CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 95:1-3
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Christ is risen!
Now what? The disciples clung to each other.
They huddled in the upper room, waiting.
Would the authorities come to take them, too?
Instead, Jesus himself appeared, despite the locked door.
Next came doubts and questions, assurances and instructions, and a last word:
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Christ is risen! Now what?
Now we come together to wait for him.
May the risen Christ bless us as we worship what we have not seen, yet believe.
ALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: Christ is risen!
ALL: He is risen indeed!
ONE: Now there is a light instead of darkness.
ALL: Life instead of endless death. Eternal light as God's
ONE: The tomb is open. He lives! He lives!
ALL: Death is dead and night is done.
ONE: Earth shouts with joy and heaven gives its gift of
gold in the risen sun.
ALL: Roll back the clouds of hate and fling apart the
curtains of the night.
ONE: In hearts that love and souls that song,
ALL: Let Christ arise! Let there be light!
PRAYER OF INVOCATION:
This is the day you have made, Lord, and we rejoice!
Come. Let the world know you dwell with us. Stir our
souls with love and hope, and let our feet dance for joy
on Your good earth. Open our eyes to the hopes and
needs of this planet, and all who share its life. Embolden
our hearts to works of justice in Your name. Be present to
us. Empower us with Your resurrection life. Let the world
know, through our lives, that Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
All of creation is God's gift to us, including our very lives.
What we do with our lives and with creation is our gift to
God. Let us be about the business of building God's
realm, a healed Earth where there is enough for all. We
will now receive your offering.
Risen Christ, bless these gifts,
along with our very lives. May gifts and givers alike be
dedicated to Your work of love, hope, justice and peace.
SPECIAL MUSIC: The Holy City - Howard Welburn
CHILDREN'S TIME: "The Real Easter Bunny"
THE REAL EASTER BUNNY
There's no story in the Bible about a long-earred, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young people painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with delicious Easter goodies. And REAL rabbits don't lay eggs, do they?
Today, I'm going to tell you about Jesus and how we all should try to be like Him.
I'm going to compare Jesus to a real Easter Bunny!
A real Easter Bunny:
Is white as snow because Jesus takes all sin away. Isaiah 1:18b — Your sins are red like deep red cloth, but they can be as white as snow.
Is gentle, kind-hearted and forgiving. Ephesians 4:32 — Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other just as God forgives you.
Has big ears that are quick to listen. James 1:19 — Always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Don't become angry easily.
Has big eyes to look carefully and choose what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 -- Test everything. Keep what is good.
Has no voice for complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:13 — Yes, God is working in you to help you want to do what pleases Him. Then He gives you the power to do it.
Is quiet in prayer, but hops with thanksgiving and rejoicing. Philippians 4:4-6 — Be full of joy in the Lord always. Let all people see that you are gentle and kind. Don't worry about anything. Pray and ask God for everything you need. And when you pray, always give thanks.
Has big feet to go tell others about Jesus so they can be like Easter Bunnies too.
Matthew 28:19-20 — So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have taught you. You can know that I will always be with you.
Eats what is healthy by filling up on God's word. Psalm 119:11 — 1 have taken your words to heart so I would not sin against you.
Luke 24:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Has Risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28 New International Version (NIV)20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man,the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
ANTHEM: Every Morning Is Easter Morning - Choir
PRAYER: When our faith stands at the grave, grieving for a stone
that's rolled away, forgive us. When our faith is short of understanding though the truth is there to see, forgive us. When our faith, beset by doubt, sees no further than an empty tomb today, forgive us. Bring to mind the cry of Mary, "I have seen the Lord!" and grant us faith to believe.
Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! May this declaration resound not only in these walls but touch the lives of all we meet and forever be the truth of which we speak. Your love, once sown within a garden, tended for Your own people, neglected and rejected, now spreads its sweet perfume in this place and wherever it is shown. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
RESPONSIVE READING: (Turn to #231 In your hymnal)
ONE: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings.
ALL: In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
All sing verse 1 of When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - #231
1. When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
ONE: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
ALL: But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
All sing verse 2.
2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
ONE: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
ALL: And when they had made a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they mocked Him saying, Hail, King of the Jews.
All sing verse 3.
3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
MEDITATION: An Easter Symbol
An Easter Symbol
Who is the Easter Bunny and does she really lay eggs? Now you're
probably asking yourself, "Why in the world is she talking about bunnies on Easter Sunday, and in church?" No, I haven't lost my mind and I will show you that there actually is a religious connection and it will be revealed shortly.
As a Christian, the first thing that comes to mind when we think about Easter might be the cross, or the empty tomb. But for others, who are bombarded with media advertisements and store shelves stacked high with Easter merchandise of all kinds, it's more likely that the Easter Bunny comes to mind. So how did a rabbit distributing eggs become a part of Easter?
Let's begin with the white lily, which has come to capture the glory of
Easter Sunday. The lily is often called the "White-Robed Apostle of Hope." Lilies were sound in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ died on the cross. Now referred to as Easter Lilies, they signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hop for eternal life.
Next, let's look at the word Easter. Its name comes from Eastre, the
Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Spring festivals were held in her honour to celebrate new life, rebirth and growth. The date for Easter Sunday is
determined by the first full moon following the vernal equinox, which explains why Easter Sunday can fall anywhere from March 22 to April 25.
Now let's look at the Easter Bunny. In today's world, many children wake up on Easter morning to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets filled with candy and chocolate Easter eggs. So this makes the Easter Bunny a kind of rabbit-spirit, like Santa Claus. Many years ago he was called the 'Easter Hare.'
Hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births, so it's easy to see why they became a symbol of fertility. Easter comes in the Spring and celebrates birth and new life. The Christian meaning of new life is the come through Christ.
The rabbit's warren or burrow also helped it become an Easter symbol.
Believers saw the rabbit coming out of its underground home as a symbol for Jesus coming out of the tomb. This is just another example of taking a pre- existing symbol and giving it a Christian meaning.
The rabbit is often associated with fear, timidity, nervousness and fertility. This reminds us, as Christians, that we must learn to move through the fear, live by our own wits, receive the teachings and messages of Jesus and strengthen our intuition. The rabbit also represents humility, because it is quiet, soft and not self-asserting. The rabbit reminds us not to be afraid. Fearful thoughts reproduce, like rabbits, and bring forward the very thing we fear.
The inspiration for this morning's message comes from a beautiful story
written by Stephanie Williams Hope. My mother was a writer and she collected many short stories she found while researching her own work. I found this story in her collection, entitled "The Easter Symbol" and I believe it is worth sharing on this Resurrection Sunday.
It was the ending of a time and the beginning of a time. It was the
darkness, and it was the light. It was tears, and it was hope. It was the
crucifixion of Christ.
The sky was dark with hatred and prejudice, and mankind seemed to be upon the darkest hour.
Thunder rolled across the sky, and lightning sliced crazily through somber clouds.
Some men rejoiced, others wept, and in the mortal sense all men were at
The forest was alive with beasts, their senses tuned to something far
beyond their realm of understanding. They could smell the shame and error in the air.
The beasts converged upon the meadow. Once a grazing spot of
tranquility, it now embraced the darkness. The rumble of the sky was warning menacingly of a change. They crowded close, each a part of nature's scene.
From field mouse to mountain lion, they herds began to grow in number. They communicated silently, the confusion and the fear always present in their eyes.
Soon it was decided. They must discover why the sky was angry. Could
they be to blame for the holocaust upon the hill? They must send a courier. They would solve the mystery for themselves, but they must send him soon. They must know the reason for all the anger in the sky.
The meadow swiftly filled to its capacity with all God's creatures, and they began to choose. What beast could complete this task? He should not be too large for fear of discovery nor too small to comprehend everything. He must be fleet of foot and have coat that would conceal his presence among the rocks and trees.
A judgement was reached. It was decided that the rabbit would complete the journey. His brown coat would not attract notice, and his speed would bring the answer quickly.
The rabbit set about his mission with the speed granted to him by his
creator. Through the forest, over streams, and down the hills through the heavy air he raced. His nostrils twitched with apprehension. Then, he saw it in the distance, but what were those giant trees? They had no leaves and only one branch across the top. He sped closer; he must get a better look. The scent of death and evil pervaded his senses. He did not like the smell. It was the smell of man, a scent he had grown to fear.
He travelled faster now, he could observe three trees in the distance, but
men were a part of those trees. He was confused; his wonder was intense.
He saw men laughing, women grieving; he saw the sky turn blacker as the thunder attained its peak.
He reached the base of the strange trees and crouched beneath the bush
closest to the middle tree. He gazed upward; there was a gentleness and a sadness in the man's eyes. He did not fear this man. He knew He would cause no harm. He felt the wrong. He knew that mankind had erred, but he could not help. He glanced up again; it may have been beue of an instinct or and inner sense granted to all God's creatures that he knew this special man meant peace and love for all.
He remained motionless; his eyes returned again to the gentle man's gaze, and slowly hsi fur began to lighten from brown to gray to white, until it was as white as pure snow. This was the sign — he knew it was! Man and beast alike could still have hope. Ha paused once more in wonder to look at the face. The eyes could almost speak; the rabbit understood the silent message. It was all to clear, a reminder of man's ignorance and helplessness, and the rabbit would be that reminder throughout all the centuries to come. He would be the special sign; he would represent this day.
He began his journey back to the meadow and the anxious beasts. They
must know what he knew. His coat was now a winter white — this would be the symbol and the proof that man and beast alike would share this day forever.
As I told the children earlier; there is no place in the Bible about a long-earred, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. But the rabbit is gentle and kind-hearted, as is Jesus. Philippians 4:4-6 says "Be full of joy in the Lord always. Let people see that you are gentle and kind."
Let us pray: May the glory and the promise of this joyous time of year,
bring peace happiness and peace to you and your loved ones. May Christ, our Risen Saviour, always be there for you, to bless you most abundantly and to always be your guide. May the blessed Easter story of the Resurrection bring new hopes, new peace, new joy and love, and make your heart — "He Is Risen!"
ONE: Friends, today we have celebrated the glorious mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. Let us go forth, rejoicing in the knowledge that Jesus is alive.
Alleluia! Today, we look to the future-to the new dawn of Eastertide.
ALL: Let us go to live as people bathed in the light of resurrection. Alleluia!
ONE: Today, we remember the day when creation was made new, when God showed humanity its destiny.
ALL: Let us go as people living in the knowledge that through the triumph of Jesus over death the gates of heaven are re-opened. Alleluia!
BENEDICTION: And now may the celebration of resurrected life bring new hope to your being. May the victory over earthly death turn your eyes to the promises of heaven. May the empty tomb help you to leave your sorrows at the foot of the cross, so that God's hope, promises and forgiveness reign in your life forever.
Call to Worship Psalm 111:1-3
Great Are the Lord's Works
One: Praise the Lord!
All: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
One: Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
All: Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
For every Lesson you’ve prepared
The Love of God has been shared.
The Pipers & Nancy “Here I Am Lord”
I’d like to call Nelson to the front…
Nelson at of the beginning of 2017 you retired from Pulpit Lay Ministry…
In which year did you begin preaching…
-which year did you take the lay minister’s course
-do you have any ideas how many different churches you preached at...
Today we would like to dedicate this service to you …to say thank you for all the times you preached your inspirational sermons to us here in Rockburn. As it is printed in the bulletin today:
Nelson :For every Lesson you’ve prepared, the Love of God has been shared.
We want you to know we are truly grateful and thankful for the work of God, You have so graciously created & shared with us & for the way you have strengthened our Church.
Today, We have talented musicians performing lined up, a poem to be read, we are going to sing some of your favourite hymns with coffee & cookies to follow. We would also like to present to you a wee thank you gift. (a framed song of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”)
I found something in the Bible that totally suits this moment: and it reads 1 Thessalonians 3:9
“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?”
Let us now get this service started by singing Great is Thy Faithfulness
God of all times and places we thank you that there is no place we can go where your spirit is not already there. Long before us, you were. Long after us you will be. Here and now, in the sad and in the joyous, in fear and in confidence, in hope and in despair, in beauty and in distress, you are present. Where you are life is blessed. Love is energized.
Courage is discovered.
As we pray for our world and its people, rekindle our belief, not that you will do our bidding, but that you will purify our prayers making them serve your will. Hear us as we bring before you the people whom we love and care for. (Pause)
Bring the fullness of life to those we love.
We focus our prayer on people in our communities and in our world that are struggling, we call to mind especially those who are lonely, worried or plagued with anxiety. (Pause)
Bring peace of mind to all who live despair.
We pray for places in our world where there is injustice and hatred. (Pause)
Bring your compassion and kindness to places of brokenness.
We bring before you in silence the prayers that have been on our hearts this week. (Pause)
We lift all these prayers to you the name of Jesus who taught us to pray…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Joe's poem dedicated to Nelson
One day I went to church when I wasn’t going to,
and I heard a man with a message,
and I saw him loud and clear.
You see, it wasn’t the content or the way he said it,
it wasn’t the scripture though he knew it well.
It was the man himself, he spoke like a friend
and I saw in his eyes - I see them clear -
I saw a small twinkle like a jolly Kris Kringle
and I knew that this coming to church to just hear him
was the event of my day, this one holy Sunday.
Now, this man made me feel like I’d known him forever,
and yet I’d just seen him a time or two before.
And this day when he spoke he spoke of a whole people
who suffered together beset by the strong.
I turned to my wife,”Do you remember his name?”
“Who? Why him. The one with the beard like the Baptist.
The one up there in the pulpit, speaking of injustice.
Speaking in a way I picture Christ himself might speak,
kindly, and softly, not like a preacher, but drawing a picture,
more like a neighbour speaking of crops, telling a story
of a great man in Africa, one called Mandela,
who suffered in jail a very long time.”
“No,” she replied, “I don’t remember his name.”
But then he kept talking, and he spoke of his subject again,
this Mandela who suffered more than any ten men should,
but survived, and forgave, and showed the world
the profile of a real Christian, one who perseveres like Job
and loves like Christ…and then…and then I remembered.
The man he referred to with whom he shared a name.
And the name, it was Nelson. And I sighed.
I was finally satisfied.
- Joe Hevesy, Apr. 2, 2017
Rob & Gordon: GARDEN SONG (inch by inch, row by row ----)
1 Thessalonians 3:9
“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy
that we feel before our God because of you?”
Hymn: # 98 “It Only Takes A Spark”
Message: “From the desk of God”
From the Desk of God
Please be aware that there are changes you need to make in your life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill my promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. I know, I already gave you the 10 Commandments. Keep them. But follow these guidelines as well...
1. QUIT WORRYING
Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?
2. PUT IT ON THE LIST
Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to me. And, although my to-do-list is long, I am, after all, God. I can take care of anything you put into my hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.
3. TRUST ME
Once you've given your burdens to me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on my list. Problem with finances? Put it on my list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For my sake, put it on my list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.
4. LEAVE IT ALONE
Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with me and forget about them. Just let me do my job.
5. TALK TO ME
I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please don't forget to talk to me - OFTEN! I love you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to include me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with me. I want to be your dearest friend.
6. HAVE FAITH
I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in me that I know what I'm doing. Trust me, you wouldn't want the view from my eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?
You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.
8. BE PATIENT
I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes me a little longer than you expect to handle something on my to-do-list? Trust in my timing, for my timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.
9. BE KIND
Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for my sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please know I love each of your differences.
10. LOVE YOURSELF
As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only - to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes my heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget that!
With all my heart, I love you,
Norm & Rob: “You Gotta Walk That Lonesome Valley"
Hymn: # 62 “To God Be The Glory” Mary’s Songbook
Benediction & Choral Amen
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope..