Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Blessed Easter, 2008! (with Update)

Christ's Crucifixion - Harry Anderson
Luk 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

Luk 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luk 23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided [him], saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Luk 23:36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

Luk 23:37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

Luk 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Luk 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Luk 23:44 ¶ And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Luk 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luk 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Luk 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Luk 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Luk 23:49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

Luk 23:50 ¶ And, behold, [there was] a man named Joseph, a counsellor; [and he was] a good man, and a just:

Luk 23:51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) [he was] of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

Luk 23:52 This [man] went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

Luk 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

Luk 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

Luk 23:55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

Luk 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

The Angel Opening Christ's Tomb

Luk 24:1 ¶ Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them.

Luk 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Luk 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luk 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Luk 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Luk 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

Luk 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luk 24:8 And they remembered his words,

Luk 24:9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luk 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary [the mother] of James, and other [women that were] with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

The Tomb is empty.

Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Act 1:9 ¶ And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Christ is Risen

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Update: I got back at 9am, from the Sunrise Easter service at The Church On The Bayou, in Tarpon Springs. That's the church my folks belong to and serve as Deacon and Deaconess (Cool, huh?). The Sunrise service begins at 6:45am, and is fairly short. Good thing because I needed coffee! *wink*

The morning was cloudy, although when I arrived at the church - I was one of the first there, and was pressed into service handing out the programs and forks (I will explain) - there were breaks in the clouds and the moonlight was illuminating the edges of the breaks. A very pretty sight. Last year it was in the 40s for the service, but this year I had to take my coat off. Cool in shirt-sleeves, but too warm in the coat. As the service went on the clouds opened more and light began to shine. But the sun itself did not appear until after. No matter. If you have read my blog you know I’m a storm and rain guy. But it was a pretty morning.

*Mosquitos are sluggish at this time of year, but they are out there! Just a public service announcement, y’all!*

The choir the pastors thought was coming didn’t show, but the choir leader did! Odd, huh? And she sang the first hymn and it was fine. Too dark to read a hymnal so we didn’t really sing along. And we were outside with no hymnals. *shrug* And I was still handing out programs and forks (Explanation coming) so I hummed.

This service brings together a few of the Tarpon Springs churches and denominations, with the pastors sharing the prayers, invocations, sermon, and dedications. It’s nice. And it’s a way to see what pastors in other places do and say.

Pastor Henry Cribb, from the First United Methodist Church of Tarpon Springs, gave the sermon - his idea to hand out the forks - and opened with a joke. I’ll see if I can retell it:

Local pastors get together on Mondays to talk, catch up with local news, and so on. They have coffee in a local diner to do this. And they do it most every Monday. It’s also a way to encourage each other, pray together, and so on. One of the pastor’s parishioners saw this - at this point Pastor Cribb mentioned that he was not giving names to protect the innocent, which got a nice laugh - and the woman asked the Pastor what was going on.

The Pastor jokingly told her that the ministers got together, as a way for them to stay ahead, because they exchanged sermons.

The woman spoke to him in a very stern, Mother-knows-best way to the Pastor.

“You have to stop!” she told him.

“But why?” the Pastor asked her.

“You’re being shorted!”

And this got a good laugh from all of us. Then Pastor Cribb got into the sermon which also was a bit humorous, having to do with a woman’s funeral instructions to her minister, as she was approaching death. The last thing she demands of him for her funeral is that in the casket, for the viewing, she be holding a fork in her hand.

“A fork?”

“I know you probably think it’s an odd request.”

“Well, a little different. Why a fork?”

“You know I’ve been coming to the Church suppers and parties, the church picnics and benefits. for years. And loved them all. It was always fun, and there was always a fellow who’d come around, clearing the plates way, and he’d lean over and say, ‘you might want to hold on to that fork.’ And I did, because I knew something good was coming; something better was coming. So I held on to that fork.”

“And so, for your funeral...?”

“When the folks come by to look at me, they’ll see that fork, and they’ll ask, “Why is she holding a fork?’ And you can tell them. You can say, ‘She’s holding that fork because she knows something better is coming. Something better is coming.’”

And that got a thoughtful laugh, and was a nice story. So he explained the stainless-steel fork in detail. Why a stainless-steel fork? Stainless, because the Blood of Christ washed all the stains of our sins away. Steel, because steel is durable, holds weight, and is tempered by the heat of this world, and the fork because we know something good is coming!

Well, Pastor Henry Cribb said it better. After all it took a good twenty minutes for him to preach. So I just gave you the gist. And I think it was a nice sermon for an Easter morning. And we all left the damp grass lawn of the church with a stainless-steel fork to remember the sermon.

The hymn to close the service - since we had no choir - was led by a young pastor, Ken Pippin from Highest Praise Family Church, and he spoke for a minute, then began to sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know ..." And danged if we didn't all know this hymn. And we sang it. Two verses! Right out of my memories of Sunday School! What a nice hymn for an Easter, right?

After the service the church had a three-dollar a plate breakfast, which was tasty - and coffee, was needed! - and I chatted with my folks for a while. I wished them and all I saw a Happy Easter. And I wish the same to you! Happy Easter!

Christ Is Risen; He is risen indeed!

"Jesus Loves Me"

Words: Stanza 1, An­na B. War­ner, 1860. Stanzas 2-3, Da­vid Ru­ther­ford Mc­Guire. This hymn first ap­peared in the no­vel Say and Seal, by War­ner's sis­ter Su­san; she want­ed a song for a Sun­day School teach­er to sing to a dy­ing boy, and asked An­na to write it.
Music: Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry, 1862

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.


Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”


Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Note: Sister Toldjah reposts her Easter 2007 entry. Have a tissue or hanky handy. You've been warned!


Joubert said...

That fork story is priceless. Happy Easter!

Jack Steiner said...

Hope you had a good holiday.

shoprat said...

Never heard that stanza of Jesus Loves Me but I like it.

Anonymous said...

Great go with "The Greatest Story Ever Told".

I didn't recycle a previous Easter post, I wrote a new one. But you knew that...

Brooke said...

Happy Easter, Benning!

Paul Mitchell said...

I am just curious, is the first part of this post from "Dreams from my Father" or from "The Audacity of Hope?" Stories about Barry Obama just make my heart leap with joy!

WomanHonorThyself said...

Hope u had a fabulous holiday sure sounds like it !!