Worship at Home for Easter Sunday April 9 2023

Dear Friends,

Easter will be celebrated this Sunday. It will be a joyful celebration that acknowledges that Jesus rose from the dead. The tomb was not the end but the beginning. Praise God Jesus lives!

New These Days devotional guides are available for April, please let me know if I can deliver one to your home. If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Ministerial Alliance Good Friday Worship at St. Peter’s at Noon
  • Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt on Friday beginning at 6pm.
  • Easter Sunrise Worship in the Cemetery at 6:30am
  • Easter Worship with Communion at 9am
  • Church Council Meeting on Monday at 6:30pm
  • Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Choir Practice on Wednesday at 7 pm
  • Youth to shop for Birthday Boxes for Helping Hands on Sunday, April 16 at 4:30
  • Dorcas Brunch for Ukraine on Sunday April 23 at 10am


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:1-6, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-18
Other readings include Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, Matthew 28:1-10


In gazing at this wood carving by Wayne Kemper which came from an idea given to him by Vickie Mayberry, I have been thinking about the difference between a closed tomb and an empty one. A closed tomb represents a very human ending. The open tomb told the world that Jesus had risen and signaled the beginning of new life for all.

Mary thought that she was going to a closed tomb in the darkness of early morning on the day after the sabbath. Something compelled her to go to the grave that morning. There was a deep need in her to see where her Lord had been hurriedly buried after his crucifixion and death. She went expecting the tomb to be closed.

But when she arrived in the garden where the tomb was located, she looked and saw that the stone had rolled away. The heavy stone which sat in a groove and required at least two strong people to roll it had been moved to show the entrance of the tomb. Mary was shocked. She thought that someone had taken Jesus’ body away. So, she ran to find Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved.

The empty tomb becomes the center of action that morning. What does the empty tomb mean? Mary concludes with a very human answer that someone has taken the body of Jesus. This would make sense as bodies of the executed were often placed in group graves and only returned after a year to their families. (NRSV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan) Perhaps Mary thought that the authorities had changed their minds about allowing Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus’ body and bury him in a tomb near the place where Jesus was crucified. (John 19:38-42) Simon Peter and the disciple Jesus’ loved came to a similar conclusion when they saw the empty tomb and the folded grave clothes.

Mary, Peter, and the disciple Jesus loved viewed the world that morning only through human agency and control at that moment. And why wouldn’t they? Human military and political power had colluded to crucify Jesus. Jesus had submitted to the humiliating death on the cross. Where was God they wondered?

Have you ever wondered where God was during chaos and trouble? When a loved one dies have you questioned why God did not miraculously stop the worst from happening? Did you return to the place of  chaos, trouble or burial as if drawn by a magnet to make sense of it all? Did you try to take control of the situation yourself?

After the disciples returned to their homes, Mary, frozen by grief, frustration, and confusion, stood weeping. She took another look into the tomb and encountered angels. Angels who wondered why she was weeping. She lamented to the angels that someone had taken her Lord away. Then she turned around and was asked the again why she was weeping by Jesus. Both times she answered with only human agency and control in mind that an unknown human “they” had taken the body of her Lord. But the human “they” had nothing to do with Jesus’ body.

The Risen Jesus called Mary by name. Mary now cried out for joy. Jesus gave her some of instructions. First do not hold on to me, because I still need to return to the Father. For us that might mean do not hold on to our human ideas about controlling about what God can do. God raised Jesus from the dead! God does amazing things all the time, we just need to open our eyes and ears to recognize what God is doing. Second Mary was to go to the disciples and tell them the good news. Mary opened to the new possibilities of life in the risen Christ, did just that as she exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord!” to the disciples.

We need to open ourselves to the Good News that God is at work in our lives and the world. Like the wooden carving of the open tomb which proclaims that “He is risen!”  We need to open our ourselves to new possibilities to life in the risen Christ. We are not in this life alone. God is with us and guides us. Mary did as Jesus’ asked and the world has never been the same. Praise God, Christ has risen!  

Prayer:Living Savior, open our hearts to the wonderful joy of new life in you. Alleluia, amen.

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, Kate, Kyle, Carmen, Sandy, Gary, Terry, Bob, Mark’s brother Billy and sister-in-law Jane, Delores W. and for peace.