21st Century Africana Liturgy Resources for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
This is a choral (group) reading. Have readers seated in the pews throughout the church. When it is their time for the service to begin, have the readers start. Readers remain seated until their time to read. They stand when they read and then walk into the aisle when they finish. If you would like, the musician may play soft music with the reading.
Reader 1: I will follow you to the temple, Lord, to learn the way of the Word. I will follow and be more like you.
Reader 2: I will follow you into the wilderness, Lord, if it means I will find strength to resist temptation. I will follow and be more like you.
Reader 3: I will follow you to dine with the tax collector, Lord, if it means I will learn to love all of your people. I will follow and be more like you.
Reader 4: I will follow you onto the water, Lord, even though I'm afraid to walk on the waves. If it means Ill grow to trust you more, I will follow and be more like you.
Reader 5: I will follow you to the Upper Room, Lord, if it means I will feast with you and wash feet to serve you. I will follow and be more like you.
All Readers: We will follow you to Golgotha, Lord.
Now begin the regular processional. If you have acolytes or cross-bearers, have them lead the way. The readers will follow to the front of the sanctuary reciting/reading the rest of their script solemnly, as if following Christ to the Crucifixion. As the readers reach the front, they should kneel facing the altar. Or, if you prefer, each reader can carry something to place on the altar to dress the altar once he or she gets up front.
Reader 5: We will carry a cross for those who still suffer
Reader 4: On the soils where starvation, poverty, and disease steal the lives of your people.
Reader 3: On the sands where war and fighting rule the hearts of your people.
Reader 2: On the pavements where homeless sleep, drug dealers creep, and gunfire destroys.
Reader 1: Even if it means we will have to suffer in their place.
All Readers: We will follow you to Golgotha, Lord, and be more like you.
Invite the congregation to stand and read the final section, which is printed in the bulletin. All readers will stand with the congregation and read joyfully. They may return to their seats after the congregation reads.
Leader: We will follow you to the Resurrection!
Congregation: We will follow you to the third day, Lord. We rejoice because you live so that we can face tomorrow! We will follow you to Resurrection and be more like you!
Tell us, where would we be without your laying your life down for us?
We'd be broken people, enslaved people with backs beaten,
Oppressed people walking without hope, dying people.
Because you live, we follow you into Resurrection.
The name we claim as our own is Easter People.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
Prayer of Confession
We want to follow you, Lord, but we confess that we do not always live into your glorious Resurrection. Interrupt our plans and increase in our hearts. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
When we eat this bread,
We claim to be your sheep.
We say we know your voice
Because we claim you as our Shepherd.
When we drink this cup,
We claim to be your beloved.
We say we will follow your ways.
Let the words we claim be the life we live.
About the Author:Ciona Rouse is a freelance writer and a former staff member of the Discipleship Ministries, Nashville, TN.