?

Become to us and for us and in us the life of Christ,
that we may be for the world the hope of Christ,
that the world may find all around the peace of Christ.

Amen.

A New Direction

Dear friends,

Many of you have journeyed with me since this website began in 2009 as MissionalWorship.com. It started as a consulting and coaching service for congregations looking to engage in worship renewal. In the past decade it has changed shape a few times, all the while maintaining an emphasis on training and apprenticing congregations in faithful worship.

Since last year I have been engaging in deep reflection on my role in the life of the church. I am a pastor and an academic, but have felt lost and adrift personally and vocationally for some time. It has been a difficult period as I’ve lost friends and battled within myself to come to terms with a new reality. As I have done the difficult work of discernment, I have discovered that my place in the church is not what I imagined it to be. I am working to cut loose the tight bonds of dreams that no longer burn in my soul but that I felt an obligation to fulfill.

This website will become a simpler place as I work through my own reflections on  worship and the nature of Christian ministry in a world full of chaos, aggression, and grief. You will notice that all previous posts and pages on the site have been archived. This is a day of new beginnings, as the hymn says. I don’t know the exact shape of things to come. I imagine it will be part reflection, part prayer, part poetry. It will be messy, much like the crafting of worship that I continue to do each week in parish ministry. In the end, I hope you will continue to journey with me.

With gratitude,
Christopher