Self-Guided Sunrise Service
As we continue in this time of physical distancing and are unable to gather together for worship, here is a self-guided sunrise service you can do on Easter morning, or any other morning!
Check the internet as to the time of sunrise in your particular location. Locally (Waterloo Region/Wilmot Township), sunrise on Easter morning is at 6:45 a.m. Each day after that it rises approximately one minute earlier. If you want to start in the darkness and hear the birds sing their dawn chorus (if you are outdoors, or if you have a window open) you probably want to start about 30 minutes before the time of the sunrise.
Have either a print out or an e-copy of this self-guided service. You may want to have a candle or small flashlight for a bit of light to read by. You also may wish to have a journal or art supplies for the responding time if you choose the indoor options.
Find yourself a comfortable east-facing location, either outdoors or indoors at a window where you have a view of the eastern horizon.
Breathe. Take time to feel your body waking up to a new day. Feel the temperature of the cool night air on your skin. Observe the quality of the pre-dawn twilight. Listen to the stillness around you, and if you are outside, to the birds welcoming the day.
Pray: Divine Presence, Midwife of Spring: awaken us to your presence within and around us this morning. Heighten our awareness to notice you with all our senses. May we open ourselves to the mystery of this new day and be reminded that each day is a day of resurrection. Amen.
Rise Early, by Macrina Wiederkehr
Rise early when morning darkness still enwraps the trees.
Walk into the darkest forest with only your attentive heart.
Gaze toward the east, take a deep breath, and wait.
After a short while you will see God
Carrying a lantern through the forest,
Bits of light bobbing up and down,
In and out, higher and higher,
The light climbs, spilling over
Into the spaces between the leaves
And on into the world beyond the forest.
Than the beautiful darkness hands you over to the light.
It slips away reverently into the bark of the tree trunks,
Into the black earth,
Into all those other countries that wait for its return.
Lift your face to the daystar now.
Experience the coming of dawn.
Bathed in morning light, pray that the lantern of your life
Move gently this day into all those places
Where light is needed.
Watch and wait in silence for the sun to rise, for the beautiful darkness to hand you over to the light. Morning is a call to our own resurrection, and so reflect on what needs to rise in you today, or this season.
Once the sun has risen, stand up, do a full body stretch with your arms reaching up to the sky and then bow to the rising sun. From a standing position, read these texts:
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord , descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it...the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said.”
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love;
So that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Blessing (adapted from Joyce Rupp)
May your heart be opened wide to receive
The eternal energy of the Dawning Sun.
May the Creator’s transforming glow
shine through every inner fiber of your body
Until you are transparent with
The power of God’s enlightening beauty.
And may the lantern of your life move
Joyfully this day into all those places
Where light is most needed.
- Wendy Janzen
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Reflections, poetry, prayers, photos, and resources written by Wendy Janzen unless otherwise noted.