“The translation (of the Greek word) Anastasis as Resurrection is correct. But any designation of the subject matter of iconography as Descent or Harrowing of Hell misrepresents and distorts the message of the chosen label Anastasis. The title and the subject matter of this image refer not to the Descent of Christ into Hell, Hades, Limbo, or Inferno, but to the raising of Christ and raising of the dead…In the image of the Anastasis, Adam stands for Everyone…”anastasis” refers simultaneously to the Resurrection of Christ, Adam, and mankind.” (Anna D Kartsonis, Anastasis: The Making of an Image)
Presider: In the name of God, Fountain of Compassion and Mercy, of Jesus our Brother who is the Cosmic Christ, and of the Holy Spirit Sofia raising us to new understanding. All: Amen.
Opening Prayer All: Beloved God of universal resurrection, you have been revealed in Christ Jesus as he rises to bring us the message of forgiveness and all-embracing love. May we who have passed with him from death to life in the mysteries we have celebrated, be signs of your life and our Oneness with you. We ask this through Jesus, our risen savior. Amen.
Renewal of our Baptismal Promises-The call to be a Christian in the 21stcentury and Living the Resurrection of the Cosmic Christ
Co-Presider: Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity, living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God? All: I do.
Co-Presider: Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among all peoples, rejecting the idols of money, property, color, sex and position? All: I do.
Co-Presider: Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity? All: I do.
Co-Presider: Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water and fire? All: I do.
Co-Presider: Do you believe in the Holy One, the Source of all life, in Jesus our brother who loved and lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of the Holy One’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation? All: I do.
ALL: Glory to God, glory; O praise God alleluia, glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God, 3x (sung)
Readings: see separate sheet.
Presider: Aware that God, who seeks each of us out, holding our hand, a defender of all who need healing, the oppressed and pursuer of justice, we now bring the needs of the suffering, in our church and world, before you. Response: God of Universal resurrection, hear our prayer.
Voice: For those who have been rejected and demonized, our brothers and sisters who are LGBTQ, persons of color and followers of the Muslim faith, we pray for acceptance and fullness of life. God of Universal resurrection, hear our prayer.
Voice: For all those who are hungry, lonely, homeless and for all those without basic human needs. God of Universal resurrection, hear our prayer.
Presider: For other intentions…
Presider O Holy One, we walk in our Christian faith this Easter season knowing that for you nothing is impossible and we can care for others in need through the power of Jesus’ Spirit Sofia working in us. ALL: Amen
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Co-Presider: Blessed are you, O God, Beloved Creator of all. This bread is your MMOJ community living our Universal Resurrection, ministering with others in our community and throughout our country. Through your divine providence, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life. All: Blessed be God forever.
Co-Presider: Blessed are you, O God, gathering all of humanity and creation in with no exceptions. This wine is our desire to come closer to you especially as we journey this Easter season towards renewal of Sofia’s coming upon us. Through your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Co-Presider: Divine Presence, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus Christ in communion with all who live as the Compassionate presence of God in our world; those yet to be born, those who are living and those who have died. ALL: Amen.
Voice: Holy One, You stirred the waters of creation, and you dwell in us. All: And in every living being.
Voice: Lift up your hearts. All: We lift them up to our Creator in whom all are one.
Voice: Let us give thanks for the Breath of life in all forms throughout the Universe. All: It is right to give glory to God, present everywhere and in everything, with thanks and praise.
All (sing): We are holy (3x); You are holy (3x); I am holy (3x); We are holy (3x). (Karen Drucker.)
ALL: Holy One, we bring you these gifts that they may become the Christ Presence. Fill us with reverence for all creatures, great and small.
ALL: (extend arms): On the night before Jesus died, while at supper with his friends, he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to us saying: Take this all of you, and eat. Do this in memory of me. (pause)
All: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said: Take this all of you and drink. Do this in memory of me.
Co-Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith. All: This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body in communion with all creation at all times through the universal resurrection of our Cosmic Christ Jesus.
Voice 1: Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that our bodies are made of stardust and that every place we turn, you are present, loving us. You invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our Oneness with all of your Creation and living things in your divine love.
Voice 2: Risen Christ, we remember that it was you who said: “Anything I have done in the name of the Creator, you can do too…and even more.” So, we remember all those in our world who are working for environmental healing, human rights and justice for all.
Voice 3: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple, and we remember St. Francis who sang canticles to brother sun and sister moon. May we praise you in union with them and live your compassion now.
(lifting up the bread and wine) All: Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in unity with Sofia, Holy Spirit, all glory, honor and praise to you, loving God, forever and ever. ALL: (sung): Amen (5x)
ALL: Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven….
Sign of Peace
Co-Presider: Risen Jesus bringing resurrection to all of humanity through all time and to the universe itself; you said to your disciples and to we gathered here, “My peace I leave you, my peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all those gathered here.
ALL: Grant us your peace. Help us to spread your peace throughout the world, always and everywhere, no exceptions, we are all your beloved sisters and brothers. Amen
Co-Presider: May the peace of God be always with us on our resurrection journey. We will start by offering a sign of that peace among ourselves holding hands and singing…
Hymn: “Peace is Flowing Like a River…joy”
Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
ALL: Christ of the Cosmos, may we live our oneness with you and all creation, past, present and future…may we work for the healing of the earth…may we celebrate justice rising up in a global communion everywhere. Amen.
Co-Presider: This is the Cosmic Christ in whom all creation lives and moves and has its being. All are invited to share in this banquet of love and celebrate our oneness with all living beings on the planet and everlasting resurrection. All: We are the Body of Christ.
Prayer after Communion
All: Creator and Lover of the Universe, fill us with awe at your extravagant love flowing through us. May we immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature speaking to us each day experiencing resurrection in our mind, body and soul. We ask this through our brother Jesus, in union with Sofia, God of Wisdom. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving
Co-Presiders: Our Cosmic Christ is with us. All: and loves through us.
All: Christ has come back as spring comes back out of the ground, renewing the earth with life, Jesus continues renewing life in our hearts. We in turn through the generations continually renew one another’s lives in his compassion, for we are his Resurrection for the world. Our universal resurrection is always on going, always giving back Christ’s life to the world. Amen
All (with arms extended): The blessing of God who is eternal resurrection be upon us as we go in the peace of the Cosmic Christ to live justice and mercy! Thanks be to God.
Co-Presiders: Let us go forth in peace and share the good news: The Risen Jesus is with us today and for all time. All: Thanks be to God. Let it be so! Alleluia, Alleluia.
Adapted from the liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan, 2017 www.arcwp.org
Readings for April 5th Celebrating our Universal Resurrection
Introduction: a reading from Resurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision, by John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Sexton Crossan: (p 175-176)
For Jesus the (kindom) of God is already present, but only if, when, and as humans accept it, participate in it, collaborate with it, enter into it, and take it upon themselves. It is, in other words, a process over human time and not just an instant in divine time. Similarly, therefore, with the universal resurrection as part of God’s (kindom) on earth. It too is process and not just instant; it is program and not just instantaneous event. It begins with Jesus but cannot be individual for him alone. It must be universal for all those who have died before him. Easter is not an individual “Ascension” for Jesus, but the start of the universal “Resurrection” with Jesus.
This for example, is why Paul argues in 1 Corinthians that Christ’s Resurrection and the universal resurrection stand or fall together: “If there is no resurrection of the dead (GR: anastasis nekron), then Christ has not been raised.” (15:13). Paul –as a ‘Christian Jewish Pharisee—could never isolate Christ’s Resurrection as special individual privilege for him alone. That would an “Ascension.” Christ’s “Resurrection” is something far, far greater than that. It is the Resurrection of all humanity, in with, by, and through Christ.
Again, therefore, in the correct translation of Romans 1:4, Paul declares that Christ “was declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection of the dead ones (anastasis nekron).” Paul does not say “by his resurrection from among the dead ones,” or “by his resurrection from death” or most simply, “by his resurrection.” Paul repeats that Greek phrase, “resurrection of the dead ones” in 1 Cor 15:12, 13, 21, 42. Paul is describing a universal rather than an individual resurrection of Christ.
A reading from Holy Solitude by Heidi Haverkamp, Episcopal priest
No one would choose a transformation through imprisonment, but a life without freedom is reality for many people whether in a prison cell, …or other form of entrapment. We are never trapped in a solitude that is beyond God’s reach, however, God is sovereign, even in the face of terrible captivity, and goes with human beings into every prison, physical or spiritual, whether or not there is hope of freedom one day. Jesus went through imprisonment only to be sent to his crucifixion; but on the other side, after anguish and death, God’s power brought him to resurrection. May you feel hope for yourself, whatever entrapment you may face in your own life. The inspired word of Heidi Haverkamp. (p 96) All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm Response #33 (by Nan Merrill)
Response: Rejoice in the Beloved, O you holy ones! Praise is a grace of the loving.
For the work of the Creator is truth, and all creation reflects the Faithfulness of God. Justice and mercy, we render to the Holy One, to the Universe filled with Divine Love. Response: Rejoice in the Beloved, O you holy ones! Praise is a grace of the loving.
For, the Beloved dwells I every heart that is open and receptive; Into our hands, into our hearts, dos the Beloved surrender that we might do with Love what we will. Response: Rejoice in the Beloved, O you holy ones! Praise is a grace of the loving.
Our soul yearns for the Beloved, for peace, joy and assurance. Then will our hearts be glad and sing songs of gratitude, Praising the name of our Loving Creator. May every nation come to live in the steadfast Love and Wisdom of the Spirit of Truth! May all peoples work with Love Divine! Response: Rejoice in the Beloved, O you holy ones! Praise is a grace of the loving.
The Gospel of Matthew 27:50-54 Once again, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, then he gave up his spirit. Suddenly, the curtain in front of the Holy of Holies was ripped in half from top to bottom. The earth quaked, boulders were split, and tombs were opened. Many bodies of holy ones who had fallen asleep were raised. After Jesus’ resurrection, they came out of their tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and his cohort, who were standing guard over Jesus’ body, were terror-stricken at seeing the earth quake and all that was happening, and said, “Clearly, this was God’s Own!” The Good News of Jesus our Brother and Redeemer. All: Glory and praise to Jesus, our Risen Brother.