Friday, April 6, 2012

Worship for Easter - 2012

Good Friday
April 6, 2012

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is The Resurrection of Our Lord, more commonly called Easter. We will have a special liturgy for the day, and a special schedule. The service will be full of those great Easter hymns we all love to sing: “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” (LSB 457), “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (LSB 469), “Jesus Comes Today with Healing” (LSB 620), “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” (LSB 465), and “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (LSB 461). We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The main choir piece is a combination of two tunes, “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.”

The appointed lessons are: Isaiah 25:6-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; and Mark 16:1-8. The sermon, based on the Gospel lesson, is titled “What Now?”.

In our prayers we will remember the Independent Evangelical - Lutheran Church (SELK-Germany) (Selbständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche) and their Bishop, Rev. Hans-Jörg Voigt. We will remember our missionary Alan Ludwig in Siberia, Russia. We will remember the persecuted Christians in Indonesia. We will also remember our sister SED congregations: St. Paul, Havelock, NC; Mt. Pisgah, Hendersonville, NC; Augustana, Hickory, NC; Christ, Hickory, NC; and Mt. Olive, Irmo, SC.

The day will start with breakfast, prepared by the men of the congregation. There will be pancakes, waffles, egg casserole, and sausage. Breakfast begins at 9:00.

We will have our Resurrection Cross. This is the same wood cross used in our Good Friday service. Members are encouraged to bring fresh flowers to attach to the cross. The fresh flowers represent the new life that sprung from the cross of Christ.

Below is the Lutheran Warbler singing or opening hymn, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.”

Preview of Lessons

Isaiah 25:6-9: The Lord is speaking to Israel. First he tells the people that they have broken the First Commandment. This is leading to disaster for the nation. God will raise up Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who will come up against the land and destroy it. The interesting thing about this passage is that Nebuchadnezzar is called “my servant” by God. This is a title reserved for the Messiah. Nebuchadnezzar is, therefore, in some fashion a “type” of Jesus. He fills this role in at least two ways. First, Jesus is King of kings and Lord of Lords. Second, to reject Christ is to accept eternal judgment and destruction.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11: This is the famous “Resurrection” chapter in the Bible. Paul begins by telling us that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Gospel. If we loose this, nothing else will matter for we will have lost Christ. He then proceeds with a list of witnesses, who all saw the resurrected Jesus. The last person Jesus appeared to was St. Paul himself. With over 500 witnesses to the resurrection, we have an event that stands as one of the best attested events in all of ancient history.

Mark 16:1-8: There is a problem with the end of Mark’s Gospel which most modern translations reflect in a footnote at either verse eight or verse nine. Simply put, the text is sure only through verse eight. There are two endings given in most modern Bibles, a “short” one and a “long” one. The best and oldest manuscripts do not have either of these endings. The possible solutions are: 1) Our best and oldest manuscripts are incomplete and either the short or long ending represent what Mark wrote and is preserved in later (but still early) manuscripts. 2) Our best and oldest manuscripts were damaged and later believers, recognizing this, added endings that finished the story from available material. 3) Mark ended his Gospel with verse eight. I have once again examined the evidence. It is clear to me (and the vast majority of scholars) that verse nine and beyond are not from St. Mark. That means the last authentic words of Mark are: “And they [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Could Mark have ended his Gospel, which means “Good News,” with such a sentence? I have come to believe he did! Sunday’s sermon will explore why Mark may have chosen such an ending.


• Concordia Publishing House is producing a new commentary series drawn from the insights of the great Reformers of the Church. This commentary is for the mature layman. There will be an insert in Sunday’s bulletin giving more details.

• Beginning the Second Sunday of Easter (April 15), a questionnaire will be in the bulletin that relates to Pastor’s D.Min. project (the Stations of the Cross). Pastor would like these filled out and back within two or three weeks.

• Remember, we still have Good Friday and Holy Saturday services as well. See earlier posts for information about those services.

Easter Blessings,
Pastor Rickert

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