April 2015

Post date: Mar 25, 2015 5:40:30 PM

Dear People of God,

Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

During holy week we come to the main things of our Christian faith: namely the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus. The Apostle Paul sums it up well in one of our readings for Easter Sunday. “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received; that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time…” 1Corinthians 15:3-6.

The Apostle Paul says (twice) that the death and resurrection of Jesus is in accordance with scripture and he has received it and is now handing it on to the Corinthian Christians as the most important thing. This is also our calling as Christians: to keep on receiving the good news of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus and to keep handing on this good news to other people.

During holy week, we remember that Jesus, the very Son of God, has died on the cross for us and the whole world. Sin is forgiven and death is conquered. Jesus died, but God did not let him drop. God raised Jesus up from the dead to live and rule eternally. Because he lives, we too shall live with him now and forever.

Holy week is the week that changed the world forever. The world may still look at times like the same old place of sin and death, but I assure you, it’s not. Bad things still happen, but all is redeemed by our Savior Jesus and is being called forward into the loving and peaceful kingdom of God. God’s kingdom includes abundant food and justice and mercy for all in this earthly life. God’s kingdom includes everlasting love and joy with Jesus in the life to come.

Holy week begins with Palm/Passion Sunday on March 29th. We remember that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and people spread palm branches before him and shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And we read the Passion of Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark and hear the crowd shout, “Crucify him!”

On Maundy Thursday, April 2nd , this year we will have a Passover Seder Meal starting at 6pm and concluding with the Lord’s Supper. We remember that Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed and that he made the bread and wine into a new covenant as he said “Take and eat, this is my body. Take and drink, this is my blood.”

On Good Friday, April 3rd, we will have a service of darkness at 7pm. We read the trial, death and burial of Jesus according to the Gospel of John and hear the seven last words of Jesus on the cross. We exclaim, “Behold the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the whole world! Oh come, let us worship him!”

On Easter Sunday, April 5th, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus with worship services at 8 and 10am. A new age has begun with the resurrection of Jesus Messiah. God has vindicated his Righteous One by raising him from death. Because of Jesus, death no longer holds us fearfully captive. We are free to live each day, now and forever in the love of Jesus. We are free to let the Spirit of the Risen Jesus form us into a faith community which shares the good news of Jesus, shares food with those in need, and strives for justice and mercy in the world. For Christians, every Sunday is really a little Easter: a little resurrection day. In fact, in the church calendar, the Easter season is 7 weeks long, clear up to Pentecost. But on Easter Sunday we celebrate big time with 2 worship services and breakfast and Easter hymns and choir anthems and trumpets and eggs and lilies and banners. We also celebrate, of course, with the Lord’s Supper: the new covenant in Christ’s blood, which reminds us that Jesus is with us always.

Like the Apostle Paul, let us keep on handing on as of first importance what we have received. Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

Pastor Dennis