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Good Friday and Easter

Readings for reflection on Easter weekend

I trust you have had a blessed week, focusing on the final week of Jesus’ earthly life which culminates in the remembrance and celebration of Jesus’ death (on our behalf), burial (in our place), and resurrection (for our justification)!

Here is a reading, “Passover Lamb,” and a prayer, “Crucifixion and Resurrection,” for these days remembering Good Friday and the death of Jesus and celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus.

A Reading from the Book of Common Prayer (written by Thomas Cranmer, 1662), "Passover Lamb."

It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our whole heart and mind and voice,

to praise you, the invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;

for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the feast of the Passover

paid for us the debt of Adam's sin, and by his blood delivered your faithful people.

This is night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land . . .

How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.

How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away.

It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn.

It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.

How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God.

A prayer from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Banner of Truth, 1975), "Crucifixion and Resurrection."

O, LORD, I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate, be crucified, dead, and buried.

The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder, for it is empty and thou art risen; the four-fold gospel attests it, the living witnesses prove it, my heart's experience knows it.

Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life, for I wish to be as dead and buried to sin, to selfishness, to the world; that I might not hear the voice of the charmer, and might be delivered from his lusts.

O Lord, there is much ill about me - crucify it, much flesh within me - mortify it.

Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation, the shame of being thought old-fashioned, the desire to be cultivated or modern.

Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion, and never feed it as a living thing.

Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected, to be willing to take up unpopular truths, and to hold fast despised teachings until death.

Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.

Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.

Strengthen me for the battles ahead.

Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys.

Help me to be a holy, happy person, free from every wrong desire, from everything contrary to thy mind.

Grant me more and more of the resurrection life: may it rule me, may I walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence.

This article was first published on March 29, 2013.

Greg Strand

Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.

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