Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, she'hehiyanu v'kiy'manu v'higi'anu la z'man ha ze.
Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
God of Easter, we come before you in this season of new life, new hopes, new possibilities.
We bring with us our hopes and our dreams, our fears and our nightmares, our joys and our sorrows.
God of Creation, in this time together we give thanks for all the gifts with which we have been blessed.
For the wonders of a sunrise, the sweetness of bird song, the joyful laughter of children, the scent of spring rain, for everything that makes life full and abundant we sings songs of praise, we shout words of thanks.
And in our thankfulness, we pray for and with those who have reason to celebrate this day.
We join with those who see signs of new life around them,
those who dance for joy,
those who celebrate the presence of love in their lives,
those whose hearts are bursting with joy and hope.
May we all have those days when hope and joy and laughter rule our lives.
And yet, God of life, there are days...
days when we want to shut out the world and crawl back under the covers...
days when our most fervent prayer is “could we have this as a do-over?”
days when the world simply doesn't make sense
days when the unfairness that seems inherent in life overwhelms us
And so, God who is with us each step of the way,
we hold in our prayers those who are having some of those days.
In particular we pray with and for all those who have been struck by the events we have read about in the news this past week...
We remember the Boston marathon, and explosions, and the aftermath.
And we pray for healing in body, mind, and soul.
We pray that justice tempered with mercy wins out over the desire for vengeance and payback.
We remember the people of West, Texas, and an explosion, and the aftermath.
And we pray for healing in the midst of grief,
for a path that leads through the valley of the shadow and back into the light of hope.
We remember people around the world whose lives are constantly broken by
poverty, or war, or explosions, people who live where we would not be caught dead.
And we pray that they would experience healing, that sense would come to their world.
We remember people in our own community whose lives have been bent, maybe even broken:
those struggling with mental or physical health issues;
those seeking a place to sleep, a meal to eat;
those having to prepare to say good-bye to a loved one;
those who have gathered at graveside for that farewell.
May all who struggle in life in any corner of the globe, know that they are not alone.
May they feel the love that enfolds and surrounds them, a love so broad and wide it can never let us go.
God of life, you watched us grow in our mother's wombs,
you know us better than we allow ourselves to be known,
and so you know our deepest hopes, our darkest fears, you know the things we dare not put into words,
the things we pray in the silence of our hearts ... time of silence...
God of hope, God of life, God who has Created and is Creating,
All of these things, all of our lives, we lay before you
in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our teacher, our guide, our rock and redeemer,
who lived and died and lives again so that we might find the path that leads to the Kingdom.