We spent this Easter weekend with my mother on the farm in Missouri. Sunday morning we went to the country church where I grew up, for Easter service and breakfast cooked by the men.
Along a gravel road in central Missouri, miles from any town, is the Oklahoma Church of Christ, established in the late 1800’s. The current building, constructed of local rock, was built in the early 1900s.
They don’t use a sound system and band, or a computer with videos and songs and Scripture flashed up on a screen at the front of the sanctuary. Just a piano player, the ministers standing behind a pulpit, well-loved hymns in well-used hymnals, and the Bible.
Very different from my modern city church, but the message we heard, the hope we shared, was exactly the same.
Luke 23:32-43; Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-17.
Jesus died so that we can be forgiven. He rose again on the third day as a promise to his followers that we can live forever with God in Heaven.
His burial cloths were folded and set aside, unneeded. Just as he had the power to promise the thief on the cross that he would be with him in paradise that day, Jesus is alive today and has the power to help us with everything we need, our Lord and brother and friend.
Jesus told the women who came to the tomb that morning not to be afraid, but to share with his disciples that he was alive. We have the same direction from Jesus, to share with those around us that he is alive and wants to be their God, just as he is our God.
No matter where we are in the world, no matter our style of worship, we who have given our lives to Jesus share the same hope and joy and mission.
Matthew 28:5-7: “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’”