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Worship Preview: Easter Sunday!

First United Methodist Church         

        

This Sunday: 10:30am – “Easter: Christ is Risen, Indeed!”

Scriptures –  Mark 16:1-8; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24; Acts 10:34-43; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

 

Easter has arrived! We gather to celebrate the Risen Christ! We gather to celebrate that suffering and death do not have the final word. This year the lectionary generally follows the Gospel of Mark. There is an interesting thing about Mark though – the earliest manuscripts we have end, somewhat abruptly, at what we call chapter 16, verse 8. According to Mark,  on the “first day of the week” – that is, the day after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome have come to the tomb with spices to perform burial rituals. But they find the stone rolled back and “a young man, dressed in a white robe” tells them that the crucified one has been raised and is no longer in the tomb. He says to them “go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 

 

Verse 8 says “they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”  The end. 

 

Over time both a shorter ending (appended to 16:8) and a longer ending (called Mark 16:9-20.) were added, echoing the stories told in Matthew and Luke. It makes sense to me that Mark, almost certainly the earliest Gospel written, originally ended at 16:8. Mark is full of reversed expectations and is often referred to as a “reader response” text. Its goal is to move us to action, to make the story our own. “No!” we want to shout – they can’t be silent! And so we are moved to tell the story, to proclaim the good news.

 

And that is the point of Mark’s writing. It does raise an interesting question for a year where the lectionary follows Mark’s Gospel – what resurrection stories to tell when drawing from a text that really doesn’t’ have any. And so our “Year B” lectionary offers Peter’s speech in Acts 10 and Paul’s letter to Corinth. Both of these men and their communities’ lives have been changed by (remember Mark 1?) “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark ends as abruptly as it began – and the point is that it is not a story from long ago, but our own journey in Christ.

 

You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to have all the answers – just a desire to encounter the mystery of Christ – the Word become flesh, crucified, and yet Risen! That is Easter – darkness does not overcome light. You are invited to come and celebrate. You can learn more about what to expect here at First United Methodist at our website: www.firstumcfortscott.org or our see our Facebook page www.facebook.com/firstumcfortscott for the latest updates.

 

Upcoming Events: 

 

Wednesday, April 3, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at www.firstumcfortscott.org/onlinegiving.

We also need groups to cook and help serve the meal – if you’d be interested in taking a week, please call the church office at 620-223-1950 and we will get you in touch with the coordinator. We are thankful for all the churches and local organizations that assist with this ministry!

 

We are hosting VBS this year. We continue to partner with our friends at First Presbyterian, but will host Vacation Bible School in our building this time. Mark your calendar for June 17th – 21st in the evenings and watch for more information in the coming months. Plan to bring your kids or grandkids for a great week of faith and fun rooted in Scripture.

 

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