ANNOUNCEMENTS

Wed. Apr. 26     7 pm     Bible Study

Next Sun. Apr. 30

10 am   Sunday School

11 am   Worship

Thank you to the Gideons for the presentation today.  There will be an offering on an open Bible at the end of the service.

Reception today from 2-4 pm at Darrouzett Baptist for Pastor Stephen and Tammie Ammons who will be moving soon.  Card shower and money tree.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sun. May 21                  4 pm     Service at Twin Oaks

Mon. June 12 – Fri. June 16  Community VBS at St. Paul’s

Sun. July 23                  Bishop Mike Girlinghouse will be our guest.  We will be serving a planned German meal after worship.  Check with Norma Miller about what is needed.

THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN

(John 20:19-31)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Thomas was not the only one who had to see to believe.   Remember when the women came to tell the men about the empty tomb.  The men had to go to see to believe for themselves.  When the women had seen the empty tomb, they also had to be reassured that what they were seeing was real, that the measure of their grief was not playing tricks on them.

The angel at the tomb assures them that what they are seeing, that is, what they are not seeing, Jesus’ dead body lying in the tomb, is for real: “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid;  I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.   He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.”  (Matthew 28:5-6)

The women are asked: “’Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners,  and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’

Then they remembered his words,  and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James,  and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.   But these words seemed to them an idle tale,  and they did not believe them.   But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in,  he saw the linen cloths by themselves;  then he went home, amazed at what had happened.  (Luke 24:5-12)

The women remembered the words of Jesus. When Peter sees the empty tomb for himself he begins to remember the words of Jesus. Those early disciples who were reminded of the words of Jesus and repeatedly, faithfully remembered those words, those words were written out for us in scripture.

We don’t have the opportunity to go check out the empty tomb. Yet we believe.  Continue reading

GREETINGS

(Matthew 28:1-10)                Pastor Carol Weist

Greetings!

There are Christmas greetings and Easter greetings and form letter greetings.

Now Christmas greetings in the form of form letters, one letter to all with an extra note here or there, there are those who don’t like them and prefer totally personalized notes.  I can understand that.  As for myself, it is simply good to get any sort of Christmas greeting from folks, whether it be a phone call, an in-person “Merry Christmas,” a card with a signature, a handwritten note or letter, and yes, even a machine printed letter updating friends and family on the events of the last year.  It is good to hear from folks.

Now there are other types of form letters mailed or emailed to thousands that start with “Greetings!” which may raise questions. What are they trying to sell?  What do they want money for?

Then there is the case of Judas at the Garden of Gethsemane coming up to Jesus and saying, “Greetings, Rabbi. Greetings, Teacher.”  (Matthew 26:49) That was a greeting of betrayal.  That is how Judas identified Jesus in the dark of evening to the soldiers ordered to arrest him.

Greetings can be phony.  After Jesus’ arrest and trial, before his crucifixion, the soldiers mock Jesus, saying, “Greetings, King of the Jews.  Hail, King of the Jews.”  They don’t regard him as their king.  They dress him as a king with a robe and a crown of thorns and spit on him.  (Matthew 27:29)

The word for greetings is the same as the word for rejoice, as in Matthew 5:12 at the end of the beatitudes at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Those are words that Jesus taught.

“Greetings, teacher.  Rejoice, Rabbi.”- the words Judas betrayed Jesus with.

“Greetings, king.  Rejoice, king, Hail, king of the Jews.”- the words the soldiers mocked Jesus with.

“Greetings, women.  Rejoice, women,”  the life-giving word the risen Jesus gives the women leaving the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:9) Continue reading

HOSANNA

(Matthew 21:1-21)                  Pastor Carol Weist

Hosanna!  Hosanna! According to some sources it means “Praise the Lord!” Actually, it means, “Lord, deliver us,” “Lord, save us,” “Lord help us.” 

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!”  That is one translation of Psalm 118:25.  We don’t hear the word “hosanna” there but listen to the Hebrew untranslated original:   אָנָּ֣א יְ֭הוָה הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה נָּ֑א אָֽנָּ֥א יְ֝הוָ֗ה הַצְלִ֘יחָ֥ה נָּֽא׃   Ah-na Adonai ho-she-ah-na, ah-na Adonai he-zli-ach-na.

Did you hear the hosanna?  Did you hear the cry for help and deliverance? That is what shouting hosanna is.  It is a shout for help, a shout for help and a cry for success.

What is Jesus’ response to that cry?  Continue reading

A PLACE OF FORGIVENESS, REDEMPTION, AND HOPE

(Psalm 130)                         Pastor Carol Weist

A deep, deep place.  A deep, deep hole.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” (Psalm 130:1)

No matter how deep the place you are at, you can cry to the Lord. “Lord, hear my voice!”  (130:2) We may wonder if God hears.  It is OK to cry out, Lord, listen to me!

Lord, hear my prayer.  Yes, of course, in calmer, more peaceful, less troubled times, we know God hears.

It is right in scripture that it is OK to cry out “Lord, hear my voice!” with an exclamation of demand, the demand for attention and attentiveness from God.

Then there is a moment of questioning, a question of who can stand.  “Who could stand, if you, O Lord, should mark iniquities?”  (130:3)

Iniquities are not inequity.  Equity is what is fair and just.  Inequity is what is not fair, what is unjust.  Inequity has an “e” as the second vowel. Iniquity has all “i”’s as vowels except for that “y” at the end, as in “I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

At times we cry out “Why?” “Why Lord, are you picking on me?”, or “Why, Lord, is everybody else picking on me?” and then we question ourselves, we examine ourselves.  The result is one becomes attentive to the fact that I have sinned.  Just as trespass is another word for sin, so iniquity is another word for sin, for “I have sinned”.

If any one of us had to stand there while the Lord made a mark for each and every sin committed, any one of us would be there longer than any person could possibly stand. There might be big marks for big sins and lots of little marks, lots and lots of little marks for multitudes of little sins, multitudes of untrusting moments.

God does not make each one of us stand there for going on forever while he marks down all our sins. As part of our discipleship, as part of our learning to be followers of Jesus, we learn that there is forgiveness with Jesus,   that when we remember and acknowledge that we are forgiven, then we can freely reverence God.  (130:4) Continue reading

A PLACE OF PREPARATION FOR MISSION

(Psalm 23)    Pastor Carol Weist

This is a place of preparation for mission.

The Lord is our shepherd.  The Lord prepares us and prepares the way.

We shall not want.  There are those among us and around us who want for the resources to comfortably pay for the basics.  We don’t want that.  Individually or even together we do not have the resources to help everybody with everything.

How can we best help ourselves and help others?

Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures. Jesus makes us rest.  Working harder and faster constantly does not effectively address needs, without that rest in a green pasture.  Jesus makes us rest.  God made our bodies so they become sleepy.  Your green pasture may not be a luxury recliner, your bed may not have a designer frame, but it is a needed place of rest, a place of preparation for mission, a place to reflect and re-focus.

Even more so this is a place of preparation for mission, where we gather to worship and pray, to remember who Jesus is, what his mission to us was and still is, and the gift of being able to continue participating in that mission. Continue reading

A PLACE OF JOYFUL REST AND PRAISE

(Psalm 95)   Pastor Carol West

Enter God’s rest.

God’s rest is not laziness.  God’s rest includes labor that is not toil, not drudgery – for Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Enter God’s rest.  Sing to the Lord. Let your singing be a joyful noise, joyful noise to the rock. Let your singing be a joyful noise, not merely echoing off rocky mountains, but echoing off of God our rock, the rock of our salvation.

Jesus is the rock who rolls our sins away. Remember the rock that blocked the entrance to Jesus’ tomb, the tomb that was the place Jesus was buried, the place he was expected to stay – at least that is what those who had crucified him thought would happen.

That rock was rolled away. Jesus has risen from the dead to roll away our sins – those bags of unholy rocks slung around our shoulders crippling backs and knees, weighing us down. Jesus scatters those rocks to the wind – blowing them away like dandelion seeds that disintegrate rather than take root.

Rise up – stand tall – walk tall – enter God’s rest. Continue reading