It was so refreshing to have Janette, Joanne and “Emma” from Blueprint Ministries join us in worship last week at our Palm Sunday service. As a result I sensed a desire from some to find new ways to reach our children and youth to enhance their faith-life in meaningful ways. How challenging it is for us to find the ways in which God would direct us to make this happen.
Pastor Greg’s sermon last week also highlighted the ultimate commitment of Jesus to serve both His Father and humanity – even death on the cross. It had been a while since I had heard the “Kenosis” referred to – the self emptying of Jesus, from Philippians 2:7. I always reflect on this when we sing the hymn And Can It Be and come to the line where we sing, “Emptied Himself of ALL – BUT LOVE!” This also reminds me of the LCA theme “Where Love Comes To Life!” May St Peter’s Lutheran Elizabeth be the place where the self-emptying Love of Jesus does indeed come to life – especially over Easter.
And how different Easter is from this time last year. Despite certain restrictions still in place, we can at least physically meet to worship and celebrate the Life, Suffering, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you once again to all who last Easter worked to keep contact with everyone and have on line and printed services provided to remain in touch.
I was recently touched by the lyrics of the beautiful song “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” written by Gloria Gaither that speaks of the encounter Mary Magdalene and Peter had with Jesus on that resurrection morning and I share them with you:
“We knew He was dead, it is finished, He said. We watched as his life ebbed away. Then we all stood around till the guards took Him down. Joseph begged for His body that day.
It was late afternoon when we got to the tomb. Wrapped His body and sealed up the grave. So I know how you feel, His death was so real. But please listen and hear what I say...
I’ve just seen Jesus, I tell you He’s alive. I’ve just seen Jesus, our precious Lord alive. And I knew He really saw me too as if till now I’d never lived. All that I’d done before won’t matter anymore. I’ve just seen Jesus and I’ll never be the same again...”
At our last couple of Church Council meetings I have opened with the collect of the day from The Book of Common Prayer, so I close this “Chatter” on this Easter Resurrection Day with this prayer, also from The Book of Common Prayer:
“Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen”
Have a happy and blessed Easter, as you experience and share the life giving Grace and Peace of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.