Apr 22, 2017

Easter Confession: Faith to Believe

Here’s a prayer of confession for the Easter season from John Birch’s Faith and Worship website.

Prayer of Confession for the Easter Season

When our faith
stands at the grave,
for a stone that's rolled away,
forgive us.

When our faith
is short of
though the truth is there to see,
forgive us.

When our faith,
beset by doubt, sees
no further
than an empty tomb today,
forgive us.

Bring to mind
the cry of Mary,
‘I have seen the Lord!'
and grant us faith to believe!

~ written by John Birch, and posted on Faith and Worship. http://www.faithandworship.com/

Apr 21, 2017

Pastoral Prayer: Holy Humor Sunday

Here’s a thoughtful pastoral prayer/prayer of thanksgiving for Holy Humor Sunday from April Fiet. Holy Humor Sunday is often celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.

Pastoral Prayer for Holy Humour Sunday

O Lord, giver of joy and laughter, we thank you for giving us these gifts.

For the moments of laughter and unbridled joy you give to us:
  for opportunities to laugh at ourselves,
  for the belly laughs of children,
  for friends and family who love us because of our quirks,
    and not just in spite of them,
  for artists who give us the opportunity to see the world
    through the surreal,
  for the courage to smile even when difficulties arise,
  for those who have hope even when others think there is
    no hope,
  for saints in the Lord who overflow with laughter and
    spread your joy to all of us.

For the words of Jesus that defy our logical minds;
  for teaching us that we can be born again,
  for the woman who finds a lost coin and calls her
    friends and neighbors to celebrate,
  for the absurdity of a camel
    trying to fit through the eye of a needle,
  for the father of the Prodigal Son who is willing to look
    like a fool as he runs to greet his son,
  for the generosity of the landowner who will pay
    workers a whole day’s wage when they only worked one hour,
  for tiny bits of faith that can move entire mountains,
  for the reality that nothing can live unless it first dies.

For the great reversal of the Gospel:
  that the last shall be made first,
  that the rejected stone became the cornerstone,
  that those who wish to become great must serve,
  that the lost will be found,
  that the small will become great,
  that though you are Wisdom,
    you choose to forget our sins,
  that when we are weak, your strength shines through us.

O Lord, giver of joy and laughter,
we thank you for giving us
these gifts.

Thank you for the gift you give us
that allows us to enjoy these things to the full.
We can laugh because of the most amazing thing of all –
that you conquered death,
that the tomb is empty,
that light shone so bright
that it overcame the darkness.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

~ written by April Fiet, and posted on At the Table with April Fiet. http://aprilfiet.com/my-thoughts/laughing-church-holy-humor-sunday-resources

Apr 20, 2017

Call to Worship for Laughter Sunday

Here’s a call to worship for Holy Humor / Laughter Sunday inspired by Psalm 126.  It comes from the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kansas website.

Call to Worship
(inspired by Psalm 126)

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy.
When the Lord raised Jesus from the dead,
we were like those who dream.
Now our mouths are filled with laughter,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoice.
May all those who have sowed in tears
reap with shouts of happy hilarity.
Hip hip hooray!

~ posted on the website of the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, Kansas.  http://www.lorraineavenue.ks.us.mennonite.net/

Apr 17, 2017

Worship Resources for Holy Humor Sunday

If your church is celebrating Laughter Sunday (aka Holy Humor Sunday, Bright Sunday) this year, here are a few readings, prayers and litanies you might consider using in worship. All of them come from the Joyful Noiseletter – check their site for many more ideas!

Confession and Creed for Bright Sunday

We believe in God,
who made us in His image.

We live, we love, we laugh,
because we are like Him.

We believe in Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.

He had the last laugh on the devil
when He rose from the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.

Our counselor, our guide, our motivator –
He is our joy!

Forgive us, Lord, when we take ourselves too seriously,
when we don't claim the happiness that is rightfully ours
as your children,
when we forget that you will have the last laugh in this world.

Restore to us the joy of our salvation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Rev. Robert M. Thompson

Closing Prayer for Holy Humor Sunday

Lord, grant me a joyful heart and a holy sense of humor.
Please give me the gift of faith,
to be renewed and shared with others each day.
Teach me to live this moment only,
looking neither to the past with regret,
nor to the future with apprehension.
Let love be my guide, and my life a prayer.

Go in laughter; go in grace.
Keep the Lord in your heart
and a smile on your face.

~ from Holy Humor Sunday celebrations at Roscoe United Methodist Church, Illinios

Closing Responses for Holy Humor Sunday

O God,
on Easter the thunder of your voice
caused the stone to roll away from Christ's tomb.

Make the ground shake beneath us,
so that our feet shall dance,
so that we shall leap up and run out the door,
and carry love to a waiting world.

~ Rev. Barbara L. Housley, from Holy Humor Sunday celebrations at the Mountainhome United Methodist Church, Pennsylvania

For more Holy Humor / Laughter Sunday worship resources, click on “Laughter/Holy Humor” under the list of “Labels” on the right side of the page.

Apr 16, 2017

Prayer: in spite of us

Here’s a prayer of petition and commitment inspired by John 20:19-31, where Jesus encounters Thomas after the resurrection. It was written by Cheryl Lawrie, and posted on [hold this space].

(inspired by John 20:19-31)

In spite of our doubts,
may we recognize you in our midst:
wounded, bloody, and resurrected

in spite of our doubts,
may we know when we come face to face
with the love that is greater than all deaths

in spite of our doubts,
may we reach out to touch the wounds of the world’s pain
trusting that when grace and love surround them
they will become part of Christ’s resurrected body.

and in spite of our doubts,
may we live as though we are, too.

~ written by Cheryl Lawrie, and posted on [hold this space] http://holdthisspace.org.au/