Index

Sundays
Second Quarter
2018

 

J Nichols Adams et al

April 1, 2018, Resurrection of the Lord/Easter

 

 

LectionAid 2nd Quarter 2018

April 1, 2018, Resurrection of the Lord/Easter

The Wisdom of Resurrection

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9, 1Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

Theme: God at Work in a Foolish World

Top of Page ILLUMINATING AND THINKING ABOUT THE SERMON

Starting Thoughts

Well today is April Fool’s day. But even more importantly it is Easter. Now this sort of convergence does happen several times a century. But is there something more than just two dates coming together? Is Easter in a very fundamental way showing us how foolish the world is up against the wisdom of God?
I think of what happened to the Florida Power and Light Company when they found an 18-foot long alligator and 871 rattlesnakes in a culvert where they were working to expand the Fort Lauderdale airport. This discovery gave new meaning to all the old adages about being up to one's neck in alligators and remembering that we forgot to clear the swamp. Surely, they too were amazed. Something outside their normal daily experience had happened. Scavengers like this sort of thing: they like to be surprised to find ripe raspberries on the trail or extra alligators in the swamp.
Amazement is more than just being puzzled. It is being wowed. It is something that gets our attention, like an astonishing good buy at an auction or yard sale. We are out scavenging and not really ready for much, but we can be amazed in the twinkling of an eye.
Puzzled is much simpler than amazed. Is it really fair to pitch to Barry Bonds? And is it really fair not to pitch to him? He is, if you don't know, a fabulous hitter. Sometimes the so-called Angels, in last year's World Series when they played this San Francisco giant, let him stand at the plate and throw him four balls, on purpose, in a row. It is a puzzle to know what to do in these kinds of matter. It is amazing when someone hits the ball out of the park.
Don't you wish somebody would walk you someday? Just throw you four balls, no curve balls, no licking the left corner strikes, nothing hard. Just toss the ball at you and let you get on base. Don't you wish somebody would give you an easy day in an easy way, a life that was not lived with held breath, between broadcasts? Don't you wish somebody would just notice your record, notice how long you had been working and how hard? Don't you wish somebody would notice the miracles you performed yesterday in getting the kids to school, the house picked up, the bills paid, the mail read, the birthday card sent, the paycheck earned, the boss consoled, the cat to the vet and the focus fed?
We want focus. We want to know why we are living and what we are doing. The word maceration comes to mind: it means literally chopped up in little pieces so that we no longer know our way. Instead of maceration, we want to live big, to live clear, and to live completely. We want all our parts to come together and travel with us.
That is what happened to the women at the grave. All their parts came together. They were restored to wholeness. They were unified in a place called amazement, which is much more than puzzled. It is the awesome side of puzzled. They went as leftovers to a ruined body, and there the scavengers were surprised with joy.
Gleaning is what farmers in many countries let the poor do after the crop is harvested. They get to pick up the potatoes that the machine didn't get or clear out the raspberries that the farm workers forgot. In a way, God is the most forgotten raspberry of all. God is often the last one on the list. God is the last kid picked for the team. We go out of our way to get to God…and then find that God makes the way clear, possible, and manageable. The small stuff gets to be small and the big stuff gets to be big when we glean the out of the way resurrection.
Consider Tom Temeczko, who died October 14, at age 89. He bequeathed over a million dollars to New York City after September 11th to "unassigned" need. He made his fortune scavenging the streets of New York. The city has also received the value of all his possessions, including the lawn mowers, small appliances, and VCR's that jammed his house, his garage, and a neighbor's garage. (New York Times, October 17, 2002) When we go out of our way to God, we pick up what others have discarded. We turn the lost into value. And we find it easy to love our neighbor as our self because we are filled, fountain like, by the love of God for us. Tom Temeczko is like the Marys and Salome: they restore what is broken. They witness to the life after death, the wholeness after brokenness, the renewal after being discarded and thrown away.
Tim is a 15-year-old daily dialysis patient. He lives a life on the edge of death at local Children's Hospital. Other kids who are equally ill visit with him to get inspiration for what they have to face. The nurse there said he was their best counselor. Tim's dialysis room is gaily decorated with bright red and blue festoons, ropes of brilliant plastic looping from one corner to the other. Several other cords hang as crepe paper garlands across each other and down the walls so that the room hardly seems like a place for serious medical treatment. It couldn't be austere with such colorfully merry ribbons. The impressions these bands make on Tim's visitors, however, change drastically when they learn that the celebrative festoons are made of the ends of the artificial kidneys used on his dialysis machine. Each red or blue inch-long loop of plastic represents more than eight hours on the machine, so those long, draping cords pictured years of added life, the gift of modern technology, the grace of a machine to cleanse Tim's blood and stave off death. What was this kid doing playing with his medical equipment? I think he was going out of his way to God. I think he was focusing what life he had on the life that he had in gratitude to God for what there was. I think it was a kind of gleaning: otherwise these loops would have been thrown out and not been able to witness to what Tim knew about life and death.
How to focus your life? How to focus in times of fear and terror and possible war? Of angels and giants, alligators and snakes, deep breathing between broadcasts? Go out of your way. Go out of your way to God. Glean God. Take spices to the grave and stand there amazed at the life that conquers death.

Exegetical Comments

The women buy the spices as soon as the Sabbath is over. Three of them are named, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome. We know of special relationships with two of them but not very much about Salome. We also note that the mother of Jesus, also a Mary, is not there. This is odd but not lacking in common sense. She was the chief mourner. The women bring spices, again a common enough act for ritualizing the body's degradation. "Anoint" is the word used and perhaps has more ritual to it than we are permitted to know this far out from the miracle of the resurrection.
They go to the tomb at dawn, having gone to the market the previous night. They surely can't have slept well and must have been eager for the first light. On the way, they have another common-sense conversation: who will roll away the stone for them when they get there? How can they anoint a body they can't get to? As they approached what they thought would be a boundary, they saw that the stone was already rolled back. This is the first in a series of miracles. The stone is not a boundary; it is set aside. Even though it is very large, it is set aside.
The women then enter the tomb. We can only imagine their courage. They enter the tomb and see a live person, a young man, sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe. Of course, they were amazed. He then talks to them and tells them "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here; see the place where they laid him." The women see that the place where they laid the body is empty and must have wondered whom this stranger was who cautions against their amazement. Under the circumstances, they must have wondered a lot about him and his wisdom. "Do not be amazed!"
Instead he counsels them to go and tell the men, the disciples, and Peter that he is on his way to Galilee. He "goes before you" to Galilee and will await you there.
The women, wisely, fled from the tomb. Amazement had turned to trembling and astonishment, as well it might. They disobeyed the stranger's orders and told no one what had happened to them.
Why? Because they were afraid.
Did they take their spices with them? Did they speak to each other later about the mysteries they had witnessed? How did the word get out if they told no one? And how did the stranger know the disciples were going to Galilee? We have a thousand questions about what these three women saw. We will probably rarely have the satisfaction of answers.
The stranger counseled against amazement. He knew something we didn't know or can't know. The tomb was empty. The stranger says the reason: "He is risen." The women have taken an outward journey but from now on they are inward bound.
The women go to the tomb as leftovers. They are the left behind. They go to acknowledge their separation from Jesus and to anoint his body. They leave the tomb different from when they came. Starting as leftovers, they leave as residents in a miracle, citizens of an amazement, captives of wonder and astonishment.

Preaching Possibilities

Easter is colliding with April Fools Day. For the non-believer that sounds almost sensible but for believers we all know that Jesus understood that some would find his death and resurrection and stumbling block, a big confidence trick and even a gigantic April fools prank. For the people not wise in the way God works and acts this is all true. But the reality of the matter is that this day those of us that have humbled studied God and the way God works as seen in the life and death of Jesus Christ, we have a least a glimmer of God at Work

Top of Page ILLUSTRATING THE SERMON

Different Sermon Illustrations

Church and state are about to collide on the calendar. Ash Wednesday, when Christians are smudged with a reminder of death, falls on gushy, lovey Valentine's Day.
And Easter, the most important Christian observance, lands on April Fools' Day, when we need to be careful what to believe. The two mashups have not happened together since 1945. Easter was most recently on April 1, or April Fools' Day, in 1956, but Ash Wednesday did not fall on Valentine's Day then because it was a leap year.
What any of this means for you depends on how closely you follow religious rules. Let's start with Ash Wednesday, when Catholics are expected to abstain from meat, like the old every-Friday rule, and to fast, meaning refrain from eating big meals.
So if you take your sweetie out for a meaty feast, you're probably doing it wrong. After all, there's the separation of church and steak.
The Rev. Paul Hartmann, judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, doesn't think the archbishop is going to intervene this time like he does to allow Catholics to eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day when it falls on a meatless Friday in Lent.
"There's a higher emphasis given to fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday than on a relatively normative Friday during Lent," he said, adding that he thinks many lovers will celebrate Valentine's Day on the weekend before or after.
And, no, the ashes distributed at church this year won't be red as a nod to Valentine's Day, though it is named for a saint.
Valentine's Day and April Fools' Day always fall on Feb. 14 and April 1 respectively. Ash Wednesday and Easter move around a lot. Easter lands on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox. It's always between March 22 and April 25. To pinpoint Ash Wednesday, back up six weeks and four days from Easter. Ash Wednesday was on Valentine's Day in 1945, 1934 and 1923, but the last time before then was 1877. Easter was on April 1 in 1956, 1945, 1934 and 1923, but before that you have to go back to 1888, a leap year. We won't have to wait too long before this all happens again in 2029., There's some push and pull at the intersection of Easter and April Fools, too. Some people think of April Fools' Day as the atheist holiday, though that's actually a hoax that caught on.
"Often we get a lot of nasty emails or contacts on April 1 because of the psalms' 'The fool says in his heart there is no God,' " said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation.
She wasn't aware of the Easter/April Fools confluence until I mentioned it. A cute coincidence, she called it. "Every year I get people saying, hey, we should make April 1 Atheists Coming Out Day, but I'm really not sure that would translate correctly. I think, every day should be Atheist or Agnostic Coming Out Day," Gaylor said., The calendar, oddity could provide fodder for preachers' sermons, Hartmann said., , "There's the scripture passage, I think it's Corinthians, that we're fools for Christ in a sense that the world thinks us foolish for this belief in a resurrection," he said.
If we can believe the numbers we see on the internet, 45% of adult Catholics receive ashes, and 54% of Americans celebrate Valentine's Day. The number of people who definitely or probably play a trick on April Fools' Day is 77%, which sounds high to me and will probably be lower this year because most of us are not at work or school on Sunday. And 80% of American adults celebrate Easter.
That includes the secular traditions like dyeing eggs and baskets of jelly beans.
One commenter I found on a Reddit chat already has a plan for an Easter trick: "I'll tell my kids to hunt for eggs that I didn't hide."
Believers and atheists alike could agree that would be mean. (https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/columnists/jim-stingl/2018/01/12/stingl-its-rare-not-since-1945-have-ash-wednesday-and-easter-landed-valentines-day-and-april-fools-d/1026681001/)

It’s April Fools’ Day, and whatever its origins, the Scriptures have something to say about playing the fool.
There is uncertainty about how and when people began mocking the fool on the first day of April. Many think it goes back to sixteenth-century France when the nation changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian. April 1 had been the end of a weeklong festival celebrating the coming of Spring and with it the new year. Now the new year changed to January 1. Some refused to make the switch or lived in rural areas and didn’t get the word and were mocked as fools by those who made the change.
Others think the origin may be in a scribal error in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales that had readers thinking the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” — and the fox’s fooling of Chanticleer the vain cock — occurred on April 1 (when Chaucer actually meant May 2). Still others connect the day to celebrations in ancient Rome, Persia, and India.
But however murky the true origin of April Fools’ Day, what’s clear enough is the Christian teaching about what makes a person truly foolish.
The Book of Proverbs provides the Bible’s densest teaching about wisdom and folly, and what quickly becomes plain is that the biblical concept is radically God-centered.
God himself is the source of wisdom. Thus, it is the fool who says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1), and Proverbs gives us the refrain, “the fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 15:33). True wisdom begins with God and has its constant source and supply in God. So, says Tremper Longman, Proverbs teaches us that “relationship precedes ethics” (Intro to the OT, 269).
According to Longman, “wise” is the biblical word to “describe the person who navigates life well” (How to Read Proverbs, 13). Wisdom is the skill of living. It is a practical knowledge that helps one know how to act and how to speak in different situations. Wisdom entails the ability to avoid problems, and the skill to handle them when they present themselves. Wisdom also includes the ability to interpret other people’s speech and writing in order to react correctly to what they are saying to us.
Wisdom is not intelligence pure and simple. . .. Biblical wisdom is much closer to the idea of emotional intelligence than it is to Intelligence Quotient. Wisdom is a skill, a “knowing how”; it is not raw intellect, a “knowing that.” (14–16)
The biblical concept of wisdom is, in large measure, analogous with the idea of maturity. The wise person is one who is mature in his knowledge of God — based on God’s self-revelation — as well as his understanding of himself and his surroundings. The wise person is able to “navigate life well,” in the real world, as defined by God in the Scriptures. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/pity-the-fool)

You could almost say that Easter is the antithesis of April Fools. Easter is God’s wisdom at work in a foolish world.
For the Christian, the radical God-centeredness of wisdom in the Proverbs takes a radically Christ-centered shape in the New Testament.
Jesus himself, as the fullest and final revelation of God (John 1:18; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1–3), is now-revealed as the secret to true wisdom. As the God-man, he is the perfect embodiment of divine wisdom in human form — he is the life of God in the soul of man — and in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). To those who are perishing, “the word of the cross is folly,” but to those who are being saved, it is God’s power and the paragon of wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18).
If wisdom is the ability to navigate life well, in God’s world, on God’s terms, now we see that it can mean nothing less than having him who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” the only one through whom we may come to the Father (John 14:6). And so to present anyone truly wise, truly mature, it is “him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom” (Colossians 1:28).
Only in Jesus can those born into folly, increasingly manifesting foolishness, on a crash course for destruction, be set free to true wisdom and ultimate life. “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). But Wisdom himself saved us (Titus 3:4–5). (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/pity-the-fool)

 

The Easter story in Mark ends on an eerie note of silence. Last year the British musical group the Planets issued a new CD. One of their pieces contained nothing but 60 seconds of silence. When the recording came out, almost immediately the group found they were being sued. The suit was brought against them by the estate of John Cage, who had previously recorded apiece called "4'33" (4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence). Upon being informed of the pending litigation, Mike Batt of the Planets discounted the charge of plagiarism, commenting, "Mine is a much better silent piece. I'm able to say in one minute what took him 4 minutes and 33 seconds." Eventually, though, the Planets agreed to a settlement.

Most people don't like to think about death. But a coffin manufacturer in Italy is trying to change that. Cisa, a leading Italian funeral home operator and casket maker, has begun using sex to sell its wares. The company's website features sultry models sipping champagne and reclining seductively on the lids. The web page featuring the company's "Madonna" coffin pictures a pouting woman in zebra shorts and high-heel boots kneeling next to the casket. The ad for the "Empire Style" features a blond in a black G-string leaning over the coffin and exposing her backside to the camera. Cisa even offers an on-line "sexy calendar," featuring scantily clad models frolicking among the caskets. One of the owners commented, "We wanted to make the whole idea of picking your coffin less serious, maybe even make people laugh a bit."

A family in Mexico was surprised to open the casket and discover the person they expected to see was not there. The family in Apatzingan, in the Mexican state of Michoacan, wanted to provide a decent burial for their 68-year-old patriarch who had died in California. They paid $8000 for Delta Air Lines to transport the body to them. When they opened the casket, however, they found a dead African-American man with a cigar and book about the World Trade Center. When informed about the mistake, the airline checked its records and realized that the body had accidentally been flown to Greece. As quickly as possible, Delta flew the corpse on to its correct destination.

Among the world religions, we tend to think of the title "Christian" as being one of the most respected, if not the most respected, titles a person of faith can possess. But Christianity didn't start that way. Originally, since the faith centered upon an executed man and the whereabouts of his corpse, many in the ancient world used "Christian" as a disparaging term. In a similar way, today most citizens of the United States who travel abroad are proud to be known as Americans. At first, though, when the nation was in the process of being established, "American" was not a title of respect. Rather the British used the term negatively to draw a distinction between full-blooded Englishmen and the residents of the primitive American colonies. In the eighteenth century the title "American" was usually intended as an insult, implying a degree of inferiority.

One of the most difficult parts of Easter for some people is getting up early for sunrise services. A few months ago a teenage girl in Germany invented a new kind of bed that might be able to help with that problem. If you don't get up within five minutes after your alarm goes off, the mattress slowly begins to rise up, eventually dumping you out of the bed.

The origin of the Easter bunny goes back to pre-Christian times. In the ancient period, rabbits were considered to be the most fertile animal and therefore served as a symbol of new life during the spring season. It was in Germany in the 1500s that the bunny is first mentioned as being associated with the celebration of Easter. The first edible bunnies, made of pastry and sugar, were produced in Germany during the early part of the nineteenth century. The Easter bunny was brought to America by German settlers in the 1700s. Children looked forward to the arrival of the Oschter Haws, who would leave a nest of colored eggs for the children. Children would build nests in a secluded place in their home to receive the eggs. Eventually the use of elaborate Easter baskets became the tradition.

The Easter Bunny is trying to move in on Santa Claus' turf. Most malls that hire a Santa Claus in December are now also hiring an Easter Bunny for at least two weeks before Easter. There is a growing expectation among children—mainly placed there by retailers—that not only will they receive the expected candy gifts on Easter morning, but that they'll also be getting toys and games. Some children even write letters to the Easter Bunny, detailing what they hope to receive. Dr. Daniel Akin, dean of theology at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, remarked, "When Easter is reduced to nothing more than a bunny, Easter eggs and chocolate, we have reached a tragic day, because that is not what Easter was about to begin with and it's not what it should be about today." Merchants, though, have been eager to exploit the commercial aspect of the holiday. Easter now ranks as the second biggest toy-giving holiday of the year.

Like the women who silently left the tomb, the Easter Bunny doesn't talk. He has no "ho ho ho" to offer like Santa Claus.

Almost every year at this time, magazines like Time and Newsweek put Jesus' picture on their covers and they do feature stories about whether there is adequate proof to believe in the resurrection. Many people only want to believe when they have sufficient facts in hand. A couple years ago archaeologists made a discovery that seemed to offer proof of the great flood that reportedly occurred during Noah's day. An archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania found artifacts on the floor of the Black Sea, which apparently indicate that at one time the region was inhabited. The artifacts include such things as carved wooden beams and stone tools. The items were found underneath more than 300 feet of water about 12 miles off the coast of Turkey. The researchers theorize that the region was probably inhabited until some massive flooding occurred, permanently changing the landscape.

What is a resurrection body like? Christian thinkers have contemplated that question since the beginning of the faith. Hong Kong scientists recently created a new kind of body. They manufactured a mannequin that is so lifelike that it even sweats. The dummy was made to help clothes designers make their clothing more comfortable. If the mannequin is placed in certain settings and its temperature rises beyond a particular point, it begins to sweat, thus indicating that it is not comfortable.

Once you're dead, it's difficult to convince people that you're alive again. It took a retired cleaning lady in Berlin two months before she was able to convince German authorities that she was not dead. A clerical error had caused her to be listed as dead on nationwide computer records. The Croatian woman, who had been living in Germany for 33 years, had to obtain a medical certificate attesting that she was indeed alive after her health insurance, pension and bank account were all canceled. It turned out that another woman with the same last name had died, but a bureaucrat had incorrectly listed her as being deceased.

Crazy things sometimes happen in graveyards. Philippine police warned citizens about drunkenness, gambling and kidnapping in the country's graveyards during All Saints' Day celebrations. Thou sands of people each year gather in cemeteries to have picnics, play games and even camp out. Kidnapping has been a particular problem in recent years. Authorities attribute the problem to the widespread ownership of guns and the massive disparity of wealth that exists between the rich and the poor. Desperate poor people occasionally have kidnapped members of wealthy families in order to obtain a ransom payment. One town in the southern part of the Philippines instituted a ban on alcohol and gambling in their cemeteries.

What does it take to bring life out of death? Back in 1605, two young men—William and Paul—attempted to burglarize the home of the Earl of Sussex. Both were apprehended, tried, and convicted. The judge's sentence read as follows: "The said William does not read, to be hanged. The said Paul reads, to be scarred." Although Paul was not condemned like William, he did have to suffer the scarring of his thumbs. Paul survived, though, because he had pleaded what was called "benefit of clergy." According to English law in the seventeenth century, if a convicted person was able to read at least one sentence from an English Bible, that ability exempted him from the death penalty.

An obsession with death can in itself be deadly. A 63-year-old man in Sicily went to inspect the progress of the construction of his mausoleum. In order to get a better view of the project, he climbed a ladder. But he slipped, hit his head on a marble step and fell into his own grave.

Some skeptics wonder if the death and resurrection of Jesus wasn't a little too "perfect." They notice how the events of Holy Week correspond in many ways to Old Testament prophecy, and they theorize the only way it could have happened like that was if the Gospel writers had made the story up. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of the principal leaders of the American Revolution and the founding of the new nation, both died within five hours of each other on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. Historians 1000 years from now are going to look at that fact and quite possibly conclude that it was the product of someone's imagination. Wasn't the ending of their lives a little too "perfect"?

Besides doubting the resurrection, some opponents of Christianity even question whether Jesus actually existed. An archaeological discovery this past fall may be one of the first pieces of physical evidence of Jesus' reality, besides references to him in biblical and extrabiblical texts. An ossuary, a stone receptacle for human remains, was located in Israel. One side bore an inscription in Aramaic which read, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Some scholars have been suggesting that the ossuary contained the remains of the James who is mentioned in the New Testament, the brother of Jesus who eventually became a leader in the early church. Researchers note that all three names—James, Joseph, and Jesus—were common in ancient Palestine. But apparently it was unusual in ancient times to include the name of a brother on an ossuary. The inclusion of the brother's name tends to suggest that the brother was well known. James was stoned to death in 62 A.D. The ossuary does not currently contain any bones. The Armenian Christians claim to have James' bones in their cathedral in old Jerusalem.

In the patristic period there was considerable debate about what age people would be when they were resurrected. A common belief was about thirty. That age was chosen not only because it corresponds to the apparent climax of human health and vitality, but also because it was the approximate age of Jesus when he died and was raised.

John Chrysostom, in his Fifth Century Paschal homily, captures wonderfully the pure and universal joy of Easter. "Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today." (A Triduum Sourcebook, [Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1983], p. 111).

Roger Babson, world known statistician, once said, "I have not been able to find a single useful institution which has not been founded by either an intensely religious person or by a person with at least one praying parent. I have made this statement to Chambers of Commerce across our great land and ask for a single exception—so far none!"

In London's St. Paul's Cathedral Admiral Lord Nelson is buried. His crypt has the epitaph," Thank God, I have done my duty." Where did this come from? On October 21, 1805, Nelson along with 27 ships faced napoleon's combined french and Spanish armada of 33 ships. Wounded in the spine during the battle, he lived long enough to know that victory was England's. His dying words were," Thank God, I have done my duty."

I met a lady in Texas whose father took her to get on the USS Titanic in 1912. They were excited about being a part of the maiden voyage. There at the dock was a sign greeting every passenger: God Himself could not sink this ship!" Her father turned around with his family and took them back to the hotel. He refused to participate in mocking God.

"When you eat a fruit, remember who planted the tree."

If I hadn't believed it; I wouldn't have seen it with my own eyes."

Faith is believing what you don't see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe. St. Augustine

Photographs may not lie but liars take photographs.

Lisa Beamer on Good Morning America- If you remember, she's the wife of Todd Beamer who said `Let's Roll!' and helped take down the plane that was heading for Washington D. C. She said it's the little things that she misses most about Todd, such as hearing the garage door open as he came home, and her children running to meet him.
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This was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend. The last line says it all. Dear Bertha, I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary

Gutat cavat lapidem. (Dripping Hollows rocks.)

"I've already procreated," the fifty-year-old woman said to me. "What does God want of me now?"

"Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings." W.H. Auden

"Because we know our existence is not an accident…" Octavio Paz

"Is our destiny too far a trip _ or have we already arrived?"

"I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies." Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Little Prince"

Top of Page prayers (WorshipAid)

Call to Worship (Based on Ps 118)

Leader: O give thanks to the LORD, for God is good; and God's steadfast love endures forever!
People: We love to say God's steadfast love endures for ever.
Leader: The LORD is my strength and my song.
People: I shall not die, but I shall live.
Leader: The LORD has chastened me sorely, but he has not given me over to death.
People: The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
Leader: This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous.
People: This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Prayer of Confession

Well it is Easter again, and we seem to have missed the real joy. We are sitting in our best clothes feeling a bit uncomfortable having to listen to the same old same old. Here we are it is Easter with the same old celebration and the same old boring story.
We confess Lord that we have lost the hope, we have lost the sudden joy of finding that You are not dead but alive, that You have taken away the fear of death, after all we are still afraid of death. Easter is here and we are still afraid. We are still afraid of dying from not exercising enough or from smoking or from a car accident or from a plane crashing. We are still afraid of our love ones dying We confess Lord we are still surrounded by fear. We confess that we find little good in Easter. We confess we need You to take away our fear and fill our lives with Hope. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication

O God and Creator of us all take these gifts and bring hope and amazement to those who have neither. O Lord of hope and Father of our Lord Jesus, make these gifts not only help others but also help them to make us closer to You the source of our hope and strength in whose name we pray.

Pastoral Prayer

O Lord, I find myself in a world where we are told we should be amazed at the many new things that are happening to us. We are told that we should be amazed by the very small things in life as well as the inventions that make our lives easier. But Lord we come this morning not full of petty amazement, but with the amazement of knowing that what we take for the very limits of our lives, our birthday and death is only a very small part of the true scheme of our lives a very small part to the depth and possibilities of our lives.
O Lord we come this morning rejoicing that the limits that we see and live with each day are not our true limits. We come rejoicing that You O God in three short days showed us that the limits of life are not real that the tragedies of life are not final, that the span of our lives are not dependent upon our ability to think or imagine, but are already beyond our wildest dreams
O Lord help us to fill our lives with the hope of Easter, help us fill our lives with he amazement of Easter. Help us to fill our lives with the hope of Your son, the hope of his resurrection and the hope of our lives beyond this life. In our daily living make this life only a par of the lives we are too live with You. We pray in the name of Jesus who brought us the miracle and hope of Easter. Amen.