April 9, 2023 - Easter

For the week of April 9-16 – Easter

Responsive Hallelujahs

Leader: Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

          People:  Christ is risen!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

Prayer of Thanksgiving (unison): How awesome are Your ways, O God! With thanksgiving, we offer praise for the work You brought in Christ. In gladness, we thank You for hiding us deeply into His sacred life. We bless You for raising us in and with Jesus Christ, giving us the power to proclaim with Mary Magdalene: the Risen One; not only with our voices, but with our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen. (Discipleship ministries)

Hymn #302 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!

Psalm 118:20-24

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.

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 Lilies Matthew 6:28-30

And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Children’s Message 

It’s Easter morning! And we can’t talk about Easter without talking about the beautiful flowers that we surround ourselves with on this glorious morning. Traditionally, we adorn our homes and churches with white Easter lilies. They are a variation of the Madonna lily. We see this lily in religious art and it symbolizes the Virgin Mary and the purity of Christ. They remind of Christ’s selfless sacrifice and how in Jesus’ death we are reconciled and united with God.

Lilies are found throughout our scriptures and when we hear of the lilies of the fields in today’s scripture, I think about the orange day lilies that grow wild in our area. We find them along the roadside and they are abundant. The flowers only last a day, so they aren’t the kind of flower you pick for bouquets and place in your house. It is remarkable that God would give them so much detail, they have varying shades of orange and they have many black dots to attach butterflies and other insects. They have everything they need to reproduce in just one flower. God spares nothing to give them their beauty and it only lasts one day. If God sees fit to furnish them with all of that, I hope you can see the abundance of all that God gives us.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  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 spotlightThank you for worshipping with us today. Today ends our Lenten sacrifices, but our commitment and service never ends.  Whether you are giving your prayers, presence, gifts, service or witness to the Lord, praise be to the Risen Christ. 

Offering prayer: Mighty God of Resurrection and Redemption, we offer our gifts alongside our alleluias! We long for Easter to fill us and soak into our bones like those who were confronted in a graveyard by angels announcing, “He is not here, He is risen!” May we run from here, not walk, because we and every corner of the world so desperately need to hear the news the angels share! Before we speak a word, may others see in our faces that the world has been turned upside down. You win; death loses. In the name of the risen Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

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:

Scripture 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                                  Pastor Becky Cuddeback

He isn’t there. The tomb is empty. Mary goes to Jesus’ tomb in full expectation of finding His dead body. Really, we can’t blame her. She witnessed His death. She knew of His burial, and prepared herself to go to His tomb early in the morning. She expected to find His body in the last place He was put.

We’ve all lost something, and where is the first place we look for it? We look where we had it last. When the item isn’t there we go to where it is supposed to be. For Mary these are one and the same. She is a bundle of emotions: she is grieving, she is confused, anxious, frustrated and overwhelmed. She has lost the one person who saw and affirmed her worth and now she wants to know: Where is He? She longs to be with Jesus this one last time, to anoint Him for death, the last small act of kindness to repay His outpouring of love upon her. Yet, in the moment, she doesn’t know she isn’t dealing with a dead body; what she has is a living Savior. Jesus is alive and isn’t going to be found in a tomb, locked away from her. He isn’t someone from her past. He is forever her present and her future.

And this is true for us as well, if we believe that Jesus is alive, we shouldn’t expect Him to stay put either. Now, it would be easier for us if Jesus would just stay where we put Him. Let’s confine Him to the church building. We would come once a week to visit, have a fine time together and we leave until next week. We would have the comfort of knowing exactly where He is and because He is safely held in the building, we would not have to worry about running into Him out in our day to day living.

Or maybe, a beautiful rose garden somewhere, or a flower filled meadow or a grove of pine trees would be better fitting for the confinement of Jesus. Some place that would be a fine get away for us, a place of solitude. We could go to Jesus when we desired to be with Him. He would be easily found and at our disposal.

But that is not Jesus’ nature. He will not be contained and He is not at our bidding. He is our Savior and the grave couldn’t hold back the redeeming love of God and Jesus isn’t going to stay put. He continues to break out of the boxes and the limits we impose on Him. He isn’t going to be confined to particular places, certainly not to the places we want – our comfort isn’t Jesus’ priority. Jesus won’t be excluded from vital issues; He won’t be left out of important conversations. If a grave won't hold Him, why would we desire to exclude Him if He has conquered death? That is truly the stuff of the Living Christ: to be the center of compassion, mercy, and grace and on the flipside of that He is also righteously angered by injustice and continually wounded by our inhumanity. He is released from death for that very reason – to bring life and life abundant.

The message of the Resurrection is that Jesus isn’t our past, but our eternal contemporary – walking with us now, redeeming us now, loving us now, and joining us to Himself eternally for this life and the next.

Hymn: #322 Up from the Grave He Arose

  1. Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain: Up from the grave He arose; with a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

  1. Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior,
    vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord! (Refrain)
  2. Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior; He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.