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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

34 comments:

KD, WInnning said...

This the best Easter in 8 Years, you have a Faith Filled one too.

Roger Amick said...

And to you and your new lovely wife. Enjoy my fiend.

KD, said...

Liberal Cowards Like Obama/Hillary/Warren/Biden come up with the cuties terms to explain inaction, leading from behind and just being feckless, the Lost Years called it "strategic patience".

OMG, Funny shit. Hillary lost by a staggering count to President Trump.

James said...

EASTER: WE GATHER IN WORSHIP AND PRAISE

Leader, male: We sit here in gloom and darkness, for we have not yet heard the good news. We know only that there is a sealed tomb, and the dead body of Jesus is in it. But then some women come rushing into the room, saying,

Leader, female: “We went to the tomb early this morning and found it open, but Jesus’ body was not there! Suddenly two beings in dazzling white were standing there beside us, and they asked us, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here! He has risen!’”

[Lights go up and the congregation immediately rises to sing, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” as the Christ candle is lit.]

MESSAGE: Last Sunday I asked a question which some people would probably say I should not have asked. I asked, “What really happened at the tomb on Easter morning?” Now, we have four gospel accounts of what happened, and they do not agree in every detail as, for example, the number of angels involved. So I asked, “Which of these accounts is the most realistic and comes closest to what actually happened that morning?” Now, the least realistic, I think, is the one in Matthew. Don’t get me wrong: I love the gospel of Matthew: Its Sermon on the Mount first drew me to Jesus when I was a young teen. But Matthew’s gospel does, it seems to me, sometimes contain exaggerations, and it does here: An earthquake, guards at the tomb, a frightening, visible angel rolling back the stone – none of these appear in the other three gospels. In them, it seems to have been a quiet, subdued morning, and the stone has already been rolled back when the women – or a women – arrive.
I used to think the most accurate of the accounts were those in Mark and Luke, even though they too disagree on the number of angels. This morning our Call to Worship was based on Luke, where angels ask the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here! He has risen!” Those are powerful words, and represent what I think some of the women experienced who went to the tomb AFTER the sun had risen.
Over the years, however, I have become convinced that, surprisingly enough, it is the gospel written last, the Gospel of John, that preserves the earliest, most accurate account of what actually happened that morning, for it tells of one woman who went to the tomb all alone and very early, BEFORE the sun had risen.

James said...

From John 20:
'Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed… So she ran and went to Simon Peter [and told him] “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him!”'

Mary Magdalene has often been described as a prostitute, but there is no gospel evidence for that. The only thing we know about her is what Luke tells us: That she had once been possessed by seven unclean spirits and Jesus had cast them out of her. Whatever that means, it means she was in bad shape, and Jesus had helped her tremendously. And she loved him with a devotion that went very, very deep. She was there at the cross when he died and she was there and saw where Joseph of Arimathea had put Jesus’ body in a tomb.
Apparently Mary had spent a restless night and could not sleep. So very early she got up while was still dark and went to the tomb all alone. And when she got there, it had just become light enough for her to be able to tell that the stone had been rolled back and there was no corpse in the tomb, just the burial cloths!
Horrified, she ran and told Simon Peter what had happened: Someone has taken Jesus’ body from the tomb, and we don’t know where he is!

James said...

JOHN: 'Then Peter … went running to the tomb and went into it. He saw the linen wrappings lying there' [but no body… Then he returned home.] [--that is to say he went back to where the disciples were then staying in Jerusalem.]
[But Mary came back to the tomb and] 'stood weeping outside it.'

Now here we need to ask a question. Why is it that Mary, when she saw the tomb was empty – why didn’t she throw up her hands with joy and say, Hallelujah! He has risen from the dead, just as he said he would! Why didn’t she say that?
Two reasons, I think. First, when Jesus spoke of rising from the dead, he always said that it was ‘the Son of Man” who would rise, and the expression Son of Man could mean the Messiah, or it could mean any human being. So the disciples may have thought that Jesus’ resurrection would take place along with the resurrection of all the dead, which the Jewish people were expecting -- but all the dead had not risen that morning. There were plenty of closed tombs still containing dead bodies. The resurrection of the dead had not yet taken place.
Second, contrary to what Matthew says, three of the gospels indicate that the tomb did not actually belong to Joseph of Arimathea but just happened to be nearby, and Joseph, hurrying to get Jesus entombed before sundown began the Sabbath, hastily put Jesus’ body there. And if that was the case, it’s easy to see why Mary could have thought the owner of the tomb may have objected to Jesus’ body being placed there, and had it removed.

James said...

But the only thing Mary was feeling now was grief, deep, heartbroken grief. She had wanted to come to the tomb and grieve for Jesus, as Jewish women often did the day after burial. She had had to wait for the Sabbath to pass, and now she just wanted to stand at the tomb near his poor, dead body, and grieve for him. But someone had made that impossible for her. They had taken his body away, so she couldn’t even grieve for him properly.

JOHN: 'As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”'

James said...

"Woman, why are you weeping?” “Why am I weeping? Mary asked. Why am I weeping? I had wanted to stand here and cry near his poor, dead body and now I can’t even do that. That’s why I’m weeping.”

JOHN: 'When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”'

In other words, “Sir, someone has removed Jesus’ body from the tomb. If you as the gardener had anything to do with that, please tell us where you have put him. I’ll go get Simon and the others and we’ll find a place for him. He didn’t have a decent death, he should at least have a decent burial.”

And then something happened. The stranger said just one word. “Mary.”
“ --Rabbouni!” Mary cried out in Aramaic.
Rabbouni, which means Teacher, my Teacher! My dear Teacher.
And soon after that Mary went running and running back into the city, to the place where Simon Peter and the others were still grieving. “I have seen the Lord!” she cried out joyfully, and told them what had happened.

According to some accounts, they did not believe her. But I think some of the other women did believe her and went with her back to the tomb where they too had spiritual experiences of their own.

And soon after that, Peter experienced an appearance of Jesus which convinced him not only that Jesus had risen from death, but also that Jesus still loved and accepted Peter, though Peter had three times denied him, denied that he even knew him.

Before long, a number of Jesus’ followers could testify that not only had they seen him, but as they ate and drank together at table, they had experienced the strong sense that he was again among them, again having table fellowship with them, breaking bread with them, eating and drinking in fellowship with them.

This morning as we break bread and eat and drink, may we too feel his presence among us. May we too feel as if we hear him speak our name.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Woman, weeping in the garden, who has pushed the stone aside?
Who has taken Jesus' body; Jesus Christ, the crucified?

Woman, waiting in the garden, after men have come and gone;
after angels give their witness, silently you watch the dawn.

Woman, walking in the garden, Jesus takes you by surprise;
when the gardener calls you, "Mary!" faith and joy meet in your eyes.

Woman, weeping in the garden, weep for joy, for you have seen
Jesus, the Messiah risen; Christ, of whom the prophets dream.

Woman, dancing from the garden, find the others and proclaim
Christ is risen as he promised; tell the world he knew your name! ____
Words and music by Dan Damon, 1991

Loretta Russo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loretta Russo said...

Why is the pedo posting scripture?

"Sasha's HOT"

Judgement day is coming.

James said...

from JOHN 19:
After [Jesus' death], Joseph of Arimathea ... asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and removed his body...

Now there was a garden in the place where [Jesus] was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus' body there.

Commonsense said...

Not that I'm opposed to the Easter story (As my own Happy Easter posting will attest.), but CH is an atheist and posted a secular themed Happy Easter.

I think would not be appropriate to post a religous comment on his thread.

However James would be welcome to post the same comment on my thread.

Only in America are Christian holidays secularized where people of all faiths can enjoy it.

James said...

The interesting thing is that even an atheist could believe that something like this may actually have happened -- that is, in the sense that some of Jesus' followers may have had subjective experiences so convincing to them that they would later give their lives rather than betray what they considered to be the truth of those experiences.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

But of course if Ch has an objection, he can voice it.

Commonsense said...

I think you would be sensible enough of his views without him having to voice an objection.

But that would require you to have more common sense and less narcissistic self-centeredness than you possess.

James said...

I did not comment at all for all of Easter (yesterday) and today nobody was commenting at all and so I thought I would put up the sermon I used Sunday, which was well received.

For which I am humbly and sincerely grateful.

And now I will say no more. I do not care to play the game of hatred that so often is played here. I put up a sincere Easter message. That is all.

Commonsense said...

You posted your sermon? You are a narcissist.

James said...

No. An evangelist.

James the evangelist said...

:-)

Commonsense said...

Evangelist? Hardly. You're closer to a Pharisee than you are anything else.

James the evangelist said...

Some Pharisees were good. Jesus told one of them, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." Another invited Jesus to a banquet in his home, and learned an important lesson.

Nicodemus was a sympathetic Pharisee who helped Joseph of Arimathea* entomb Jesus' body.

Still another Pharisee, after starting out as a persecutor of the church, later became the greatest theologian of the New Testament.
_______________
*Joseph may also have been a Pharisee, some of whom served on the Council [Sanhedrin].

Commonsense said...

Phar·i·see
ˈferəˌsē/
noun

plural noun: Pharisees

1. a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity.

2. a self-righteous person; a hypocrite.


Guess where you fall James.

James the evangelist said...

"Commonly held to..." Yep. Commonly held to be that way. But not all were. :-)

James the evangelist said...

Note that poor jealous, hate-filled Commensa can't find anything wrong in my posts about Easter above.

James said...

See? :-)

James the evangelist said...

See?

James the evangelist said...

Revised version:

And soon after that Mary went running and running back into the city, to the place where Simon Peter and the others were still grieving. “I have seen the Lord!” she cried out joyfully, and told them what had happened. 

According to some accounts, they did not believe her. But I think some of the other women did believe her and went with her back to the tomb where they too had spiritual experiences of their own.

And soon after that, Peter experienced an appearance of Jesus which convinced him not only that Jesus had risen from death, but also that Jesus still loved and accepted Peter, though Peter had three times denied him, denied that he even knew him. 

Before long, a number of Jesus’ followers could testify that not only had they seen him, but as they ate and drank together at table, they had experienced the strong sense that he was again among them, again having table fellowship with them, breaking bread with them, eating and drinking in fellowship with them.  And they were so convinced of that, they would later give their lives for that conviction.

This morning as we break bread and eat and drink, may we too feel his presence among us. May we too feel as if we hear him speak our name.
____________________

The above contains the important added line:
"And they were so convinced of that, they would later give their lives for that conviction."

James said...

Nice to know my faith-filled treatment of Easter meets with such approval here.

Evangelist James said...

I'm getting appreciative responses to it from fellow pastors. One pastor asked if he could use it in future Easter sermons.

James said...

Nice to have something appreciated. Especially in an area like this.

Evangelist James said...

Good vibes still.