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Resurrection Sunday is one of the best times to be a Christian. I don’t know about you, but I need this annual reminder whereby we direct our full attention to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In saying that, I do not want to minimize the importance or gladness of other Lord’s Day that pass by, week upon week, over the course of a year. But Resurrection Sunday is truly the feast day of feast days for someone who believes in Jesus Christ. Here is our hope, front and center. Here is our life, fully on display. Here is our joy, set before our hearts. It is no wonder then that the rapturous opening of 1 Peter identifies the resurrection as the ground of a believer’s abundant joy: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1:3-5, ESV) I trust that, as we gather again to remember our Savior’s resurrection this Sunday, that you’ll come with a heart ready to offer your thankful worship to our Risen Savior.

To begin our day, we’ll have a special Resurrection Prayer Service with several hymns, scripture readings, and prayers. Remember, this begins at 8:00 AM on Sunday.

The sermon this Sunday considers Matthew’s account of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in Matthew 28:1-10. The text draws our attention to several different affections in response to the truth that Jesus is risen from the dead. We will consider the women who first encountered the empty tomb and the risen Lord, and attend carefully to the message both of the angel and the Lord himself. The passage as a whole draws out of us courage amidst our earthly woes, joy in Christ’s truth, and love for our Savior.

 

Worship Service

Call to Worship: 1 Peter 1:3-5

Hymn 272 [Red] Now Let the Vault of Heaven Resound

Congregational Reading: Colossians 3:1-4

Doxology: Doxology, Red 283

Ministry of Music: Jesus Christ is Risen Today

      For as in Adam All Died

Hymn [Insert] Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

Hymn [Insert] Before the Throne of God Above

Ministry of Music: Alleluia! Alleluia!

Prayer

Offering

Scripture Reading: Psalm 21 & Matthew 28

Hymn 133 [Blue] The Strife is O’er This old hymn (from the 17th century Latin hymn Finita Iam Sunt Proelia originally published in Symphonia Sirenum Selectarum) describes the great victory of Jesus Christ over death. The superb tune (based on one of Palestrina’s Magnificats) helps the text a great deal, but the truths are important in their own right. There is a finality to Christ’s victory. While the “strife” is not quite “o’er,” we nevertheless have a promise of eternal life because Christ has finished his redemptive sacrifice and resurrection. One stanza in particular could use some explanation: He closed the yawning gates of hell, the bars from heavens high portals fell; let hymns of praise His triumphs tell: Alleluia! The phrase “the yawning gates of hell” is straight-forward enough—Christ has defeated the grave. Yes, he released us from sin’s condemnatory death sentence, but he has also risen so that the “yawning gates of hell” cannot ultimately keep us. The last phrase is also clear: our songs of praise proclaim that Christ has won the battle over death. Yet the phrase, “the bars from heavens high portals fell” is a bit trickier. Portals are gates. The meaning is that Jesus has opened the gates of heaven for his own through his death and resurrection. The original Latin for this stanza is actually clearer than the English translation. It may be more simply translated, “The gates of hell are closed / and heaven’s rooms are opened: / we rejoice and pray, ‘Alleluia!’” (Sunt clausa stygis ostia / Et caeli patent atria: / Gaudeamus et petamus, / Alleluia). May that last word, though we sing it so often, never lose its force and meaning with us: Alleluia. Which is to say, “Praise Yahweh.” What a proper response of those who are the recipients of such victory!

Sermon: He is Risen, as He Said from Matthew 28:1-10

Hymn 259 [Red] Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners

Prayer

Benediction

 

This Sunday, we will have an evening service at 5:00 PM. Eric White will be speaking.

 

 

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