Sing aloud, O Mothers and Fathers!

A litany for Easter services, by Margaret D. McGee.

Sing aloud, O mothers and sons! Fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers, rejoice and exult with all your hearts! Let us offer our prayers and thanksgivings with one voice, calling out the good news —

The tomb stands empty!

We look for our Savior among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in our midst today.

We pray for all faithful people — for every human soul that turns to God in longing and in love. Today and every day, pull us out of our graves and into your life.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Redeemer among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and among us today.

We pray for the nations of the earth — for those in authority, and for those under authority. Come from the four winds, O Breath of Life, and we shall live together in peace.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Mediator among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and within us today.

We pray for this world, our garden home — for the rain and the snow, the seed and the sprout — for the birthing room and the last place of rest — for every new creation.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Gardener among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and beside us today.

We pray for those who are sick or suffering — for anyone who needs extra help just now. We pray especially for those named here today, aloud and in our hearts…  (pause for names to be said or remembered)  …

Living Lord, renew them in Your love.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Sustainer among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and with us today.

We pray for those who have died, and for all who mourn. We pray especially for those named here today, aloud and in our hearts…  (pause for names)  …

Eternal One, bring them home and gather them in.

The tomb stands empty.

We look for our Beloved among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in the midst of us today.

With joy and exultation, we give thanks for the triumph of life over death, offering special thanks for those joys, sorrows, challenges and delights named here today, aloud and in our hearts…  (pause for thanksgivings)  …

We are amazed at what has happened.

The tomb stands empty!

We look for our Creator among the living.

Jesus Christ is alive and in our hearts today.

Holy One, even before we call, you answer; while we are yet speaking, you hear. We offer up these prayers in the name of the Risen Christ — our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend.

Amen.

This litany was first used in the Easter Vigil and Easter Day services, April 3-4, 2010, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington.

More about responsive prayer.

Biblical references & inspiration:
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!  Zephaniah 3:14

On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.  Luke 24:1-2

… “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen….  Luke 24:5

The Lord, your God is in your midst … he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love …  Zephaniah 3:17

… I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves. … I am the Lord … O my people, I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.  Ezekiel 37:12-14:

… Come from the four winds, O breath, … that they may live.  Ezekiel 37: 9

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word … shall not return to me empty.  Isaiah 55:10-11.

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth…  Isaiah 65:17

At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you.  Zephaniah 3:20

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.  Luke 24:12.

Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.  Isaiah 65:24

About Margaret D. McGee