Scriptures for Easter Evening

Easter Evening (March 27, 2016)


1 Corinthians 5:6-8 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.


Made New

Easter is all about being made new. As I mentioned this morning, it’s cool that easter happens in the spring, just as everything is coming to life – at least if you are living here in the Shenandoah Valley.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5; “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” In our own denomination of the Wesleyans, “Made New” is what we talk about. It comes up in conversations quite a bit.  This is what Paul is writing in 1 Corinthians above.  Sin is just like yeast.  It doesn’t take much sin at all to make a mess of a person or even a church or the body of Christ.  Look at the damage that has been done by just a little bit of sin in the body of Christ.  We are to be like the unleavened bread that was baked for the Passover.  They didn’t have to wait for it to rise – it was new bread – they didn’t have to wait for the leaven to work – it was ready to bake at a moments notice.

So let’s apply this – today is Easter Sunday.  For many it could be a Sunday of new beginnings. Let’s celebrate by getting rid of the sin in our lives – as the writer of Hebrews says, “the sin that so easily entangles us and trips us up” and feast on the real bread from heaven – Jesus Christ.  Let’s live in his truth and not truths that we have made up.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

He Is Risen!

It is early evening on this last Sunday in March.  This month has been quite mild, with some very nice days – yes, it came in like a lion, but it is going out like a lamb. Speaking of lambs – today is Easter Sunday.  It was good to worship with our friends at Waynesboro Wesleyan Church this morning.  We had a larger crowd than usual, but then again on this day which is really the centerpiece of the Christian year, you would expect that.  Following worship, we went out for a snack because we had Easter dinner planned for this evening.  We had ham, sweet potato casserole and asparagus w/hollandaise sauce.  It was really good.  Anna made the sauce.

On Friday night, we got a chance to see our kids via Facetime.  Robert was doing quite a bit of talking.  It is always good to see them whether in person or via Facetime.  We did it at McDonalds, because our internet connection isn’t always the best and considering something was happening at church – we decided to go out.

I have had a busy week at work and with spring break for our local school district, this week will probably be even busier.

In the big news for the week, Pam and I will be heading north next weekend to candidate at a church.  We would appreciate your prayers – we will let you know more details next weekend.  This is a door that God has opened for us and we want to pursue that.  We are looking forward to that and I am preparing a sermon to preach on Sunday.  The working title is “Empty.”  Again we would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and God’s direction.

That’s about all I have for this evening.  I have to take a look at that sermon…Blessings…

Prayer for Easter Evening

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the
day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

He Is Risen

ResurrectionResurrection of the Lord (March 27, 2016)

1 Corinthians 15:19-26 | New Living Translation (NLT)

And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.

After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.

For the first time in ten years (six in Staunton and four in Martinsville,) I am not up early to conduct a sunrise service.  It’s a bit strange.  I really enjoyed being up early, before the sunrise – most of those mornings over the last ten years have been crystal clear mornings – so as I walked to the church – the land was lit by the full moon. As an aside Easter always is the Sunday following the first full moon after the first day of Spring. So there is always a full moon on Easter.

My thought on those mornings walks was “was it a morning like this?” What did the women who went to the tomb expect.  I’m sure they were not expecting what they didn’t find.  On Friday I wrote about the crucifixion being the linchpin of human history, BUT – without what we are celebrating today, Friday would have been truly tragic.  If Christ would have simply come – If Christ would have simply died – that would have all been in vain – and so would our faith – as Paul writes.  The resurrection is the key piece of the redemption story.  I am excited to be celebrating the resurrection today.  We have spent the week remembering the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross.

Paul writes, “Death came into the world through man.” Not one of us was capable of being good enough for God.  Even if we would have had the chance that Adam and Eve had, we wouldn’t have fared any better.  As death came into the world through a man, NOW life (resurrection) comes to the world through another man – the God-man – Jesus Christ our Lord.  Today because of the resurrection, we can be made new.

I love the fact that Easter comes in the spring – just this week, creation has been springing to life.  The flowering trees have started their annual blooming and color is bursting out all over.  That is what happens in our lives when we receive Jesus in to our hearts, when we live the life of faith that he has called us to live.

This morning let us celebrate!

He Is Risen!


Prayer for Easter Morning

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Easter Vigil

Resurrection-1Easter Vigil (March 26, 2016)

  • Old Testament Readings and Psalms
    • Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26
    • Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13 and Psalm 46
    • Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16
    • Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 and Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18
    • Isaiah 55:1-11 and Isaiah 12:2-6
    • Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 and Psalm 19
    • Ezekiel 36:24-28 and Psalm 42, 43
    • Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Psalm 143
    • Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Psalm 98
  • New Testament Reading and Psalm
    • Romans 6:3-11 and Psalm 114
  • Gospel
    • Luke 24:1-12

Link to the texts for this evening

Romans 6:3-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Tonight, the scriptures give us a glimpse of what we will celebrate tomorrow.  We have waited – and as 21st century believers, we have the benefit of knowing the end of the story.  Our scripture from Romans let’s us know that Christ was raised from the dead – as Christ died to save us and break the power of sin – He lives for God’s glory – so because of that, we should consider sin to have no power in our lives and live for God’s glory.