Click HERE to listen to Devon Anderson’s Trinity Sunday Sermon at Trinity Episcopal Church in Excelsior, MN. If you think sermons are boring… and you’re willing to consider the thought that sometimes humor is the closest thing to faith, tune in!
What would happen if the children wrote all the prayers? Children age 3 through 5th Grade at Trinity Episcopal wrote The Prayers of the People used in worship the last few weeks. Each prayer was followed by a brief reflective silence. One of the children led the prayers.
Let us pray for our neighbors and our neighborhood.
Let us pray for our families and friends: our mommies and daddies, our grandparents and great-grandparents.
Let us pray for the world and the universes.
Let us pray for our pets and the animals of the world: Millie, Cokie, puppies and cats.
Let us pray for those who have illnesses, our sick grandparents, heart disease, cancer, and memory loss.
Let us pray for those going through rough times, mentally and physically.
Let us pray for those who have died everywhere and those who have died that are close to us.
Let us pray for everyone.
[The Prayers of the People concluded with a prayer written by the priest who works with these little ones:]
Holy and gracious God, we are too often blinded by trivial matters. May our attention be diverted now from these things, and may we become as little children, trusting and seeking with love to cross bridges we have not crossed in the past.
Tears welled up last Sunday listening to the Gospel reading for Passion Sunday: Palm Sunday. The reading was LONG, but it didn’t matter. It pierces the heart, step by step – the human psyche revealed under an electron microscope, humanity on parade. All in one long reading. The tears that welled up Sunday didn’t fall, but they will later this week during Tenebrae, the service of Light and Shadow by the end of which the church is left in darkness, every worshiper’s candle extinguished by recognition of our participation in betrayal, sleeplessness, flight, and denial. One by one, the individual candles get blown out. All of them.
Holy Week for liturgical Christians is a solemn time of confession. There is no escaping our participation in the passion: our readiness to betray, doze off when asked to “watch with me one hour”, flee in fear for security, throw the switch, consciously or unconsciously, into psychological and public denial. Yet there is, at the same time over it all, the faithfulness, the wakefulness, the courage, the embrace of reality in its horror for the sake of love’s transforming power, the light of Christ himself.
Christians live in the dynamic paradox of faithlessness and faithfulness, sin and grace. We include a Prayer of Confession in the Sunday liturgy. Last Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, the Prayer of Confession, which came following a dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative, expressed the conscious and unconscious nature of sin and grace.
God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. Some sins are plain to us, some sins escape us, some we cannot face. We repent of the sin that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil don on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may not turn from your love, but serve only your will. Amen.
We barely know ourselves. Some sins are plain to us. Some escape us. Others are too painful to face. Holy Week is time to wade into the waters of self-reflection, confident that these waters are the healing waters of the deeper Self, the crucified-risen One who cannot finally be betrayed, fled, denied, or killed.