An Easter Morning Litany
As I wrote this litany throughout this past week, I was reminded of and drawn back to these pictures that I took 10+ years ago in Greece. It was the tail end of a trip with St. Stephen's University that was transformative in many regards and so lavish in friendship. My children have come to expect Mama's lighting of morning candles and prayers, and this trip is mostly to blame for it. Rhythms of our day that can certainly become empty ritual, but can also become simple anchors in the rigour of living. To the left of the doorway in the top picture reads, "Jesus Christ, the conqueror." The word, 'conqueror' has become a bit of an uncomfortable word in our culture, myself included. It can certainly conjure up many emotions, but I was prompted again to reflect on what exactly Jesus conquered. His victory was not accomplished by brandishing the very weapons and systems of violence that put him to death. Quite the opposite.
In reading the gospel account in John, I was also struck afresh by Mary's witness to the resurrected Jesus. It first begins with her weeping alone, staring into a stone-cold and empty tomb. Even Easter morning is blanketed with grief and despair. My husband reflected this weekend that this Easter feels like a Holy Saturday. Yes, even on the day we celebrate and proclaim a Love that conquers, we are still blinking shell-shocked at the resurrected body of our Lord. The joy we experience today does not negate the grief and neither does the grief negate the joy. If this litany finds its way into your homes, gathering tables, or communities of faith, I would love to hear from you. Grace, peace, and Easter joy to you today.
AN EASTER MORNING LITANY
by: Erika Kobewka
Grief, sorrow, heartache, travailing moans, and mourning blanket the earth like
dew. The first flickers of light bleed over and into the darkness of night, glowing
brighter, and brighter, then brighter still. Look—as the sun rises, sorrowful
heaviness is evaporating in the warmth of daybreak. God’s shining and glorious
new dawn is on the horizon. Christ the Lord is risen today,
Christ has lived,
Emmanuel, our God who is near.
Christ has died,
Saviour of the world, our Wounded Healer.
Christ has risen.
He is risen, indeed.
Life, oh blessed Life: awakened Life, risen Life, victorious Life, resurrected Life,
renewed Life, triumphant Life, Life-full-Life bursts forth from the tomb this morning.
From dark, shadowy, and lonely places. From cold, dead-and-finished bones.(1)
Our Lord is alive.
Behold your Christ, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb who was slain:
Jesus who has suffered at the hands of a violent world. Jesus who has
triumphed over the same systems of power and violence. Jesus our victorious
conqueror, who has overturned death itself without raising a sword. God’s
Never-Stopping, Never-Giving-Up (2), Great Love for the world has been pulsing
and at work even when all life and breath has stopped, yes, even there. God’s
love has walked to the brink of death and then plunged headlong into it. Purest
Jesus, You held us to the end and you hold us in the rising.
‘Behold, what Love can do. Behold, He’s making all things new.’ *
Christ rises, and His risen life meets us here. Tomb-side in the garden alone and
afraid. In the quiet and melancholy homes, backyards, solitary wide open spaces
and walls-closing-in spaces of (Treaty 6 Territory, Stony Plain, St Albert,
Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Leduc, Wetaskawin, and Old Strathcona). In the
tumult of our hearts’ deepest needs and fears.
Christ’s risen life meets us here.
Christ has lived, Christ has died, Christ has risen,
He is risen, indeed!
(1) John 19:30
(2) Taken from the Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
*Taken from Taylor Leonhardt’s song ‘Behold’
( ) You are welcome to add places in your own area in the world