Our parish has decided to follow up our “Quiet Lent” series with “Out Loud Easter.” During Lent, we did all sorts of forms of quiet prayer to prepare ourselves for worship; during Out Loud Easter, will will bring our thanks and praise to God out loud. During Lent, we were silent during the offering; during Out Loud Easter, our offering will include a loud mission offering of coins in metal buckets. During Lent, we received our Food for the Journey and dismissed the congregation in a quiet way; during Out Loud Easter, we will go “on our way rejoicing” with noisemakers and Alleluias! Below, find some of the resources that we will be using during this season.
Out Loud Thanksgiving Prayers:
Members of the congregation will be invited to offer their prayers of thanksgiving in written form on cards that look like this:
Here is the file to print your own: Easter Thanksgivings
The children and youth of the congregation will be invited to write or draw their thanksgivings on cards that look like this:
Here is the file to print your own (I am planning to print them on a different color of card stock each week): Easter Butterflies
Once these cards are filled out, we will pin them to several bulletin boards and pray them out loud. In between each set of prayers, I will say, “We pray this in Jesus’ name” and the congregation will respond “Alleluia!” The children and youth will shake noisemakers to make our responses extra loud! You can find a post about making noisemakers here: https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/walk-for-water-encouragers-water-bottle-noisemakers/
You can also use bells, drums, purchased party horns, or whatever else you like! We will also use these noisemakers during the Dismissal at the end of the service.
I have seen this offering done at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Hastings, Nebraska, and am excited to bring it to our parish. During the offering that the adults give, children and youth will be invited to the front to deposit coins in tin buckets. I imagine that it will be loud, indeed!
Doing offering this way serves three purposes. First, it is a kind of “seventh inning stretch” to get the wiggles out just before the long prayers or communion. Getting up and moving helps our children and youth to refocus.
Second, it teaches our children and youth that their giving of offering is important. The earlier that we teach our children to give joyfully to God what he has first given to us, the better.
Third, this offering will be a mission offering. The Sunday School teachers have chosen ELCA World Hunger Appeal’s “God’s Global Barnyard.” It provides families in developing countries with animals as a way of sustaining their family and making a living. You can learn more about this initiative here: https://community.elca.org/elcagoodgifts
Prayers of the People
In two of the congregations of our parish, it is customary for the pastor to pray the prayers of the people. Because our confirmation students, who also serve as our acolytes, have done such a wonderful job with the prayers during our Lenten Wednesday services, I have asked them to pray the Prayers of the People during Sunday worship during Out Loud Easter. I believe that this is another way to get them involved in worship leadership, as well as help them to become more comfortable praying out loud, which is one of the goals of our confirmation program. Their Out Loud Prayers will add to our Out Loud Easter Theme.
On Our Way Rejoicing
At the end of the service, the children and youth will come forward one more time to receive their weekly “Food For the Journey” Bible verse and weekly Out Loud Easter prayer. When they dismiss the congregation with “Alleluia! Go in peace, share the Good News,” they will once again shake their noisemakers during the word “Alleluia” to really send us out “On Our Way Rejoicing!”
As the season progresses, I will provide more resources as they are needed or developed. I can’t wait to share Out Loud Easter with the Tri-Saints!