April 12, 2020 Easter Sunday - Home Worship and Devotions

4/12 Mailed Easter Sunday Home Worship

Welcome & Announcements:

Good morning church! Below is the Church at Work and the Worship service. There will be copies of this service and Church at Work on the main doors of the church and Lighthouse this morning.

Just a few announcements:

I will offer again a ZOOM gathering at 9:00 am Sunday and 6pm Sunday evening. Zoom is a way to be connected via computer or telephone. You can call the phone number listed- it is toll free. This will be time of sharing joys and concerns and having prayer time. If there is a problem, call my cell at 570-317-0422 and I will try to assist.

9:00 am Zoom Meeting

Dial by your location 1 929 436 2866 (toll free)

6:00 pm Zoom Meeting

Dial by your location 1 929 436 2866 US (toll free)

Easter Flowers:

Scott and I will be delivering your orders to your home early Easter morning. We figure that is the safest way, as he and I will be the only ones driving around, and we will wear gloves to place them at your doorstep.

Today we begin with a Scripture Lesson:

The Resurrection of Jesus Matthew 28:1-10

28After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he* lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead,* and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

 

This is the Gospel of our Lord.

Thanks be to God!

 

Prayer: Lord God, You loved this world so much, that you gave your one and only Son,
that we might be called your children, too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace
of Easter Sunday, everyday. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice. Let us have eyes that look upon Your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world. All for your glory do we pray, Lord,
Amen. (https://youtu.be/E_LWSXQYSwo)

 

Opening Hymn: Christ the Lord is Risen Today

1 Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

 

2 Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

 

3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

 

4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

 

5 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

 

6 King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus, to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

 

Invocation:

O God, who has delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: Grant, we pray, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so may he in his life raise us to eternal joy. We ask this through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

 

Children’s Message: Pastor Jenn

It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

And today is a very special day. Today is Easter. And for many of us we think of eggs for Easter. Eggs we color, eggs we find, eggs we decorate with. Last year I was given this carton of eggs that tells the story of the first Easter. Each egg contains something that is part of the story of the Holy Week. The first egg contains a palm. On a Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people were so excited they waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna”. The second egg has a wafer and cup. On Thursday, Jesus took bread and wine and told his disciples this was like his body and his blood and to remember Him whenever we eat these special foods. We call this the Last Supper. The third egg contains a cross. On Friday, Jesus was arrested and put on a cross. While he was dying, Jesus asked God to forgive us. This is Good Friday. The fourth egg has a tomb. Jesus’ body was put into a cave tomb after he died. Guards stood in front of the tomb. The fifth egg has a large stone. A large stone covered Jesus’ tomb. But on Sunday morning the stone was rolled away. And the last egg is empty. Jesus’ tomb was empty because he arose from the grave. Today we celebrate that miracle of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

 

I hope today, you and your family get a chance to celebrate Easter, and I hope today and always you carry the joy of the risen Jesus in your hearts.

 

Let’s pray: Thank you God, for Easter. Thank you for eggs and fun times with family. And thank you most of all for raising Jesus from the grave. We are so thankful that he lives. Amen.

 

Time of Prayer & Lord’s prayer

God of power and majesty: With the rising of the sun you have raised Jesus Christ and delivered him and us from death’s destruction. We praise you on this holy day for all your gifts of new life. Especially we thank you for all victories over sin and evil in our lives, for loyalty and love of friends and family, for the new born, the reborn, and those in your eternal home whom we miss this day, but remember their faith in you. Thank you for the renewal of nature and spring in our lives. And thank you for the Spirit’s continuing witness of the Church in Christ.

 

God of eternity, we bring to you this morning our prayers for this world in need of the resurrection.

We pray for nations and people in strife. We pray for the poor and impoverished at home and abroad.

We pray for those we know in particular circumstances of distress, like the lonely, the conflicted, the diseased and the dying. We pray for the healthcare workers offering themselves through endless hours to help and save lives. We pray for the truck drivers and the grocery store staff providing services to keep us comfortable.

We pray for scientists working day and night to find a solution. And we pray for families and loved ones who are separated on this holy day

 

Gracious God, though we are apart, our hearts are one, offering to you these prayers, believing in your guidance, your mercy, and your Son, our risen Lord, who taught us to pray together…. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Offering invitation

We want to thank all of you for your continued gifts that are helping us do ministry in different ways during these times.

 

Some of you are experiencing economic hardships related to the pandemic and your offering may be diminished. Our prayers are with you as you struggle to make ends meet. To the rest, if you can send in your offering, we invite you to do so as ministry continues. There are still needs to be met through the services we support such as local food banks, health care ministries, and of course the staff of this congregation who are still working around the clock to check in with members, disinfect buildings, and discern and provide worship possibilities. Lightstreet United Methodist Church, 1640 Main Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. The option of electronic transfer of funds is available. Contact our church treasurer, Amy Dent (aedent@pa.metrocast.net; 570-458-4299). She will guide you through the process to authorize your bank to transfer funds into the church account.

 

Offering prayer:

O God, you unconditionally share your only Son with all who believe in your name. On this holy day, receive our offerings as an affirmation of our commitment to be your faithful disciples. Strengthen our ability to be gifted stewards of your created world. We pray in the name of the Resurrected One, Jesus Christ, the Savior. Amen.

 

Hymn of Preparation: He is Lord

 

He is Lord, He is Lord!
He is risen from the dead and he is Lord!
Ev'ry knee shall bow, ev'ry tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Message: What Jesus Believes: In the Resurrection

As we wrap up this sermon series on What Jesus Believes, I just want to briefly review with you what Jesus believes because such beliefs can help us grow in our discipleship.

First and foremost, Jesus believes the kingdom of God is among us here and now. How that kingdom is revealed continues with his other beliefs such as God partnering with us or having us co-work together in ministry. Jesus also believes that the purpose of his ministry is the same as ours, to love God and one another. Then we learned that Jesus believes each of us has potential and he is at work to bring that out in us through the work of Spirit. Last week we recognized that Jesus believes in possibilities, that is he has faith that overcomes his concerns, and we should too.

Today we talk about Jesus’ belief in the resurrection, that is the way that people's lives can be moved from death to life, from a sealed tomb to an open doorway, from despair to hope, from the old ways to new opportunities, but more than all of that, I want you to understand that Jesus believes his resurrection is a move from our fears, to God’s healing.

There is no doubt, fear is a powerful emotion. A simple and useful definition of fear is: An anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience. (Psychology Today - Karl Albrecht Ph.D.) Many of those fears sometimes develop into a phobia, where our fears interfere with our quality of life, or ability to function.

According to Fearof.net the top 5 phobias in the world are:

  1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders, which affects women four times more than men.
  2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes.
  3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights. Five percent of the general population suffer from this phobia.
  4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces. People with this fear often won’t leave home.
  5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs. This includes everything from small Poodles to large Great Danes.

 

Interestingly enough, number 12 is Thanatophobia which is the fear of death. Now it is obvious that the women who went to the tomb to see Jesus, did not have that fear because they were going to treat the body of Jesus. Yet once they are there, two times they were told, “Do not be afraid”. The first time it was spoken to them by the angel and the second time the words were spoken to them by the risen Christ.

 

Now it makes sense as to why those words were given. I mean the last time these women saw Jesus; he was brutally killed on the cross. But did you know that this Easter passage is not the only place we read those words in the Bible? From Genesis to Revelation time and time again those words are spoken by God, by Jesus, by an angel, sometimes by a prophet, on behalf of God, which says to me, yes we all have fears, however, God is present to help us conquer our fears.

 

Let me share some examples.

 

In Genesis 15:1 God makes a covenant with Abraham and we hear God say: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. "

 

Then we read those words when God calls the prophet Jeremiah to speak God’s words to the people being attacked by other empires:

Jeremiah 1: 7 Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
 

Moving to the New Testament in Luke 1:12 the angel visits Mary and says “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
 

And in Matthew 1:20 when Joseph considers leaving Mary because she is with child, and he knows the child is not his, an angel comes to Joseph and says in a dream, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
 

Then Jesus reassures his followers with those same words before and after his death and resurrection.

 

Time and time again we read in the Bible that we are not to be afraid. Do not be afraid when God calls us to a different place. Do not be afraid when our enemies surround us. Do not be afraid when God is doing something new. Do not be afraid when Jesus tells us there will be changes. And I believe each of those lessons point to a new birth, an end to old ways and start of a new life. That is resurrection, letting go of the fear of change, and embracing new starts.

 

You see, Easter offers the good news of what God is doing for you and me, through Jesus.

And what that means is in the resurrection, God has recreated a world where the deepest, darkest sin cannot separate us from God because God has forgiven and redeemed us through the blood of His Son.

 

In the resurrection, God has re­created a world where not even the devil can keep its hold on us, because our God is more powerful, as proven with the empty tomb.

 

In the resurrection, God has recreated a world where sorrow and sighing shall flee away because there is life eternal.

 

So that, in the resurrection, Jesus Christ has all the power and authority to raise people from doom, despair, and death, to hope, healing, and new life.

 

What our God claims from the beginning and through the end, is that there is more. More than what we have ever known or imagined. More than what we can possibly understand, and it is good, so don’t be afraid.

 

It is Easter morning, and God is aware that many of us bring fears with us on this day. Fears from this virus that affect our health, our loved ones, our jobs, the economy, and our world. But the good news is, the risen Christ comes today, to share with us once again this timeless joy, the promise of the resurrection: Hear him say,
I'm with you. I will be with you always. Not even death can separate my love for you. And I'm here to deliver you into my kingdom of hope and healing, so do not be afraid."

 

Whatever our situation, whatever our circumstances, our concerns, our fears may we hear and receive that message today: Do not be afraid for the Lord Jesus Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!


Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, we greet You this morning, risen from the dead, victorious over sin and death, over suffering and shame, over all evil and wrong. Lord Jesus, we greet You this morning, risen from the dead, proving that nothing can separate us from God's love, showing us how far that love will go, and suffering for the sins of the world. Lord Jesus, we greet You this morning, risen from the dead, and we offer You our thanks and our praise, our prayers and our worship, our devotion and our service. Lord, Jesus, we greet You this morning, and we pray to you, and we pray through you, and we pray with joy and confidence that we are not to be afraid. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: Because He Lives

God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives

 

Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives

 

And then one day, I'll cross that river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death gives way to vict'ry
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know he lives

 

Chorus:

 

Benediction:

We are sent forth in the power of the belief in Christ's resurrection. Thanks be to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 
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