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Theme                 In the resurrection, we have received God’s jubilant invitation to be resurrected people, even in this life.



*Hymn of Praise          # 163        Christ the Lord is Risen Today v 1-3

*Call to Worship

One:   Alleluia! God is with us!

All:     Even when we crucify all goodness, God raises goodness again.

One:   Alleluia! God is with us!

All:     Even when we crucify all hope, God raises hope again.

One:  Alleluia! God is with us!

All:     Even when we crucify all light, God raises light again.

One:   Alleluia! God is with us!

All:     Even when we crucify all love, God raises love again.

          Alleluia! God is with us!

Anthem                                      Alleuia                 Dorothy Yoreo

*Invocation        (the Lord’s Prayer)       Resurrecting God, it’s an amazing day! The tomb is empty! Christ lives! Easter news is good news!     Thank you for Jesus’ new life and for the beauty of spring bursting into color all around us! We are glad to be alive and anticipating the wondrous things of this season. We are listening intently for your voice this hour. Speak clearly so our lives may be compelling evidence of your desire for justice and neighborliness.

*Gloria Patri

Just for Kids       # 163        Christ the Lord is Risen Today v 1 and 4

On Easter we have a special greeting. I’ll say, “Christ is risen!” You will answer, “Christ is risen indeed!” Let’s practice this, getting louder each time we repeat it.

          On Easter we celebrate that Jesus rose from death to a new life, like a beautiful butterfly hatches out of its chrysalis. Let’s do a dance of joy for new life. (Give each child a streamer. Lead the children around your worship space, waving the streamers. Invite the congregation to sing one verse of the chosen hymn as you and the children dance.)

          Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! I have some happy news for you. We celebrate Easter for 50 days. Take your white streamer home to decorate your room. It will remind you that our Easter joy lasts for 50 days!

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending your only son, Jesus Christ, to teach us about your love and to bring us forgiveness and new life. Alleluia! Amen.


Our  Offering to God              

As God has given to us, so let us bring our gifts to God in thanksgiving. The ushers…


*Prayer of Dedication   In joy and glory we bring these offerings, asking that you may raise them from what is simply material and temporal, transforming them into the foundation of your eternal realm of mercy and justice. Amen.

HYMN                                # 165        Low in the Grave He Lay

Scripture Reading                Mark 16: 1-12 

We hear of the resurrection for the first time.  Although told the story, those who did not see for themselves find it hard to believe that Jesus Is Alive.

1When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

9Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

12After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.


*Hymn of Prayer          insert        Heal Me, Hand of Jesus

Pastoral Prayer  How can we thank you on this day, O Christ? No words are enough to express our wonder at your faithfulness to us. No songs hold enough joy to sound the celebration as we receive the truth of your resurrection.

Our hearts come alive in response to your life, our souls expand in hope as we begin again in faith. Our minds are stretched as we try to understand the ways that you reach toward us and our whole lives wait for a new future - lived with you, the one who will never betray us.

O God, We pray for a faith that moves mountains and for a commitment that dares to act in ways that bring your life into all that lies around us./Silent prayer

Come, amazing grace, and transform our future.

Come, risen Christ, and walk in freedom before us.

As we face the struggling parts of human life on this day, we place them close to your heart, that they may rise with you into new and passionate life:

The people pray

Come, amazing grace, and transform our future.

Come, risen Christ, and walk in freedom before us.

As we hold silence before the wonder of Easter, we pray that our whole lives may be open before you, that we may know more fully who we are and who we could become:

A silence is kept

Come, amazing grace, and transform our future.

Come, risen Christ, and walk in freedom before us. This we pray in faith that is renewed by your love for us.Amen.

*Hymn of Praise          # 158        I Serve a Risen Savior

Scripture Reading                Acts 10:34–43

These verses are part of the glorious Easter proclamation. Peter preaches to a group in Caesarea, witnessing to the risen Christ and Christ’s continued presence among his people.

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Message            Acceptable

The miracle of the resurrection is not only that it raised Jesus from the dead, but that it has freed us from our slavery to death. God’s Spirit is moving mightily to raise us into the glory of God’s realm. Are we willing to be raised?

Let us claim this day and this story as the central, binding miracle of our faith, not merely because God raised Jesus from the dead, but because through that resurrection, God has shown us what God intends for us. The resurrection shows us what God is ready to do for us right here, right now, if we are willing to accept God’s invitation. Peter says, “I truly believe that God shows no partiality.” No partiality, none.

       This sermon is Peter’s declaration of faith and by any standard it is an appropriate text for Easter morning. But we don’t truly appreciate how appropriate unless we put it in its wider context because, as much as the message, the context is good news.

       Peter has been traveling through Palestine, preaching, teaching, and healing. He has come to Joppa and there he has a vision in which he is shown all sorts of ritually unclean animals and is invited to kill and eat. Peter refuses, saying that they are forbidden because they are unclean. A voice from heaven says, “What God has made clean (or holy), you must not call unclean (or profane).” This conversation is repeated three times.

       Immediately after the vision, while Peter is still puzzling over its meaning, messengers come from a centurion named Cornelius, asking Peter to come to Cornelius’ home and preach to his household. Please remember that a centurion was a Gentile. Thus, Cornelius was, by definition, unclean. A devout Jew like Peter would not stay in his home or eat at his table.

       This is what God calls a “teaching moment.”

       Judging by some of the stories, Peter can be slow on the uptake, but he is teachable. God has just grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, so to speak, and said, “Yo! The old categories (clean, unclean; Jew, Gentile; master, slave; male, female) don’t apply any more. This ‘good news’ is a whole-earth thing, so let’s quit all the in-house schmoozing and get with the program.” Well - words to that effect. So Peter goes to Cornelius and preaches this sermon to Cornelius’ household, a sermon that is right out on the cutting edge of his learning curve. He has just had the vision of all the animals and he is just beginning to understand the implications, which are world-shattering, folks. This new wine will not fit in old wineskins. For Peter, the idea that God shows no partiality is a major paradigm shift.

       On the surface, this may be about Peter’s faith in the resurrection, but in delivering it, Peter is demonstrating that God has done more than raise Jesus. God has raised Peter. All the events that surrounded the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus cracked open Peter’s illusions about the world – the way the world operates and what the defining word is in that world. Into the open space of that soul-shift, God moves powerfully to transform Peter, to lift him up, from a parochial, narrow-minded fisherman to a confident and dynamic witness of the presence of the realm of God in Peter’s day and place. God showed no partiality in using Peter who, after all, was quick to deny Jesus and vanished from the scene rather than stand at the foot of the cross!

        Let me say it again: the miracle of the resurrection is not that God raised Jesus, but that God is showing us as clearly as possible that God has no partiality, that the resurrection is God’s intent for every single atom of God’s creation. All we need to do is to say Yes.

       The difference between Jesus and us is that Jesus said yes. Everything Jesus did was a living transformation of his humanity from a temporal focus to an eternal focus. He understood that we need to die to all the earthly stuff: to grasping after worldly power rather than depending on holy power, to piling up wealth rather than sharing it, to trying to sort out the in-crowd from the out-crowd. He understood that when we get out of that zero-based mindset, God could fill us with God’s own self so completely that there was no separation. And he understood that such divine power is so great and so abundant that there is no way death can hold us down for the final count.

       The good news, dear sisters and brothers, is that today, here today, here now, we can lay hold of that miracle and commit ourselves to being transformed and raised. God, showing no partiality, is simply waiting for our acceptance. All creation is trembling with the joyful possibility of resurrection.

       God’s realm is like a huge power grid, pulsing with energy: ready, waiting. Each of us has a switch which allows the energy to flow and transform what is now static into life, what is now silent into song, what is now unlit into radiance. Every switch matters. Can you imagine this world with 100,000 people who care about what is going on around them as much as Father Damien or Mother Teresa of Calcutta cared about the outcasts? Can you imagine this world with 50,000 people who care as much about justice as Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu?  Can you imagine 50 or 100 members of the Baptist Church in Warren putting this into action? /////

       What God said unequivocally for all time is that we (you and I) are such people. God, in raising Jesus, showed me what glory awaits the whole universe if I dare to become the transformation I long for. God has shown you. The miracle of this day is that we do not need to wait for the opportunity; it is now and here.    /////

       Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia! This is the day, the hour, the second, which our God has made holy and glorious! Let us rise in joy, acceptable to meet our God who shows no partiality, that God may rejoice and be glad with us!

– Andrea La Sonde Anastos

*Hymn of Response             # 85          Crown Him with Many Crowns

*Sending forth           

L: Risen Christ,
P: whose absence leaves us in despair,
L: but whose presence is overwhelming:
P: Breathe on us with your abundant life,
L: that we may have courage to believe
P: that we may be raised with you. Amen.


Thought for the Day            Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now.                                – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (“The Forerunner”)


story of a pastor who was concerned about reports that the Christian education program was ineffective. He decided to check it out for himself. He stopped in a fourth-grade classroom and asked one of the students, "Janie, when is Easter and what happens on it?"

Janie said, "Well, Easter's in the fall, and we dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating."

Oh, no! the pastor thought. This really is a problem. Hoping for better results, he tried another student. "Jimmy, can you tell me when Easter is and what happens on that day?"

Jimmy said, "Well, it's in the winter, and we put up the tree and decorate it and exchange gifts."

Now the pastor was queasy, so he went to Mikey, the smartest kid in the class.

"When is Easter," he asked, "and what happens then?"

Mikey answered, "Well, Easter is in the springtime when Jesus came up from the grave."

"Very good!" the pastor said, relieved.

Then Mikey added, "And if he sees his shadow, he goes back, and we have six more weeks of winter."

"As a greeting this morning, turn and say, "He didn't go back. He's alive and with us today!"

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