HAPPY (belated) EASTER Everyone! Yesterday was a completely full and busy day; so I went to bed early instead of staying up to write. I hope that you all had a wonderful holy weekend! Since I shared with you the service that we had on Good Friday; I thought that today I would share Sunday’s service with you as well.
On Friday we left the darkened sanctuary with black fabric, the wooden cross, and burned out candle displayed in front of the tomb on the platform…
Sunday morning; the set up was pretty much the same (although there was sunlight coming in through the windows). The service started with someone (same guy from Friday) singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”; then Pastor Brian greeted the congregation. The worship team (which I am apart of) along with the congregation sang a hymn melody of “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” and “Crown Him”. While we sang; two of our teens came to the platform dressed in white. They laid the cross on its side in front of the candle, covered the black cloth with a white cloth, and placed several flowers on the tomb display. Finally, as we were finishing our songs, the teens simultaneously lit the candle and turned on a light inside of the tomb.
Pastor Brian then did what we call a “Children’s Chat.” All of the kids went to the platform and Pastor Brian and a man dressed as Jesus had a brief conversation about how Jesus is now alive!
After the children went back to their seats; the worship team & congregation sang “He Reigns”. Pastor Brian preached a short but powerful sermon. Following the sermon; I gave a very short testimony about how God is working in my life (I was asked ahead of time if I would do this and even though I practiced; I still teared up). Someone else gave their testimony also. Then the people who will be going to the Philippines on a short term mission trip went up to the altar so that the congregation could pray for them (they are going over spring break next week).
Finally we recited the “Apostle’s Creed”* as a congregation then sang “My Savior My God” to close the service.
Throughout the service Matthew 28 was read as well. I have included it here in story form as told by The Message Bible (in the service it was read in a different version).
Risen from the Dead
1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
5-6The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
7“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”
8-10The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.”
11-15Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, “His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping.” They assured them, “If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around.
16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
***THE MESSAGE BIBLE***
(The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “a reading Bible.”)
*The Apostle’s Creed states:
“I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
The third day he rose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
I believe in the Holy Ghost:
I believe in the universal** church: the communion of saints:
The forgiveness of sins:
The resurrection of the body:
And the life everlasting. Amen.”
**(The traditional Apostle’s Creed says “holy catholic church”)