A Prayer for Pastors on Easter

prayer hands

A Prayer for Pastors on Easter by Brian McLaren

Dear Lord, I pray for all the pastors today
Who will feel enormous pressure to have their sermon
Match the greatness of the subject
and will surely feel they have failed.
(I pray even more for those who think they have succeeded.)

Help them to know that it is enough
Simply and faithfully to tell the story
Of women in dawn hush …
Of men running half-believing …
Of rolled stones and folded grave-clothes …
Of a supposed gardener saying the name of a crying woman …
Of sad walkers encountering a stranger on the road home …
Of an empty tomb and overflowing hearts.

Give them the wisdom to know that sincere humility and awe
Surpass all homiletic flourish
On this day of mysterious hope beyond all words.

Make them less conscious of their responsibility to preach,
And more confident of the Risen Christ
Whose presence trumps all efforts to proclaim it.

Considering all the Easter choirs who will sing beautifully, and those who won’t,
And all the Easter prayers that will soar in faith, and those that will stumble and flounder,
And all the Easter attendance numbers and offering numbers that will exceed expectations
And those that will disappoint …
I pray they all will be surpassed by the simple joy
Of women and men standing in the presence of women and men,
Daring to proclaim and echo the good news:
Risen indeed! Alleluia!

For death is not the last word.
Violence is not the last word.
Hate is not the last word.
Money is not the last word.
Intimidation is not the last word.
Political power is not the last word.
Condemnation is not the last word.
Betrayal and failure are not the last word.
No: each of them are left like rags in a tomb,
And from that tomb,
Arises Christ,
Alive.

Help the preachers feel it,
And if they don’t feel it, help them
Preach it anyway, allowing themselves
To be the receivers as well as the bearers of the Easter
News.
Alleluia!

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.

2 Responses to A Prayer for Pastors on Easter

  1. Dave Bayer March 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Your sermon today clearly met the greatness of the subject. Thank you!! What a glorious Easter at First Pres.

  2. Laurie Fuller April 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Your sermon in the park was wonderful. I felt all the greatness of Jesus and our God Almighty. Thank you!

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