Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for newness of life by the Holy Spirit: O Lord God, heavenly Father, You gave Your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification. By Your Holy Spirit grant us newness of life that through the power of Christ's resurrection we may dwell with Him forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for a new heart and a new spirit: Almighty and everlasting God, by the death and resurrection of Your Son You cleansed our hearts and put a new Spirit within us. Grant that all who are brought to newness of life in the fellowship of the body of Christ may show forth in their lives what they confess with their lips; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for newness of life as a baptized child of God: Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Prayer for newness of life through confession and absolution: Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer at a confirmation: Almighty God, grant that we who have been redeemed from the old life of sin through Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed in Your Holy Spirit and live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Newness of the Resurrection Turns Sorrow into Joy
On earth “you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). Already the Spirit grants you peace and joy through the forgiveness of your sins. For by the cross of Christ, “God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18). His Gospel is “a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household” (Acts 11:13–14). He gives freely “from the spring of the water of life” (Rev. 21:6), “and death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4). He dwells with His people, adorning His Church as a bride for her husband, “making all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Therefore, as the Son of Man is glorified by His cross, “and God is glorified in Him” (John 13:31), so He is glorified in us by our “love for one another” (John 13:35), which His Spirit works in us by His grace.
Monday, 22 April 2013—Psalm 98:2–6; antiphon, Psalm 98:1—During Eastertide, it is our great joy to sing wonderful songs of praise to the LORD in His royal honor. A new song is called for as we consider all the marvelous things He has done for us. He has made known His salvation in the person of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Because of His steadfast love and faithfulness to the spiritual house of Israel, that is, the Christian Church (Romans 9:6–8), we have been saved from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013—Psalm 148—The Psalm for the Day is the same as it was on the Second Sunday of Easter, but it can never be stale or “old hat.” It is always a joy to sing the praise of the One who has raised up a horn of salvation for us. The psalm calls upon all creation to praise the LORD; this is fitting, for, by His death and resurrection, Christ has begun the work of making all things new, that is, restoring all creation from the tragic consequences of the Fall into sin.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013—Acts 11:1–18—The First Reading, from Acts, also shows the Newness of the Resurrection. There is a new way of thinking who may be incorporated into the family of God. Peter’s report to the Jerusalem Council of his encounter with the Gentile Cornelius (Acts, chapter 10), shows that the regulations which were binding on God’s people in the Old Testament were not an end unto themselves, but served the purpose of pointing the way to the One who would fulfill them: Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Christ makes all things new, and shows that salvation is by faith in the crucified and risen Jesus, and not by the works of the Law.
Thursday, 25 April 2013—Revelation 21:1–7—The glorious results of the Newness of the Resurrection were shown to St John in the revelation he received from the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Since Christ has atoned for the sins of the whole world, and has made all things new again, this will be reflected in all of creation at the Last Day, when the present age and present creation gives way to the new age and new creation. Because sin, death, and the devil have been defeated by Christ, in the new creation there will be no mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Friday, 26 April 2013—John 16:12–22 or John 13:31–35—In John 13, Jesus gives us a new commandment, in keeping with the Newness of the Resurrection: Love one another. How simple that sounds, and yet, how difficult it is to keep. Impossible, in fact for us sinful creatures to keep. Only the new man, the one who is in Christ, can do this. Because Christ lives in us by virtue of the faith imparted to us in our Baptisms, we can reflect the love of God to others.
Saturday, 27 April 2013—The Hymn of the Day, At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (LSB #633), is an ancient hymn of praise to the Lamb who was slain, but is now risen and gives us His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and the strengthening of our faith. Stanza 7 speaks once more of the Newness of the Resurrection, proclaiming that the resurrection of Christ has destroyed sin—Easter triumph, Easter joy!—and made us to be newborn souls. Alleluia!
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things