Dear Church Family,
We’ll return to our series discussing the elements and parts of the corporate worship service next week. This week, however, I would like to simply make mention of the Good Friday service and the Sunday worship service this coming Easter. And, just in case anyone is wondering – yes, we are having Sunday school on Easter Sunday as usual with classes for all ages beginning at 9:30 am.
Good Friday Communion Service
This Friday, April 18th at 7:00 pm will be our Good Friday Communion Service. You may find the order of worship on the audio page of the church website. In this service, we will sing several hymns related to the crucifixion and death of Christ. We will also read several Scripture passages from the Gospel according to Luke, and conclude the service by partaking of the Lord’s Supper together.
Our sermon will be from Luke 23:39-53, looking at “The Three Wise Men” who were present at the crucifixion. I know that sounds like it might be the title of Christmas sermon, but we’re going to see how we can learn something from each of these men (the thief on the cross, the Roman centurion, and Joseph of Arimathea) – how each of these men responded differently to the crucifixion of Jesus, yet how each of their responses are those which we ought to emulate.
On Easter Sunday, our corporate worship service is at the usual time of 10:50 am. The order of worship for Sunday morning, as usual, is available on the audio page of the church website. Continuing in the Gospel according to Luke, we will be examining the interaction between the resurrected Christ and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). In our scientific age, we have been told that ‘seeing is believing;’ however, we shall see from this passage the teaching of Scripture that “Hearing is Believing.”
Many view the road to Emmaus experience of these two disciples as a paradigm for a mystical experience that believers ought to seek out for themselves; however, we shall see that the key to the transformation of these disciples was not simply an experience. These two disciples were changed because Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. Indeed, the two disciples who encountered Jesus after His resurrection on the road to Emmaus did have an experience that transformed their lives. Yet, they were transformed by the same gospel as has been given to us in the Word of God – the same gospel which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).
Good Friday and Easter are not “holy days.” Though some Christians and traditions refer to this entire week as “holy week,” there is nothing particularly sacred about this week or this time of year. At the same time, the Good Friday Communion Service in which we remember the crucifixion of our Lord, and Easter Sunday in which we celebrate His resurrection, are opportunities for us to remember Jesus’ atonement for our sins and His victory over the grave.
According to the Scriptures, the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the linchpin of our faith, for “if we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). If Christ was not raised from the dead, then all would be in vain – gospel preaching, our faith, our hope, everything. Yet, the glorious good news of the gospel is that our God reigns (Isaiah 52:7; Revelation 19:6); we’ll actually be studying this latter text from the book of Revelation in the adult Sunday school class on Easter morning.
Our God reigns over all – including death. This is our eternal hope: death is swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)
The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch