Week 6 - Emerge - EASTER

Pastor and author Rich Villodas reminds us that, “the Cross of Christ isn’t just a bridge that gets us to God; it’s a sledgehammer that breaks down walls that separate us”. The resurrection is God’s definitive word that his new world has been revealed and we are invited to belong in it. It is because of Jesus that death no longer has the finality it once did. Death no longer has the same power it once did, because Jesus demonstrated his power over death. Jesus’ resurrection is God’s no to death and his yes to life and life everlasting. When we proclaim that Jesus is risen from the grave we acknowledge the victory of God and partake in his new life.

Key Questions

If you were to give “changed lives” as evidence of God’s existence, what personal evidence would you be able to offer?

Some of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ resurrection are (1) the difficulty Jesus had in convincing his followers he was again alive; and (2) how the news changed them from fearful fugitives to bold, aggressive witnesses. How has your life been changed by belief in the resurrection?

Did the resurrection really happen?

What evidence should we consider in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
1. The four ancient biographies (the Gospels) of Jesus that were all written by eyewitnesses and/or based on eyewitness testimony.

2. Pagan and Jewish writers report that Christians believed Jesus rose from the dead.

3. Many of the principal eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus died because of their claim that Jesus was resurrected.

4. The historical evidence shows that: the grave was empty; the grave clothes were neatly left behind; the stone enclosing the tomb was rolled away; the body of Jesus was never found; the grave had been guarded by Roman soldiers; and no one ever claimed to have stolen the body.

5. There are (not counting Paul), eleven recorded times that Jesus appeared to people proving that he was resurrected. These appearances were to: men and women, individuals, couples, groups, and at least one crowd.

6. In the very place where Jesus died and was buried there was an explosion of growth in the Christian movement – which was centered on the claim that the grave was empty and that Jesus had truly risen.

7. The death and resurrection of Jesus was not a random event. Jesus predicted that he would die by crucifixion, be buried, and rise from the dead.

8. The death and resurrection of Jesus also took place in the context of centuries of prophecy that such a Messiah would come from God, and die and rise.


For more study on the death of Jesus: Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

In nearly every interview people ask me for a basis for hope. I always give the same answer. My hope is not rooted in an outward sign of societal or ecclesial progress. My hope for the future is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus. His defeat of death gives me hope. Period.
Esau McCaulley, Ph.D

Prayers for the Church

Read the following prayer in agreement with voices within our Missio Dei Chicago community:

After the upheaval of the previous days, as Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John began to absorb that You had risen, I wonder if the thought crossed their minds, “Now things can go back to normal.”

But the way things had been is not what You were calling them to.

That’s not what resurrection is.

We’re now a year into the upheaval of this pandemic. The fallout has been different for each of us, but we all have things we are grieving and I imagine we all have wished for a return to “normal”.

But I do not think that is what You are calling us to.

This is another resurrection moment.

So, Lord,
Call us each by name, and give us courage to follow You on new paths.
Loosen our grip on the way things have been,
and give us a holy imagination for how this world could be.
Refocus our eyes on the needs of those around us,
and give us grace and wisdom to love our neighbors well.
Breathe new life into our congregations and into your Church at large.

May Your kingdom come.

- Sharon Murphy, Missio Dei Humboldt Park -

Prayers for the City

With the welfare of the City of Chicago in mind read the following scripture and liturgy:

Jeremiah 29:4–5, 7

From Prayers of the People, Missio Dei Chicago Online Service, Easter 2020

And now we pray for your church, both here and everywhere.
May the self-giving of the risen Christ finally triumph through us.
While we do implore you for safety and healing for ourselves,
we pray even more that we could be resurrection balm for our neighbors.
While we do cry out for comfort and consolation for ourselves, we pray even more that we could be resurrection peace for our neighbors.
While we do cry out for encouragement and endurance, we pray even more that by your resurrecting Spirit we could be poured out for our friends, families, neighbors, and even our enemies.
Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant us to live in harmony with one another,
according to Christ Jesus,
so that we may glorify the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ
with one mind and one voice.
May the self-giving of the risen Christ finally triumph through us.


Pray for Chicago and Illinois government leaders. Pray that God will give them wisdom to make wise decisions and to govern with integrity, justice, and mercy.

After, pray the following aloud over this beautiful city in which God has placed us:

Like the blind man whom Jesus healed,
May Chicago become a sign
of your glory, calling you the Anointed One,
The one who also anoints us and points us to the Love of God.
Grants us your healing peace, Amen.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Psalm 103:1-5