Graduation Milestone

Easter, Prayer

In our churches, we celebrate the high school graduations of our youth with a milestone moment.  We ask them to come up front during worship, and we pray for them and present them with a quilt and a compass.   Here is our milestone moment:

On the day that you were baptized, your parents and godparents promised to help you to “lead a godly life until the day of Jesus Christ,” which means that they promised to walk with you in your life’s journey to point our Christ. You are now entering a new phase of life after your graduation. We hope to see you here often, but, if your journey takes you away, please know that we will continue to pray for and support you as a baptized member of this church.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” We look forward to seeing what your future holds, and today we present you with a small compass so that you might always know the way.

graduation milestone.jpg

Let us pray:  God of Our Welfare,

We thank you for our graduates, knowing that they worked hard to achieve this milestone.  We celebrate their accomplishments, and ask that you would guide and guard these dear ones, even as they go forth from here.   Please keep each of them on your path, that their future might be bright and filled with hope. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


Easter 2017 Coloring Prayer Focus Word Easter Sunday: Alive

Easter, Prayer

PiC Easter001.jpg

One way to really let the Focus Word and Verse to soak in is to color them while you pray.  I print them on white cardstock because I find that no matter what art supplies I use, it doesn’t soak through.  Also, it is easier to frame or preserve a sturdier piece of paper.  Below, please find our resources for Easter.  I did not skimp on the sparkles with this one, and even went mixed media with brush pens, a glitter gel pen, and a soft blue crayon for the sky.

Focus Word:  Alive

Focus Verse: “He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6a)

Coloring Page:  Coloring Prayer Easter Alive 17

Your finished product might look something like this, or completely different:

PiC Easter017.jpg

Easter Morning Sun Salutation Prayer Sequence

Easter, Prayer

What better way to welcome the rising of Jesus as the Son of God on Easter morning than with a Sun Salutation? This morning, we pair the basic movements of a Sun Salutation with the traditional greeting of the Easter season. (A special thanks to Julie Petersen at Breathe Yoga and Essential Oils for the idea to pair Sun Salutations with prayer.)

Heart Center (inhale and exhale): Alleluia!
Back Bend (inhale): Christ is Risen!
Forward Fold (exhale): Christ is Risen, indeed!
Lunge Left (inhale): Alleluia!

Plank (exhale): Alleluia!
Chaturanga (inhale): Christ is Risen!
Up Dog (exhale): Christ is Risen, indeed!
Down Dog (inhale and exhale): Alleluia!

Lunge Right (inhale): Alleluia!
Forward Fold (exhale): Christ is Risen!
Back Bend (inhale): Christ is Risen, indeed!
Heart Center (exhale): Alleluia!

I know that there are many ways to do a Sun Salutation; this is the way that I learned to do it. If you have another preferred variation, feel free to use it instead. If the sequence doesn’t make a perfect combination of movements of four, you might have to add an “Alleluia” to the beginning or end pose.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia! May you pray, breathe, and walk in the light of the Son of God through this entire Easter season!

Alleluia Mini Boards for Easter


On Transfiguration Sunday, the children of our church colored small card stock “Alleluias”.  We “buried” them behind the altar at the end of the service as we prepared for the season of Lent, when we refrain from saying Alleluia until Easter morning.


For Easter Sunday, I wanted to do something with this same idea, but make them more permanent than just a piece of stiff paper.  I decided to make mini Alleluia boards for each child and youth to use during the service and hang up at home.  We will bring them out from behind the altar as an Easter surprise and shake them each time we say or sing “Alleluia” for the rest of the service.  I think they turned out well, and am looking forward to giving them out on Easter!

Below, I describe how to make them for yourself.  A blessed Easter season to you!

a small, thin board (mine were 1.5” x 8” x .75”, ripped from a 2 x 4 and planed on both sides)
paint brushes
white gloss paint
Alleluia template:  Easter Alleluias 17
printer paper
Gloss Mod Podge
Extreme Glitter Paint in Holographic
Gold Paint marker, thin point
2 – 9” lengths of thin gold ribbon
Hot glue gun and glue


  1. Paint the front of the board with a thin layer of gloss white paint (it’s okay if the grain shows through).  Allow to dry.  IMG_20170411_145918460.jpg
  1. Print out an Alleluia. Cut it out, leaving a thin margin around the letters and no 90 degree angles (turn the corners into curves).
  1. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire front of the board. Carefully center your Alleluia and smooth it flat.  Do not paint over it with Mod Podge.  Allow to dry.IMG_20170411_150042367.jpg
  1. Paint a thin layer of Extreme Glitter paint over the entire front of the board, letters included. Allow to dry.IMG_20170412_105649671.jpg
  1. Use your paint marker to trace over the outline of the letters to give it extra shine. Allow to dry.  IMG_20170411_150158162.jpg
  1. Use the hot glue gun to attach the two ribbons to the back side of the top two corners of the board. Use the end of a paint brush to make sure that the ribbon is stuck on tight.IMG_20170412_114001867.jpg
  1. You can leave the ribbons flowing free or tie them in a simple bow so that they can be hung up at home. Christ is risen!  Alleluia!IMG_20170412_114056392.jpg

Out Loud Easter Introduction

Easter, Prayer

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:

Easter Thanksgivings

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:

Easter Butterflies

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:
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.

Loud Offering
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:

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!