EASTER CELEBRATION – Sunday, April 8th 10:30 a.m.

You are invited to join us in celebrating Easter with a worship service about the new life the Lord can bring to us as we strive to learn from Him and to follow His teachings. There will be special music to enjoy and songs to sing along with.  There will be a time to bring flowers forward to the altar as a symbol of our thanks to the Lord and a sign of hope for the new life the Lord gives us.  An Easter Egg hunt for the children will follow the service.  Please come celebrate with us – 10:30 a.m.

The Easter Garden – by David Roth, Pastor

Imagine the darkness of night.  Picture it as the night is giving way to daylight, right before the sunrise.  There is mist in the air, the moon is still in sky, there is a splendor of colors at the rising of the sun.  A new day is dawning, but it is not just another day.

Picture the scene at the garden where there was the tomb in which the body of Jesus, just two days before, was lain.  You can imagine the dew on the flowers and leaves.  Into this scene come a very sad woman coming to pay her last respects to a Man who she had great hopes would be with her always.  She dared to hope and believe that He was the Son of God.  To her perhaps now that dream seemed lost.  And to add to her devastation now when she looked into the tomb she saw it empty.  His body was gone.  He was gone.  Even that last hope of visiting the place of his burial was taken.

Mary decides to go and get Peter and John to tell them what has happened.  In disbelief they run to the tomb and also find the empty tomb.  Believing the worst they go back home, leaving Mary standing there alone weeping.  She again stooped down and looked into the tomb and then saw two angels who asked her why she was weeping.  She told them and then turned around and saw Jesus, who she thought was the gardener, and asked Him where the body of Jesus was.

Mary did not recognize the Lord.  Why?  The Lord let His Human die and be buried so He could show Himself to His disciples in a new Form – Glorified – the Human made Divine.  As we read, “Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.  Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.’” (John 12:24)

If you buried a seed in the soil and came back later the seed would be gone.  Where did it go?  Did someone take it? No it turned into something else, a plant.  A seed is very different looking than the plant that springs up, even unrecognizable.

After Mary’s inquiry of where the body was the Lord said Mary’s name and she immediately recognized Him.  Imagine her joy and her amazement!  It’s all true! He’s not gone, He’s not dead, He is alive!

All of this happened in a garden for a reason.  The story of the Lord’s people starts in a garden.  For the Most Ancient Church, or the Lord’s first church on earth, their history is told metaphorically in the story of the garden of Eden.  The church following this one, the Ancient Church, was again described metaphorically by the story of Noah.  When Noah came out of the ark, picturing the start of this new church, he first planted a garden.  The next church, the Jewish church, was seeking a garden – a land flowing with milk and honey. The next church, the Christian church, based on the Risen Lord, began in a garden, as we have just discussed.  And the next church, the New Church, described in symbolic language in the book of revelation, had at the center of the Holy City a tree, the tree of life.  These churches all have this connection to a garden because the Lord’s church is a garden, the Lord’s garden.  His garden, or His church, was in danger of dying.  If the Lord didn’t come and tend to it nothing could have grown.  What gardener wouldn’t take out weeds, strangling vines and thorns, and make sure their was sun making to the plants.  So the Lord did what He had to do to ensure the health and vitality of His Garden.

We are also like gardens as to our spiritual life.  The Lord gives us the pleasure of tending the garden, or our life, with a real sense that life is our own.  But it is important to recognize that we do work the garden, but it is the Lord that makes things grow – we don’t.

If we don’t do the work and provide the things for the garden we won’t have the benefits.  So it is with our reformation and spiritual growth. We need to get active on our garden, or spiritual life, and when we do the Lord can create miracles.  We read, “The things that you must provide yourself with are the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, from the doctrine of the church, from the world, and by your own labor. The Lord does everything else while you are unaware of it.”  (Apocalypse Explained 1154)

May your garden grow and bloom beautifully this Easter season.

“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

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