umcgiving

April 4—Easter Day

Moment for Mission

“The sounds of joyful songs and deliverance are heard in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord’s strong hand is victorious!’” —Psalm 118:15, CEB\

Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!

The account of Christ’s sacrificial love and victory over sin and death—a story of God’s in-breaking and in-dwelling love—“holds us in there” as Christians. Our power, purpose, enthusiasm and joy for life; hope in the future; desire to work for peace and justice; ability to persist when facing a troubled, chaotic, divided world and church spring from the mystery and promise of the Resurrection story:

  • The mystery of a stone being rolled away from the tomb;
  • The mystery of new life emerging from burial shrouds;
  • The mystery of Jesus coming alive in the hearts of sinners; and
  • The mystery of Jesus’ followers sacrificing fame and fortune so that others might have abundant life.

The Resurrection story “holds us in there” precisely because it grasps us with the raw power of God’s mysterious, unmerited, extravagant, reckless grace. God is in the business of bringing captives home, setting prisoners free, healing people’s wounds, wiping away tears of grief and raising the dead to new life in Christ Jesus.

God yearns to unbind each of us from our grave clothes and set us free. God yearns for each of us to sing a new song of resurrection. Even though the healing may lie ahead of us, it is already a settled fact in the mind of God.

Hold fast to the story that holds you in there. Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!

Adapted from “Easter Message: The Story that Holds You in There,” Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Area, April 9, 2020. Used by permission.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, thank you for Easter. Help us to hold fast to the Resurrection story—to sing a new song and to share that song with others. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Terror and Amazement — Mighty God of Resurrection power: We so desperately need the “Alleluia!” morning! We have lived with death for so long; we have been trapped in our tombs so long, we could not be more anxious to hear the report from Mary, “I have seen the Lord!” We know in our hearts that you have been with us through all the past year has handed us, and we have seen you in the generosity of heart that has brought us through these days. As we give back to you this day, may we do so as those convinced that light will always wash away darkness, and life will always defeat death! In the name of our risen Savior, we pray. Amen. (John 20:1-18)

Newsletter Nugget
Resurrection is a word I have known most of my life. In my earliest experiences, it was a “churchy” word I heard only at Easter. But lately, I have seen the word resurrection as relevant to everyday life. This is related to my understanding of Easter as a characteristic of who we are as people of faith, instead of an event that happens every spring.\

You’ve probably heard—and perhaps used—the term “Easter people.” To be the Easter people we proclaim to be, we must leave behind the things that drag us into doubt, despair and darkness and seek the things that help us to lean into the God of the Resurrection, the God who wants hope and healing for all creation, the God who wants to see the Kingdom restored once more. This is the God who wants the best for us.\

God rescues, redeems and yes—resurrects—on Easter and every day. Thanks be to God!

Adapted from a blog by the Rev. Elizabeth Jackson, Otterbein United Methodist Church, Hagerstown, Maryland, Sept. 1, 2020. Used by permission.