SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
May 24, 2020
Seventh Sunday of Easter
WORDS OF WORSHIP Psalm 68:4, 18-18, CEB
Sing to God! Sing praises to his name!
Exalt the one who rides the clouds!
The Lord is his name. Celebrate before him!
You ascended the heights, leading away your captives,
receiving tribute from people,
even from those who rebel against the Lord God’s dwelling there.
Bless the Lord! The God of our salvation supports us day after day!
Almighty God, we celebrate you this day with our worship. We bring you our tribute of praise and presence and prayers. We give you thanks for your mercy.
Jesus, we honor you as the Christ, and bless you. We come grateful for the gift of salvation and ready to hear your word for us this day. May we forever remain in your grace and live for your kingdom to come upon this earth. Amen.
CONFESSION AND PARDON Hebrews 4:12-13, GW
God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions. No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him. Therefore, let us confess our sins to God.
God who sees and knows everything about us, we confess our disobedience by what we have done against your will. We confess the rebellion hiding within our deepest thoughts. We confess the irreverence and disrespect in words we may have spoken out loud. Lord, in your mercy, forgive us.
We confess our lack of humble service in the things we have failed to do for you, for those around us, and even for the natural world you created. Lord, in your mercy, forgive us.
We confess the temptations we chose not to resist and the times our resistance crumbled giving way to sin. Lord, in your mercy, forgive us.
We confess our fears and frustrations and lack of faith. Above all we confess our very great need of your strength and your salvation. Lord, in your mercy, forgive us.
Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
PASSING THE PEACE
May the peace of Christ be with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Jesus, may we hear in the story of your ascension and in the descriptions of your position in the heavenly realms, a word of hope and encouragement for our lives and our mission here on earth. Amen.
Acts 1:6-11, NCV
6 When the apostles were all together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, are you now going to give the kingdom back to Israel?”
7 Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. 8 But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”
9 After he said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 As he was going, they were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men wearing white clothes stood beside them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”
Philippians 2:1-11, NCV
2:1 Does your life in Christ give you strength?
Does his love comfort you? Do we share together in the spirit?
Do you have mercy and kindness?
2 If so, make me very happy by having the same thoughts,
sharing the same love, and having one mind and purpose.
3 When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide.
Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.
4 Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.
5 In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.
6 Christ himself was like God in everything.
But he did not think that being equal with God
was something to be used for his own benefit.
7 But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing.
He was born as a man and became like a servant.
8 And when he was living as a man,
he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God,
even when that caused his death—death on a cross.
9 So God raised him to the highest place.
God made his name greater than every other name
10 so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus--
everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
and bring glory to God the Father.
Hebrews 12:1-3, NLT
“12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
SERMON The Ascension Story is Good News
In Paula Gooder’s Introduction to the week of the Ascension, she notes two problems Christians have with this Holy Day. First, most of us, especially Protestants, don’t know it very well. It’s on the calendar, but being the 40th day after Easter, it’s always on Thursday. We don’t generally worship on Thursday. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches are more likely to attend a mass to celebrate the Ascension. Honestly, it wasn’t until I got into writing this paragraph that I realized, “Oh, it’s Thursday! I’m actually writing my first ever Ascension sermon on Ascension Day, Wow!” Did you notice I’m admitting that even though I’m a clergy person who knows the liturgical calendar, I’ve never really celebrated the Ascension?
The second issue in a modern world, is the name “Ascension.” We no longer subscribe to a three-tiered universe as the ancients did. We might still use language of up for heaven and down for hell, because we never really developed better language for it, but we know the world isn’t flat. Even if we try to fit old notions into modern perceptions does that mean hell is inside the earth and heaven is outside the atmosphere? Nah! That can’t be right. I am making fun of it a bit here, but I think we get messed up when we take poetic or literary descriptions and try to fit them into a scientific framework. They weren’t meant to be used that way.
When I looked for other Biblical references to “taken up to heaven” the first story to appear was exactly one I had in mind. 2 Kings 2 describes Elijah being “taken up” in a whirlwind. In the Old Testament Elijah is the greatest of the prophets. In the Transfiguration story, it is Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, representing the Prophets, who appear beside Jesus at the mountain top. Elijah is one of two Old Testament figures who did not die a human death but appeared to be taken directly by God leaving no body behind. The other is Enoch. Here is how one translation puts it, “Elijah and Elisha were walking and talking together. Suddenly, some horses and a chariot came and separated Elijah from Elisha. The horses and the chariot were like fire. Then Elijah was carried up into heaven in a whirlwind.” (2 Kings 2:11, ERV)
The next use of such language is from the added ending to Mark’s Gospel which gives us the tradition by then that, “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with [the disciples], he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” (Mark 16:19, NLT) Luke, who will use this language in Acts, has already previewed it in his Gospel as well with this foreshadowing in chapter 9, “As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51, CEB) and in this set up for the sequel at the end his Gospel.
“As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven.” (Luke 24:51, CEB)
Let’s not get hung up on language that was meant not with scientific precision, but as a literary device to describe a dimension for which science has yet to give us words. Along with Gooder, I have long thought of heaven as a dimension we cannot see. If time is the fourth dimension, the heavenly realms are yet another.
Now, let’s follow the story into Acts, Chapter 1. Acts, as I said, is like a sequel to Luke’s Gospel. After sharing resurrection stories, Luke 24 ends with a paragraph subtitled “Ascension of Jesus” as follows:
“50 He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. 53 And they were continuously in the temple praising God.” (Luke 24:50-53, CEB)
It’s like in a movie or drama when the final scene carries you into the next episode, because Acts 1 begins this way,
“1:1 Theophilus, the first scroll I wrote concerned everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, 2 right up to the day when he was taken up into heaven. Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. 4 While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me: 5 John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:1-5, CEB)
Luke has effectively tied volume 1 and volume 2 together with these closing and opening statements.
Now we arrive at our first reading for today which was Acts 1:6-11. As Jesus disappeared from their sight into the heavenly realms, the focus shifts from Jesus to the disciples straining to still see him. That subtle shift of our attention is intentional and necessary in one way. While Jesus is still with them as promised in Spirit, and in fact tells them once again that he will send his Holy Spirit to them, Jesus also makes a commissioning statement. It is not identical to Matthew 28:19-20, which is more detailed, but the overall effect and purpose is the same. Go out into the world and teach them everything I have taught you. That would be my summary of these commissioning statements. By commissioning his remaining disciples, Jesus is shifting the burden of his earthly ministry to their shoulders. They are no longer observers or students; now the job is theirs to continue. This is significant!
Notice however, the disciples’ reaction in this scene. God hid Jesus from their sight behind a cloud. Though Jesus was no longer visible, they continued to stand there staring into the sky. Can you picture a scene in an airport or train station where someone has sent off their loved one and continues to stand there, no longer waving goodbye but just staring in the direction the jet or train has gone? That’s the vibe I get imagining the dumbfounded disciples staring into the sky. So, God’s messengers ask them, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) I wonder if it was the same messengers who asked the women on Easter morning, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee.” (Luke 24:5b-6)
I think it’s human nature to keep staring after something is over, wondering what happened, pondering what will happen next, when we don’t fully understand what is going on, or we are in shock. It’s a realistic reaction, but the disciples needed that verbal nudge, “It’s over now. He’ll be back, but in the meantime…” I realized as I read the rest of Gooder’s devotions for Ascension week, that it is “in the meantime” that we find the meaning of the Ascension. It is far more important than I imagined. Gooder writes, “In some ways we, like the disciples, have become fixated on the upwards movement of Jesus…The point the two men make to the disciples is, for me, the clue to helping us to understand the ascension properly today. The point is not so much that Jesus has gone upwards but that he has gone.” (Paula Gooder, This Risen Existence, p. 96)
What does she mean by that? She goes on to say that if Jesus had not left, the disciples would not have picked up the work to carry on. Gooder writes with regard to the mission that “if Jesus were still on earth in his risen existence, we would probably leave him to it.” The truth of that statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Wow!
Let me give you an Old Testament example first. When Elijah and Elisha were talking in the story I mentioned earlier, Elijah was the teacher and Elisha was the student, just as the disciples were students of Jesus. Elijah had told his students, as Jesus did, that the time was coming when he would no longer be with them. As the others were told to wait at a certain place, Elisha insisted on following Elijah all the way to the end. Elisha made a peculiar request of his teacher, to be given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah’s requirement was if his student could actually see him taken up, then his request would be granted. Listen to what happened,
“11 As they continued walking and talking, a fiery chariot with fiery horses separated the two of them, and Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm. 12 When Elisha saw this, he cried out, “Master! Master! Israel’s chariot and horses!” When he couldn’t see Elijah anymore, he grabbed his own garment and tore it in two to show his grief. 13 Then he picked up Elijah’s coat (which had fallen off Elijah), went back, and stood on the bank of the Jordan River. 14 He took the coat and struck the water with it. He asked, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” As he struck the water, it divided to his left and his right, and Elisha crossed the river.” (2 Kings 2:11-14, GW)
Elisha had indeed received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. As his own ministry grew, he did many of the same things Elijah had done and even more. Think about how this parallels Jesus and the disciples. Once they received the Holy Spirit from Jesus on Pentecost, they went on to do many of the same things Jesus had done and spread Jesus’ teachings even further.
I was in my first pastoral appointment at Wyanet for over four years. It had been a good ministry together. It was hard to leave. The woman coming to replace me, Ann, was someone God had called into ministry late in her life. Wyanet would also be her first appointment, and she would be completing the ordination process while there. I would be ordained at my next appointment, which oddly enough included the church where Ann and her family were members. Because Ann was new to pastoral ministry, I was able to have her present on my last Sunday. I preached from this chapter of 2 Kings and used the story of Elisha picking up Elijah’s mantel as a way to hand over my ministry at Wyanet to Ann. I had been contemplating preaching from Elijah this summer, in part for similar reasons.
What hit me as I read Gooder’s emphasis on Jesus’ absence, is of course the fact that we are in the midst of preparing for my retirement, while at the same time we have other church leaders who are also in transition, notably the Treasurer, the Personnel Chair, and as of this past week, the Clerk of Session. Our absence opens the door for others to step up and take on the mantel of leadership. I am grateful when I see this happening, and I have to trust God for the rest of it. As one example, I have had the privilege of working with a friend for several months, training her to take over my administrative duties. As she takes on more and more of that responsibility these past few weeks, I am more and more able to look forward to my retirement. In the midst of it, I am aware of how Jesus worked hard to train his disciples, even sending them out on missions, preparing them for the work that would need to continue after his ascension. Just as Jesus was still with them through the Holy Spirit, I trust that Jesus will continue to be with this congregation I have served, and the Holy Spirit will guide and equip new leadership, just as the Spirit did for the disciples.
The Holy Spirit came to the disciples on Pentecost, and that is next week’s story. But today, let’s focus on Jesus’ role in our lives from his position in the heavenly realms. Gooder points to the shift this way, “For us ascension is about absence, but for Christ it is about homecoming.” (p. 98) The Bible tells us often that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. My devotional Bible verse for this week (Psalm 138:7) is one of many from Psalms that talks about the power of God’s right hand to protect and save us. Now Jesus is at God’s right hand, and from there continues to work in power on our behalf.
We also find this in Revelation. Imagine this from chapter 7:
“I looked, and there was a great number of people, so many that no one could count them. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language of the earth. They were all standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. 10 They were shouting in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures. They all bowed down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes? Where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “You know, sir.”
And the elder said to me, “These are the people who have come out of the great distress. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Because of this, they are before the throne of God. They worship him day and night in his temple. And the One who sits on the throne will be present with them. 16 Those people will never be hungry again, and they will never be thirsty again. The sun will not hurt them, and no heat will burn them, 17 because the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of water that give life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9-17, NCV)
I wanted you to hear that beautiful vision of our future hope, but focus on the lamb for a moment. In Revelation, the lamb represents Jesus, the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Gooder wants her readers to notice that Jesus, the lamb, is “at the center of the throne.” (v. 17) She writes, “he was not only sitting in God’s company but sitting on God’s own throne – not on a separate throne to the side.” (p. 99) Jesus shares the throne and power and authority with God in heaven. Jesus did tell the disciples that he and the Father are One. This is another way of expressing it. In that position, Jesus can offer us even more.
First, Jesus is our Advocate, representing us as one who has experienced and understands this earthly human existence. As we read in Hebrews, “We have a High Priest who has passed through the heavens; and he is the one who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.” (Gooder, p. 105 based on Hebrews 4:14-15) We no longer need a priest to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, to seek forgiveness for all people. Jesus has permanently taken up that position on God’s very throne. So Gooder writes, “We can be confident then that Jesus’ intercessions on our behalf reach God directly.” (p. 105) What better Advocate could we ever need?
Second, from this position Jesus sends us gifts through the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told his disciples he had to leave, so he could send the Holy Spirit to them. (John 16:7) That in itself is a gift. As Ephesians 4 talks about the gifts of the Spirit, it is written this way,
“7 Christ gave each one of us the special gift of grace, showing how generous he is. 8 That is why it says in the Scriptures, “When he went up to the heights, he led a parade of captives, and he gave gifts to people.” (Ephesians 4:7-8 which quotes Psalm 68:18)
It goes on a few verses later,
“11 And Christ gave gifts to people—he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people. 12 Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. 13 This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection.” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NCV)
From heaven Jesus gifts us to continue his work.
Third, Jesus has taken captivity, captive. That’s not something we think about generally, but as the Psalm verse quoted in Ephesians 4 showed a triumphant king parading up to a high place bringing captives as well as gifts, now Jesus has returned to the heights, metaphorically speaking, and showers us with gifts while ending captivity itself. This is the great reversal that has been an ongoing theme of Jesus’ ministry and teaching. The one who is entitled to receive gifts now gives them. The king who could take captives instead releases us ending our captivity. Think about the things that enslave us: sin, death, disease, injustice, poverty, oppression, corruption, greed, addiction, etc. Jesus wants to set us free from all of that and has already defeated sin and death through his death and resurrection. I like Gooder’s response in light of all this, “We have come to a victory feast at which we discover the guest of houour giving out presents rather than receiving them…we should cherish them all the more because of this.” (p. 101)
We have noted that Jesus’ ascension into the heavenly realms leaves us to step up to continue the ministry in Jesus’ absence. We have also noted that Jesus’ ascension is his return to God’s right hand, the seat of power and the throne of mercy and grace. But we need to put these two sides of the coin together to understand what they mean for our own life here on earth now. Gooder claims that “Jesus descent to earth, life among us and subsequent ascent back to heaven are to be to us the model for our own way of life.” (p. 102) What Jesus did is sung in the New Testament hymn of Philippians 2:6-11, but Gooder finds our mission in the opening passage of that chapter. Paul expresses the hope that we will find encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and compassion in Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Then resting in these gifts, he wants us to agree together, love one another, and work together united in purpose. Paul recognizes this won’t work if we let selfishness or pride get in the way, but we need to remain humble, honoring one another more than ourselves, showing genuine interest in others, not just promoting our own interests. This was the attitude of Christ we are called to imitate.
This is more than asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” though that is part of it. It is putting on Christ. Galatians 3:27 expresses it this way, “And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes.” What if every morning as we wash up, we remind ourselves that we are baptized into Christ? What if then as we get dressed we consciously imagine putting on Christ” Then let’s ask Christ to seep into our minds and spirits, so that in what we think, what we say, and what we do all day, we might have that mind of Christ in us.
Look at the example Jesus set for us. Though Jesus held a place with God in the heavenly realms, he humbly set that aside for a time, to put on human flesh and reach out to us in person. He even submitted to a most horrific death, in what Gooder calls “his outpouring of himself in love for the world.” (p. 103) What Gooder says next I think is one of her main points for This Risen Existence.
“Generous self-outpouring…is given out freely and undeservedly…It is the model we are called to follow and are reminded that in the topsy-turvy world of the kingdom of God, those who give up their rights and pour themselves out, gain back far, far more than they could ever imagine. This model of outpouring is not an additional requirement for Christians but the essence of Christian life and faith.” (pp. 103-104)
This lifestyle modeled for us by Christ is what the Holy Spirit shapes and trains us for, but it is not an overnight transformation. It is a lifetime of training, something like an athlete getting ready for the Olympics or another big event. After recalling a list of the faithful from Old Testament stories in Hebrews 11, the author of that letter describes a scene that first century readers would recognize as a Graeco-Roman athletic competition, perhaps even the Olympics held from 776 BC through 393 AD, so known to that world. Chapter 12 begins with the crowd of witnesses, suggesting those named in the Faith Hall of Fame from Chapter 11 are now in the stands cheering on succeeding generations. I think of the many Olympic medalists who have gone on to be coaches and mentors, while others as announcers or observers encourage those who follow in their footsteps.
I recently watched a reality show that featured a few of the many athletes around the world who have trained diligently for 4 years or more to participate in the Olympics, only to be told this year, because of COVID-19, they will need to train for one more year. There was a taekwondo medalist whose training model is to tell himself at the end of practice to do “one more kick” in order to build up his stamina. There was the gymnast who cuts back to only one cup of coffee per week while in training and a rhythmic gymnast who can tell you exactly when she had her last piece of pizza or her last beloved bottle of coke both months ago. They gave up whatever was needed to be in the best condition for their event. These athletes will continue now for another whole year and two months.
Because the ancestors of our faith are watching, here or from heaven, we want to do our very best. We rid ourselves of everything that might slow us down or get in our way as Hebrews 12 tells us. This is how we are called to live: to diligently train, disciplining ourselves as needed to reach for the goal of following Christ and continuing his work on earth. Like the Olympic athletes, we are in this for the long haul, continuing as long as we must. We can give up what would get in the way, and we can push ourselves each day to do one more thing for Christ to build up our stamina and strength. As we give our best for Christ in whatever days are allotted us, Jesus is in heaven equipping us, encouraging us, advocating for us. In this way we live “this risen existence” carrying forward the mission of Christ our Risen Lord.
Let me conclude today with these words from Paula Gooder: “The ascended Jesus stands before us, calling us onwards and encouraging us to persevere no matter how hard it is, because he has gone this way before us.” (p. 108)
AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
God of mercy and grace,
we pray for your presence in our midst.
Jesus, Lord and Savior, hear our prayer:
We pray for those suffering from
Broken dams and flooding in Michigan
Those evacuated from their homes
In the midst of quarantine and those cleaning up the mess.
We pray for those whose homes and lives have been taken
By Cyclones in India and Bangladesh
For the restoration of power and the rebuilding to be done.
We pray for the Navajo Nation fighting COVID-19 and
Doctors without Borders sent in to help
As well as others continuing to fight this disease,
Those places experiencing a second wave of infections,
And those making decisions about reopening.
We pray for our members and others living alone,
Those who have been ill,
Those going to work in the midst of difficult times,
And those in a period of transition.
We pray for the leadership of our church
That you will continue to send your Holy Spirit
To equip and to guide us to continue your work.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
We give you thanks for those who have served us well,
And for those who are stepping up to the plate to fill the void.
We thank you for those you will yet call,
Give them courage to accept the challenge.
We thank you for those who make a difference in our daily lives,
For good neighbors, for clerks and delivery drivers,
For medical staff, food servers, sanitation workers,
For those who teach us and those who protect us.
We give you thanks for the beauty of nature,
The inspiration of art and music
And the blessing of worship.
All honor and glory to you, O God, as we offer our prayer
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power
And the glory forever. Amen.
CHARGE & BLESSING
May the grace and peace of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ,
Continue to bless you, heal you, inspire you, and revive you,
That you may continue to serve him well.
Messages this season are based on This Risen Existence by Paula Gooder.
For the Easter Season video will be available of Kolleen leading worship, reading scripture, and sharing a message based on the resurrection passages throughout the New Testament, based on the devotional book This Risen Existence by Paula Gooder. Thanks to our tech, Mike, for setting up recording and editing to video