Early, Later, Finally (an Easter prayer for pastors)

And Very EarlyAfter the Sabbath,
and very early
on the first day of the week,
they came to the tomb
and saw that the stone
had been removed.

Very early,
while it is still dark,
we will rise, too,
arrange our papers,
kiss our dear ones,
and head for the park,
the river or the hilltop,
to sing
in the cool of morning
and welcome the Son.

Early,
after the dawn has broken,
we will unlock the doors,
breathe in the lilies
or avoid them if we must,
welcome the brass players,
and wonder if the words
we prepared will work
to proclaim the mystery
we cannot fully explain.

Later,
we will pray in the hallway,
or holding hands with the choir,
give thanks for the crowds,
though it’s not about numbers,
take stock of our vestments,
make sure we have the props
to tell the story to the children,
check for the last page of the sermon.

(All of them, really.)

Finally,
we will stand before the people
and declare what we believe
even if we cannot understand
how it is possible:
the one who had died is alive,
the stone has been rolled away,
the tomb is empty
and the Lord
is on the move.

(Who can believe it? We try.)

Still,
in the world we see horror,
people cruel to one another,
and to themselves, treating
Your children like strangers,
like enemies, like nothing,
and we want to say to You,
we need You on the move
among us, because we cannot
seem to do this thing right.

We need your help.

Somehow,
in the shouted Alleluias,
in the echo of organs
and the blast of trumpets
and the beauty of story
and the love song of liturgy,
move us out of the tomb
of hate and fear.

Roll away the stone
of safe distance
and perceived difference
and cognitive dissonance.

Work through us
and work on us,
we pray,
on this Easter day
and every day.
Amen.

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