April 17, 2022 - Easter

Easter 2022

Call of Easter:

     Pastor:  Christ is risen!

          People:  He is risen indeed!

     Pastor:  Christ is risen!

          People:  He is risen indeed!

ALL:  Praise God!  Alleluia!

Hymn #302 Christ the Lord is Risen Today all 6 verses

  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!

Responsive Reading: Psalm 118 selected verses

Leader: O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!

People: Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever."

Leader: The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;

the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly."

People: I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.

The LORD has punished me severely, but He did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.

Leader: This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank You that You have answered me and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

People: This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Children’s message

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him!" John 20:2 (NIV)

As you can see, I have a glass with some juice in it. There are two ways of looking at this glass of juice. Some people would look at the glass and say it is half empty. There are others who would look at the glass and say it is half full. (Drink all of the juice in the glass.)

Well, we solved that problem, didn't we? Now everyone who looks at this glass would say that it is empty, but guess what? Everyone still wouldn't look at the glass in the same way. Some would look at the glass and grumble and complain because it’s empty. Others would look at the glass and see it as a glass just waiting to be filled with good things to drink. I guess there are always different ways to look at any situation.

On the Sunday morning after Jesus was crucified, a woman named Mary went to visit the grave where the body of Jesus had been laid. When she got there, she found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. She ran to find someone to tell them what she had seen. She found two of the disciples, Peter and John, and she said to them, "They have taken our Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put Him."

The three of them immediately ran to the tomb. When they got there, they all saw the same thing, but they didn't all look at it in the same way.

Peter looked and was curious. The Bible says Peter went in the empty tomb and looked around. He saw strips of linen laying around and the cloth that Jesus had been buried in folded neatly and placed where the body had been. "Hmmm, very interesting," Peter might have said to himself.

Mary looked and was sad. The Bible tells us that Mary didn't even go inside the empty tomb. She just stood outside the tomb and wept because she feared that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.

John looked and believed. The Bible says that John went inside the tomb and he saw and believed. Now, I don't know exactly how much John understood, but I think he believed that Jesus had risen from the grave just as Jesus said He would.

Three people -- they all saw the same thing -- one was curious, one was sad, and one believed. I think that is pretty much the same way people react to the story of Jesus today. Some people hear the story and they are curious, others hear it and think it is sad, others hear it and believe. How do you look at it?

Dear Lord, today we look into an empty grave. Help us all to see and believe that Jesus has risen just as He said He would. Amen. (www.sermons for kids)

Prayers of Intercession:  Lord we cry to you for help.  You answer in words, in the deeds and acts of kindness, in the people around us.  Hear the cries of our hearts for those we hold dear.  We now pray as You have taught us: 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin 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 spotlight:  Thank you for your tithes and offerings to the Lord.  Of course it does take money to pay for ministry, but often it takes time.  There are many ways to use your time and skills to minister to those in need.  Thank you for serving Christ.     

Offertory prayer: Mighty God of Resurrection Power: You offer us life that overcomes death, light that overcomes darkness, hope that overcomes our deepest despair! What response could we offer? Our tithes and gifts, yes; but our minds, hearts, bodies, and witness as well. May our minds be about understanding who You are and who You long for us to be in this world. May our hearts overflow with Your love and compassion for the poor, the oppressed, and the forgotten. May our bodies carry us out of the tombs of isolation to engage our neighbors as sisters and brothers. May our witness be the “Alleluias!” we take with us to bring hope to everyone we meet! In the Risen Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation #314 In the Garden

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
Refrain:

And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
and the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing.
(Refrain)

I'd stay in the garden with Him though the night around me be falling,
but He bids me go; thru the voice of woe His voice to me is calling.
(Refrain)

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Message – Bearing witness                    Pastor Becky Cuddeback

Blessed Easter! I have needed this morning for a long time; maybe you have too. We live and have our faith rooted in the truth of God’s miraculous resurrection of Jesus. It is one of the foundations in our faith: this new thing God did through Jesus on our behalf. But sometimes, we forget God’s deep love for Jesus and for us. It is when we forget, we find ourselves depending on ourselves. We are called to be witnesses to this love, but we can’t be, when we forget what we know in our hearts and have seen with our eyes.

There is a legal term for this; it is to be a credible witness. A credible witness is a witness who comes across as competent and worthy of belief. Their testimony is assumed to be more than likely true due to their experience, knowledge, training, and sense of honesty. The judge and jurors will use these factors to determine whether they believe the witness is credible. (Cornell Law definition). So, are we credible witnesses?

Peter is the first to bear witness outside of the gathering of all the disciples, including Mary. We find one of his retelling of the account of Jesus here in Acts 10:34-43

Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. You know the message He sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses to all that He did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree; but God raised Him on the third day and allowed Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."

Peter is constantly retelling, witnessing to what he has seen and what he experienced in his life with Jesus. Does he truly understand everything? No. Do we truly understand everything- I know I do not, every day holds the possibility of encountering Jesus in a new way. God’s revelation of God’s love is endless and boundless and it comes to us as we continually seek and focus on God. And praise God, I don’t think we are called to understand everything. If that is the measure or the rubric we have to follow in order to have faith, I know I don’t qualify, YET, I have experienced the power of Jesus in my life. That is the witness: living and telling of Jesus, with words and actions- one is not more important than the other. They have to work in cooperation with each other, so our living and our words point to the same thing- because when they don’t we disqualify ourselves. Will we get this right every time? No. Personally, I disqualify myself nearly every time I get in my car to drive anywhere. I’m still working on that, thankfully- it’s only words, but words have power to change our hearts, either to make them softer or harder and God can only work on a softened heart. And maybe it will be your words which will begin to soften the heart of someone most in need of the life restoring love of Jesus Christ. Here again, we have to tell the story of God’s never ending love and the lengths God goes to love us. We must bear witness with our words or all the stuff we do, just paints us as “do gooders” and doesn’t point to God. Our witness isn’t for the congregation, those assembled or gathered in worship- yes, we learn from each other- our witness is to the world, our community, our family who have not yet heard or experienced Jesus in their lives.

The resurrection of Jesus is proof of God’s power to resurrect us from our brokenness as well. We don’t have to die to be resurrected; the resurrection is there for us now, to live into now, it is the power we have over death, so we can always proclaim: He is risen indeed. Amen.

Let us pray:

Lord, be with us in this transformation from death to life. Work in us and through us for the building of Your Kingdom. We desire to be credible witnesses of Your amazing love, power and mercy. Shred from us anything which keeps us from being who You desire us to be, remove the weights of past confessed sins so we can move into Your will. If there are sins we have refused to confess, work on our hearts to desire You more and remind us of Your never ending love and mercy. Amen.

Closing Hymn #310 He Lives

  1. I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;

I know that He is living, whatever foes may say.

I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

Refrain:

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, he lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

  1. In all the world around me I see His loving care,

And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair.

I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast;

The day of His appearing will come at last.

Refrain:

  1. Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing

Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!

The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find;

None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Refrain:

Dismissal with Blessing

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