As we enter into Holy Week, we offer you this liturgy from Every Moment Holy, Volume II to be read and relished on Easter Sunday. The text is provided here in this blog post, as well as a link to download a PDF if you’d like to print it out or save it offline. We strongly encourage reading it together with a small group of friends and/or family.
Four readers should be designated in advance for the scripture readings. The prelude prayer may be read aloud by the leader or silently contemplated by the participants before the first scripture reading.
Prelude Prayer: Sing through me, O Spirit of God. Call forth songs of praise. Let my lips, my tongue, my life proclaim the glories of the Living One who died and conquered death; the Risen One who leads me into life.
Leader: You have made all things well, O Christ! People: You have made all things well!
What once was lost, you have reclaimed. What had been harmed, you will remake. What was unwell, you now restore. You make all things well!
First reader: Hear the word of the Lord: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. —Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV)
Leader: We, your creatures, O Christ, once endured the cringing lives of slaves, in a long bondage bereft of hope, bowed by the weight of grief, subjected to futility, fettered to our fear of death. But you did not abandon us. You were not content to cede one speck of ground to the enemy of souls, or to the cruel kingdom of death. You were ever mindful of our plight.
All praise to you, Lord Christ!
For it was your intention from creation’s dawn, not only to make all things, but to make all things right. When your works were despoiled and wrecked by sin and death, you undertook to save and to reclaim what you had first made good. You entered into this—our space and time—to act on our behalf.
You took on body, blood, and breath, that you, clothed in our condition, might move in sympathy to save and shelter us. For in the living temple of your flesh, perfect justice and perfect mercy were met and there—in the shedding of your blood— they were forever reconciled in love. So you subdued the sting of sin.
By death, you conquered death. You rescued us from the fear of death, and from its power. You have made all things well, O Christ! You have made all things well.
Silence is kept.
Second reader: Hear the word of the Lord: This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. —2 Timothy 1:9b-10 (NIV)
Leader: The powers of darkness sought to swallow you, in death’s black waters, O Christ. But going under that flood, you drank death down like a river. You drank death’s reservoir dry.
All praise to you, Lord Christ!
You swallowed death for us, and by that act of willing sacrifice, you pushed death back upon itself, like the last lapping wave at the turning of the tide; that high water mark now fading, as death’s dominion ebbs out for all time, its power to terrorize God’s people forever destroyed by God’s own passage through it.
Through death, O Lord, you gave us life! You have made all things well, Eternal King! You have made all things well, O Christ!
Death’s dark shroud has been rent ragged and pierced through by the first dawning of your resurrection light. And after your return, after the final splintering of that dark night, death will possess no lasting fame; the works of death will win no glory for its name. Hear this promise, O children of God, hear and know: Death will surely die forever, his shoddy works undone, his usurped crown torn from his palsied grasp, his impotence unmasked, his power to harm shattered for all eternity like shards of thinnest glass. Receive the glory due your name, Lord Christ!
The grip of death already slips. It cannot slow the steady progress of the resurrection, now advancing, one day to be made visible in the full outworking of its infinite glad implications. The door that led to death has been remade by Christ into the door that opens into everlasting life.
You have made all things well. You have made all things well, O Christ!
Silence is kept.
Third reader: Hear the word of the Lord: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. —Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Leader: Now, O King of All of Space and Time, raise your scepter, declare the advent of the age of the healing and remaking of the world, of the great rejoining of these realms of earth and heaven, of the eternal dwelling of God with his people in this reconstructed temple of Creation.
We who live in this shadowland of death’s last stand, await your appearance and command, O Lord! Every longing of our souls, every molecule of our physical bodies, is crying out for, yearning for, reaching for, tilted toward, the irresistible gravity of your being and your glory.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
We await your speaking of the word that will roll up death like an old, disintegrating scroll, bind it with iron bands, and cast it into flames. Christ alone will wear the crown!
Christ alone is worthy of the name above all names. Every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim the rightness of his coronation.
All sorrows we endure for now are but the rattling gasp that signals death’s defeat.
Christ’s heel is planted on death’s neck. Death cannot breathe. And this space in which we grieve is but the long exhale of death’s last expiring breath. This age of passing sorrows is but the long death rattle of death itself. The outcome bears no hint of doubt. The work is done. The victory is won. So death will be undone. All works of death will be undone.
And we, whose lives are hid with Christ, in God, will rise to live, eternal, every one.
You have made all things well, O Christ! You have made all things well!
Silence is kept.
Fourth reader: Hear the word of the Lord: We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. —Romans 6:9 (NIV)
Leader: The victory is yours, O King! Now claim what is your own! Every inch of earth, all the span of heaven, fields and skies and stars and seas, all continents and forests, all nebulae and galaxies, all creatures and peoples, all principalities and governments, all of time and history, all wonders and mysteries, all loves, all hearts, all lives—
All this is yours! The crown, the throne, the prize! The name above all names! The kingdom and the joy! The glory and the praise!
The victory over death! The conquering of the grave!
O King of Kings, we offer our eternal adoration!
Now let your resurrection at last be worked through all the fabric of creation, till every fiber, every atom, every particle in play, is bathed in holy light, consecrated forever as your own. Till every sorrow we’ve sustained is redeemed, restored, renamed; till ones we’ve loved and lost and grieved are joined to us again; till all the brokenness that breaks our world is by your word made whole.
You have made all things well, O Lord of Life! O King of Creation! O Christ Who Conquered Death! You have made all things well!
You are the radiant end toward which all creation tends. In you dwells the fullness of God, and through you all things are reconciled to God.
You are the beginning, and the firstborn from among the dead. You are the firstborn over all creation. You are the church’s living head. In all things you are supreme. All glory is your own eternal glory.
You are faithful and true. You have kept your promises. You have done what you said. You have rescued your children and your creation from the futility, from the fear, and from the lingering kingdom of death.
You have done what you said. You have made all things well, O King of Earth and Heaven! You have made all things well!
O Christ who gives us life, we give you praise!
First reader: Hear the word of the Lord: I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. —John 11:25
Second reader: Hear the word of the Lord: On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. . . In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” —Isaiah 25:7-8a, 9 (NIV)
Third reader: Hear the word of the Lord: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. —1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
Fourth reader: Hear the word of the Lord: I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. —Revelation 1:18 (NIV)
Silence is kept.
The closing section might also be memorized and prayed as often as one is confronted with any works of death yet briefly evident in this world.
Crush this age-old darkness, O Christ, in the winepress of your everlasting light. Trample this old darkness and from it draw the wine of everlasting life.
Upend all works of death. Make all things new. Make all things right.
You have made all things well. You have made all things well.
All: You have made all things well, O Christ!
Hope is kept.