Order Of Service For April 4, 2021 – EASTER SUNDAY

 

Due to copywrite limitations, we are unable to print the words to the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Quote of the week:

The cross is the standing statement of what we do to one another and to ourselves. The resurrection is the standing statement of what God does to us in return.

~Richard Rohr

BEFORE WE WORSHIP, WE REFLECT…

     Literarily and theologically, Mark’s gospel ends awkwardly at 16:8. The women are astonished and afraid, and what most scholars consider the original ending of Mark seems more like the middle of the story than its end. What about appearances of the risen Christ? What about the joyful proclamation that death has not had the last word? Mark’s gospel is problematic for those anticipating the more complete story of resurrection recounted by other gospels. For some circumstances, however, Mark’s ending hits just the right note—especially for those who aren’t sure about resurrection themselves, or whose own lives are in an awkward, unresolved limbo.

     As we too are still in the middle of our life stories, Mark’s gospel is a good companion. Most of the time we live with an awkward, unresolved mix of fears and possibilities, in which resurrection is hinted at rather than completed. This is true for the church as well; this story may appear to be the end, but it’s really just the middle. The story of the risen Jesus continues in the mission of the church, Christ’s body. The possibility of resurrection draws us into a community that lives out the middle of its story in the hope and witness of Christ’s new life.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Refreshed by the resurrection life we share in Christ, let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.

We thank you, risen Christ, for these waters where you make us new, leading us from death to life, from tears to joy.  We bless you, risen Christ, that your Spirit comes to us in the grace-filled waters of rebirth, like rains to our thirsting earth, like streams that revive our souls, like cups of cool water shared with strangers.

Breathe your peace on your church when we hide in fear.  Clothe us with your mercy and forgiveness.  Send us companions on our journey as we share your life.  Make us one, risen Christ.  Cleanse our hearts.  Shower us with life.

To you be given all praise, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God, now and forever.

Amen.

CHILDREN’S SONG: VU 352  Lord Of The Dance

*GREETING

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

*CENTERING PRAYER

God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive and has become the Lord of life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

CHILDREN’S CHAT

     I have a small, clear container that holds several pupae of a monarch caterpillar.  They are actually chrysalis’ that did not make it into becoming butterflies.  Perhaps it was an early frost.  Maybe something happened to the caterpillar during the metamorphosis.  Each one died at a slightly different phase which is evident from the development of the wings. 

     Butterflies are often used to describe the resurrection.  God brought Jesus back to life, yet while he looked similar to the way he did before his death, there was something about him that was different, new, and that is why several of his disciples did not recognize him at first. 

     Jesus says that we will have new bodies after we die.  Many have tried to guess what those bodies will look like, none of us will know until we die.

     That is why I like the monarch butterfly!  It starts off as a fat green caterpillar, and after putting itself into a chrysalis, becomes a whole new, colourful, beautiful creature!

     That is the promise Jesus gave us.  Death will not be in control anymore!  When we die, we become a whole new being in Jesus!  I trust Jesus’ promise.  Thank you, God, for the resurrection!

MINUTE FOR MISSION

Meaningful work helps Jesse—and all of us—thrive.

Jesse’s Story – Part 2

     After a brain injury and the death of his mother, Jesse found himself homeless and sleeping in a storage unit. Now, thanks to employment training and support programs run by Mission & Service partner Stella’s Circle combined with his hard work, Jesse is a trained greenhouse technician. He leads a new social enterprise that grows produce for sale. One day, Jesse hopes to supply restaurants with the produce he and others grow.

     What does work mean for him? “It means maintaining my independence. It means building confidence. It means instilling purpose. It makes me feel functional,” says Jesse.

Supporting job training and employment programs has never been more important. Because of the pandemic, 114 million more jobs were lost in 2020 than in 2019. Four times more jobs were lost during the pandemic than during the global financial crisis in 2009.[1]

     All of us work at something, whether we are paid or unpaid. When our values match what we spend time working at, we find meaning in life. People who are unable to work not only struggle to pay the bills, but their sense of meaning and self worth suffers too.

     That’s why your generosity through Mission & Service supports job training programs here at home and around the world.

     Meaningful work helps us thrive. Maybe that’s why, in the Bible, “work” is mentioned more than 800 times. In the Easter story, the work of Passover preparations set the table for Jesus’ divine work order: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

     Mission & Service supports programs that help people find meaningful employment and renewed life. It’s one of the ways you and I participate in God’s holy, resurrecting work every day. Thank you for your generous support.

     Note

[1] International Labour Organization, ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Seventh edition(opens in a new tab) (January 25, 2021).

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life.  Renew our spirits as we hear your word of grace.  Amen.

1st scripture reading:  Acts 10:34-43

Peter crosses the immense religious and social boundary that separates Jews from Gentiles in order to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, so that God’s forgiveness in Jesus’ name would reach out to all people.

34Peter began to speak to [the people]: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how 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. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not 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. 42He 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. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.  Thanks be to God.

PSALM 118:1-2, 14-24

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)

1Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good; God’s mercy endures forever.
2Let Israel now declare, “God’s mercy endures forever.”
14The Lord is my strength and my song, and has become my salvation.
15Shouts of rejoicing and salvation echo in the tents of the righteous:
  “The right hand of the Lord acts valiantly!
16The right hand of the Lord is exalted!  The right hand of the Lord acts valiantly!”
17I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. R
18The Lord indeed punished me sorely, but did not hand me over to death.
19Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and give thanks to the Lord.
20“This is the gate of the Lord; here the righteous may enter.”
21I give thanks to you, for you have answered me and you have become my salvation. R
22The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23By the Lord has this been done; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. R

2nd scripture reading:  1 Corinthians 15:1-11

The core of the Christian faith and Paul’s preaching is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the crucified and risen Christ appeared to the earliest of his followers, so we experience the presence of the Risen One in the preaching of this faith.

1Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
  3For 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, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.  Thanks be to God.

gospel reading:  Mark 16:1-8

The resurrection of Jesus is announced, and the response is one of terror and amazement.

1When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint [Jesus’ body]. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:  Praise be to Christ.

SERMON

I extend my thanks to Rev. David Lose for his reflections on our Gospel text from Mark this Easter Sunday:

I’ll be completely honest and just admit that I totally sympathize with the monks. The monks, that is, who just couldn’t believe that Mark really ended at verse 16:8 in such an awkward, unsatisfying, and distressingly incomplete way.

Here’s what we know about this ending: Although there are numerous later manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel that have alternative and longer endings, all the earliest manuscripts end right here. Which means that this is most likely where Mark wanted his story to end, with a final sentence that is awkward, ending rather abruptly. Here’s what we also know: The women – after hearing the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and being commissioned to go and tell – utterly fail, leaving in fear and saying nothing to anyone. And, perhaps most distressing, here’s the last thing we know: if this is indeed the last part of Mark’s original story, then there is no scene with the resurrected Christ to confront the disciples’ doubt and call forth their faith.

It is, by all accounts, a really lousy ending. Which is why I’m sympathetic to those monks (or whoever it might have been) who perhaps were given the job of copying Mark’s Gospel and, upon reaching such an unsatisfactory conclusion to this otherwise tightly-paced, riveting and important story, decided to take matters into their own hands and add an ending (or two!) to clean things up. And so our Bibles have what has come to be called “A Shorter Ending to Mark” and “A Longer Ending to Mark” which tie a narrative and theological bow of sorts onto this abrupt ending in order to make it neat and tidy and to sound like the other gospels.

But let’s take seriously for a moment that Mark wasn’t just having writer’s block and so impatiently sent his manuscript off half-baked. Let’s imagine instead that Mark knew exactly what he was doing. That he crafted an incomplete ending by design. That he left the story hanging on this moment of failure and disappointment for a reason.

Why would he do that?

Maybe because he knew that no story about death and resurrection could possibly have a neat and tidy ending. Maybe because he knew that readers of his Gospel, if they were paying attention, ought to be more than a little uncomfortable at the idea of this convicted criminal coming back to life. Maybe because he believed that this story isn’t over yet, and he writes an open ending to his gospel in order to invite us to jump in and take up our part in continuing it.

There is a persistent two-part pattern throughout Mark, you see, that comes to its climax in these last verses. The first part is that those who are closest to Jesus and should tell others about him, often don’t. So the disciples hear Jesus predict his passion three times and regularly end up dazed, confused, and arguing about who is the greatest. Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah but completely misunderstands what that means and actually rebukes Jesus when he explains. Again and again those who should understand just don’t understand what is going on and so fail to share the good news.

The second part of the pattern is that those who do understand what’s going on and perceive who Jesus is aren’t reliable witnesses. Several of the various demons that Jesus casts out of people, for instance, instantly recognize Jesus and grasp the import of his ministry. But you can’t really count on a demon for a good testimony, can you? And the Roman Centurion, having just put Jesus to death, acknowledges him as the Son of God, but isn’t likely to share that news with anyone else.

This two-part pattern should prepare us for the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, the desertion of his disciples, and finally even the failure of these women, who up to this point had proved the most faithful of his disciples. They are afraid, too afraid to speak of the wonders they have heard. Mark ends here, right here, inviting us, the reader, to pick up where these women left off and share the good news announced by the messenger at the empty tomb.

The story of what God is doing in and through Jesus isn’t over at the empty tomb, you see. It’s only just getting started. Resurrection isn’t a conclusion, it’s an invitation. And Jesus’ triumph over death, sin, and hate isn’t what Mark’s Gospel is all about. Rather, Mark’s Gospel is all about setting us up to live resurrection lives and continue the story of God’s redemption of the world.

Mark gives us a clue to that in the very first verse, in an opening sentence that is almost as abrupt and awkward as the closing one. Mark, you’ll remember, doesn’t give us the long genealogy of Matthew; the tender story of shepherds, angels, and a mother and her newborn together in a stable as in Luke; or the theologically soaring and totally wonderful hymn to the Word made flesh of John. Rather, Mark says simply, even pointedly, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Goodness gracious, but that doesn’t even sound like an introduction. But the key thing here is that Marks says straight off that all of Mark’s writing is only the beginning of the good news of what God has done and is still doing for the world through Jesus the Christ.

It’s only the beginning; this story isn’t over. It’s only the beginning, and we have a part to play. It’s only the beginning, and if you wonder why there is still so much distress and pain in the world, it’s because God’s not done yet. It’s only the beginning, and Mark is inviting us to get out of our seats and into the game, sharing the good news of Jesus’ complete identification with those who suffering and his triumph over injustice and death with everyone we meet. It’s only the beginning, and we’re empowered and equipped to work for the good in all situations because we trust God’s promises that all will in time come to a good end even when we can’t see evidence of that.

It’s only the beginning….

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

 

 

SONG OF THE DAY:   VU 158  Christ Is Alive

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human.  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.  On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son,* who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.  We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

Praise to you for your power revealed in the resurrection! Fill your church with the power of your love that is stronger than death. Send us to tell the good news wherever death holds sway.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Praise to you for your life at work in the resurrection! Fill all of creation with your life. Bring it to blossom and flourish; use it to remind us of your persistent grace. Cultivate our care for what you have made.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Praise to you for the peace made possible in the resurrection! Fill the nations with your peace. Draw together people of all nations and languages; reveal new possibilities and inspire new beginnings. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Praise to you for the hope of the resurrection! Fill all in need with hope: those who are afraid or confused, those who are sick or suffering, those who are dying, and those who grieve, especially Lil Schieman, Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Tracy Skoglund, Carolyn, Douglas, Debbie, Dwayne; Matthew Grossman, Lorraine & Walter Pokrant, Thomas & Zach Maynard, Abbie.  Assure them of your promises.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Praise to you for the joy of your resurrection! Fill this assembly with joy as we are called your beloved in baptism. Multiply that joy so that we share it at home, at work, and in our community.

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Praise to you for your faithfulness revealed in the resurrection! Fill us with trust, that we join with all who have gone before us in proclaiming: “your mercy endures forever!”

Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

SENDING HYMN: VU 155  Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

BENEDICTION

May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.  The God of life, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.

Amen