Worship at Home for Easter Sunday 2021

I would like to encourage you to watch the Easter Service on Facebook 

You can download a copy of the bulletin to help you follow along with the worship service. If you wish to take communion please gather some bread and wine/juice to take communion with those gathered in the sancutary.

Bulletin for Easter Sunday 2021

Children's Message Video

Scripture Lesson: Please read these passages in your Bible at home. If you do not have a Bible, we have many at church and would love to give you one.

Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, I Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18

Sermon:

Empty title, empty tomb. Today is a day of possibilities after what seems to be an endless night of pain and sorrow. What was Mary expecting that morning as she walked to the tomb in the dark of the first hour of the day? Was she planning to stand outside the tomb and release her pent-up grief in a torrent of tears? Was she proving to herself that yes, her friend and teacher was truly dead? Was she planning to do those rituals that we do for those loved ones whom have died? Was she going pray and recite a mourners’ prayer? What was she expecting as she ventured forth in the dark hours of early morning?

The empty tomb awaited Mary. The empty tomb was totally unexpected. The empty tomb was unnerving to Mary who was barely hanging on emotionally in her grief.

Have you ever encountered unexpected news? Have you ever entered a situation expecting one thing and then finding something completely different? When we go to the cemetery to place our flowers and pray, we expect the tombs to be …well closed. You can imagine Mary’s fear when the tomb she came to see was not only open, but empty.

For many of us we have heard the story of the empty tomb on Easter morning so often that it has become expected rather an exceptional. Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine that you are Mary. How do you feel?

For the past year we have had to deal with unexpected circumstances. Last year we all fully expected to be worshiping in the Sanctuary on Easter morning. Instead we found ourselves listening to the podcast or watching the Easter Sunrise service from the cemetery on Facebook. The joyous celebration that was to follow the closure of public places to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 took far longer than expectations would have led us to hope. Many have been in a fog of confusion and grief as whole ways for interacting with other people were sealed up in a tomb of health precautions.

Now the stones are carefully being rolled away as the recently vaccinated cautiously venture out into the garden of hope. The light of hope is dawning as many who have stayed away from worshipping in person begin to return to the sanctuary and community. It is so good to have others to be with and to speak to concerning what we have experienced.

Mary needs to tell others about what she has seen and experienced. After finding the tomb empty, she runs to tell the disciples that the tomb is empty. Peter and the disciple Jesus loves best race with Mary back to the tomb and confirm her story. The two disciples peer into the tomb and see the folded grave clothes. Then the two men leave shaking their heads and wondering what this means. Not knowing what to do, they return to their homes.

Mary remains behind to weep. She peers into the tomb and sees two angels who ask her, “Why are you weeping?” She gives a heartfelt answer which expresses her fear, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they laid him.” Her last bit of hope and comfort has been removed from her. The only thing she can do is weep and grieve for her friend who died and the hopes and dreams that were lost with his death.

Then hope, love and life arrive. Jesus appears to tell Mary that he is alive. It takes a moment to recognize him. The expected reason for an empty tomb has been replaced with the exceptional joy of the risen Christ. Mary becomes the bearer of the greatest news that anyone has ever shared, “I have seen the Lord!” Let us share this good news of Jesus’ resurrection too. Let us raise our voices and hearts in praise. Alleluia! Christ has risen, Christ has risen indeed!

Prayer

God who takes our expectations of grief and sadness and turns them into exceptionally good news of the resurrection. We offer you our thanks and praise. Give us the voices to sing praises and share the good news that Jesus lives. May we live lives that reflect your love so that all may know the joy of new life in Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit offer comfort and hope to those who mourn. May healing strength fill the sick. May hope be with those in desperate situation.

Let us take time to lift up the joys and concerns of our hearts in prayer.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer

Prayer list:

Ahna, Priscilla, Grandpa David, Virginia, Vic, Liz’s sister in law, Butch, Marcie, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Linda, Pat, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Jeff, Terry, Bev, Mark, Dave, Peggy, youth struggling with mental health issues, Shawn, Lindsey, Sue, Diann, Danna, Janet, Lisa, Joyce, Sara, Cheyenne, Katelyn and Michelle.

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