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.

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