The Significance of Easter
April 10 – Bible Study
April 12 – 4- 9 pm Papa Gino fund raiser
April 17 – 7-9 pm Diaconate Meeting
April 29 – 10:00 am worship at FBC, Swansea
May 5 – Fancy Feast
May 6 - Rev Dr Lilliana DaValle Installation service at Calvary Baptist, Providence
May 20 – First Baptist Church, Swansea worships with us
May 27 – First Baptist in America, Providence worships with us
*HYMN # 163 Christ the Lord is Risen Today
CALL TO WORSHIP
“Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.
He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6 NIV).
*HYMN OF PRAISE #165 Christ Arose
*INVOCATION Heavenly Father, we come with the women in the pre-dawn dark of the third day, to the tomb of Jesus. We crest the hill and suddenly see the unbelievable: the stone is rolled away! Like children set free we rush to the empty tomb and encounter the clear authority of the angel: "Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He is not here; no, He would not be here. He is risen from the dead!"
Father, we feel again the excited ecstasy of the women that morning in Jerusalem so long ago. We rejoice in the triumph of this Easter morning as Jesus, the Light of the World, rises again inside us. O Jesus, fill our waiting hearts, calm our fearful minds, and gentle our restless souls. Soften our hearts and send the rivers of Your joy bubbling up again from the wells of our thirsty spirits.
Jesus, like Mary Magdalene we just want to cling to You this morning after the dark night of sorrow. We want to be with You and never let You go! Release Your Spirit in us, that we might sing unashamedly the ancient Alleluia, and proclaim Your victory to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world, that You have broken the power of evil and death, and hold out to all people the gift of eternal life. Amen! Alleluia!
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 our 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, forever. Amen.
*PSALM FOR TODAY Psalm 118:1-2, 14-18, 24 (NRSV)
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
14 The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.
15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
SCRIPTURE READING Acts 10:34-43 (NRSV)
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how 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. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not 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. 42 He 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. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
OFFERING TO GOD Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. nWith the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.
*PRAYER OF DEDICATION As we make our offerings of tithes and gifts, we express thanksgiving for the happiness we know in life, for healthy bodies, peaceful homes, faithful friends, challenging purposes, and eternal motivations. We pray that these blessings will abound to all the people in all the earth.
*HYMN OF PRAYER # 177 Rejoice, the Lord is King
PASTORAL PRAYER "Then little children were being brought to Jesus in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray." Matthew 19:13
Praise God for... those who have gone, and are still going, to help victims of natural disasters on the Gulf Coast.
Ask God for... wisdom and courage for churches having struggles with their pastor, and for pastors having struggles with their congregation. May the desires of these churches be to exist for God’s glory and not their own agendas.
Thank God for… Rev. Dr. Bob Roberts, who works harder in retirement than many do prior. His contributions to the ministry and mission of the American Baptist Churches has touched countless lives.
Healing for... Steve, who has just had his 17th surgery and now has an infection that is resistant to antibiotics. He needs not only to be well physically but also needs prayer help to keep his spirits up.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us a little child—one of us, flesh and blood—to share in our humanity. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as carpenter and yet in whose creative hands a world was fashioned. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as fisherman and yet pointed to a harvest that was yet to come. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as teacher and opened eyes to truths that only the poor could understand. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as healer and opened hearts to the reality of wholeness. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as prophet, priest, and king and yet humbled himself to take our place upon the cross. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who came to us as servant and revealed to us the extent of our Father’s love for humankind. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
Blest are you, Lord Jesus, who rose from the shame of a sinner’s death to the triumph of a Savior’s Resurrection. For God so loved the world [All]: That all might have eternal life.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for the sake of me and you and other sinners, too. God so loved the world. Blest are you, Lord Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer.—John Birch
*HYMN OF PRAISE # 168 The Day of Resurrection
SCRIPTURE TEXT Mark 16:1-8 The Resurrection
Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
MESSAGE The Significance of Easter
|The single most significant event in the history of the human race took place on Easter.|
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Come on, you all know the joyful answer: "The Lord is risen, indeed." Alleluia! Today, we dress in our best springtime outfits and there are no notes of sadness, worry, grief, or fear in our greetings to one another this morning.
But how different it was early on that first Easter morning as Mark tells us in our gospel. The three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, didn’t greet one another with such great joy. There were no alleluias, no notes of joy in their hushed whispers. They were grieving and devastated. They had seen their beloved Jesus, their teacher, stripped of not only his clothes, but every possible shred of human dignity, murdered in the most horrible way possible, and laid in the garden tomb. Sundown and the Sabbath approached quickly; the shops were all closed and so they could not even purchase the proper spices to anoint and honor his body and, in some small way, return to him the dignity that had been so cruelly taken away.
Their biggest worry this morning was the heavy stone they had seen placed at the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. Who would move it away for them so they could perform the duties of love and honor for their teacher, their friend, their Lord? They had no idea of the news that awaited them. They had seen Jesus die, hadn’t they? Dead people stay that way, right?
The women came to give Jesus’ body proper preparation for permanent burial, and while we admire their devotion, we wonder why they forgot His many resurrection promises. Now that the Sabbath was ended, the shops were open, and they could purchase the large amount of spices needed. Their biggest problem was getting into the tomb, for a large stone blocked the entrance.
So, they gathered quietly, with their heads down, speaking their few words in hushed whispers. The women knew that all the followers of Jesus were now in grave danger, but Love called them to risk their very lives. The disciples and Peter, especially Peter, who had denied even knowing Jesus -- they had all run away and were now in hiding hadn’t yet heard that call.
When the women arrived at the tomb, can you imagine their surprise to see the heavy stone already rolled away and a handsome young man in a white robe sitting there as if waiting just for this moment, just for them? Who was he? Where did he come from? The questions evaporated in their amazement at his words. "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, (see for yourselves) there is the place where they laid him. . . ."
What they found in the garden was entirely unexpected: the stone rolled back, the body gone, and a messenger waiting to give them the good news of His resurrection!
It was not enough to be spectators; they had to become ambassadors and carry the word to others. “Come and see! Go and tell!” is the resurrection responsibility (Matt. 28:6–7). Note that the angel had a special word of encouragement for Peter and a word of direction for all the disciples (v. 7). Like the women, the men had forgotten His promises and instructions (14:28). Were the women emotionally fit to carry such a message? They trembled, were amazed and afraid, and fled from the place! Their hearts were filled with “fear and great joy” (Matt. 28:8) because the news was just too good to be true! They did tell the disciples, who doubted what they heard, but Peter and John investigated the open tomb (John 20:1–10; Luke 24:12).
Today’s story ends with the three women in complete shock, amazed and terrified, resolving to say nothing to anyone. Mark is the only one of the four canonical Gospels that contains no resurrection appearance (or does it -- who was that young man in the white robe anyway?) Now, obviously, the women did finally tell someone. They must have or we wouldn’t be here to celebrate and worship the Risen Christ this morning. No, they couldn’t keep quiet -- their entire lives had been radically changed in an instant with the words "He has been raised; he is not here."
How has your life been radically changed by that Good News -- that Jesus is risen, that his dead body no longer lies behind a large heavy stone in front of a garden tomb? Or, is the heavy stone still in place for you, separating you from the Risen Lord? Are you still afraid, like the three women, to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is risen?
What would that stone look like if it were still firmly in place keeping you from seeing Jesus, really knowing "he is not here" (in the grave) and living the rest of your life with that knowledge deep in your heart?
How about the stone of unbelief? There are lots of very smart people on the backside of that stone. There’s even a group of scholars; people with more degrees that you or I will acquire in a lifetime, who teach in universities and even seminaries. They call themselves the "Jesus Seminar." They write a lot of books. They say that the resurrection of our Lord is a lovely story that was circulated among the early Christians to give people hope and comfort, but it really didn’t happen. They say there’s no proof. They speak of the "pre-Easter Jesus" and the "post-Easter Jesus." Now, how’s that for confusing?
But there is proof -- there is eyewitness evidence that would stand up in any court of law. St. Peter (yes, that’s the same Peter who denied knowing Jesus three times and ran away to hide) declares boldly that he is an eyewitness not only to all Jesus did in Judea and Jerusalem, but that "God raised him from the dead on the third day and allowed him to appear, not 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 . . . that everyone (including YOU) who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Paul speaks of more than 500 who were also eyewitnesses and he speaks of his own encounter with the risen Lord and says
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
These eyewitnesses beg you: Believe, beloved, and receive God’s gift of eternal life. Let Jesus roll the stone of unbelief away.
How about the stone of ignorance? Have you committed yourself to the faithful reading and study of God’s Word every day? Do you ask God in prayer each morning what he would have you do with what you have learned from his Word? Begin each day with the study of God’s Word; participate in a Bible study. Allow Jesus to roll the stone of ignorance away.
There is also the stone of blindness -- how blind are you to the needs of the people all around you? When you travel, do you see shabby trailers and shacks where farmworkers live -- the people who work in the fields for much less than a living wage -- to provide the food for your Easter dinner today? Even if you aren’t sure what you can do to help, at the very least you can pray and when you do that because you have noticed -- because you are no longer blind, God will show you ways of more concrete help. Do you know about the things going on in our world that are not talked about on CNN or MSNBC -- Christians murdered daily in the Sudan, genocide in Northern Uganda.
We cannot fix all the awful things that are wrong with our world -- it’s a sinful and broken place, yet redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, let him roll stone of blindness away.
Finally, there is the stone of familiarity. We know the Easter story so well -- we hear it every year and today we dress up, later the kids will hunt for the colorful eggs hidden for them, we enjoy the glorious music and admire the pretty flowers at the Altar. We celebrate the happy ending. Do we know it all so well that it no longer makes a difference in our lives? Do we remember that the happy ending is really just the beginning? Do we remember how we got here? On Maundy Thursday, did you stop to consider what Jesus’ institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion means in your life? On Good Friday, did you walk the Way of the Cross with him either here in church or in your private prayer? Did you feel a sense of loss and darkness on Holy Saturday because Christ lay in the tomb behind a heavy stone?
If you are thinking -- it’s Easter, -- let’s lose all the depressing images -- then look to see if the heavy stone still lies between you and the amazing miracle we celebrate this day. But, if those thoughts and feelings sound very recently familiar to you, then the stone has been rolled away -- "he is not here, he has been raised. See the place where they laid him." Then you can say with the Psalmist "The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation." Jesus Christ has opened for us the gates of righteousness; let us enter and offer thanks to the Lord. "On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.
-- Copyright 2006, Marcia Tremmel. Used by permission.
*HYMN OF RESPONSE # 158 He Lives
Rev. Esther Irish – Interim Minister (h)354-2048/(c)316-4392
Dorothy Yoreo – Organist 246-1223
Rosalyn DiIorio – Carousel Nursury (h) 508-336-6432 245-2204
Dan Cahoon – Custodian 245-4658
Priscilla Drummond, Secretary 253-3917
In our Thoughts and Prayers:
Virginia Conklin, 81 Rogers Avenue, Barrington, RI 02806
Madelyn Thompson, East Bay Manor #221, 1440 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, RI 02915
Lisa Clark, 785 Main St., Warren, RI 02885
Gussie Ginalski, 147 Bay Spring Ave., Bay Spring Village, Barrington, RI 02806 Room 112
Esther Robinson, 24 Barney St., Warren, RI 02885
Romeo and Joyce Lombardi, 27 Barney St., Warren, RI 02885
Ruth Strom, East Bay Manor, 1440 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, RI 02915
Pat Everett, 19A Sisson St., Warren, RI 02885
Ruth and Bill Frazel, East Bay Manor, 1440 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, RI 02915
Dorothy Garvin, 27 Cottage St., Warren, RI 02885
(If you know of someone not on our list, please call the Church office: 245-3669)
Church Office and Food Pantry Hours:
M-W-F 9 a.m. – 12 noon
16 Miller Street
Warren, RI 02885
Web Address: http://starturl.com/bcwarren
n Matt. 7:2; Luke 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6
 The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mk 4:24
Wiersbe, Warren W.: Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1997, c1992, S. 141