SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by ushers as you entered
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· The bulletins were placed specifically for social distancing, one household per pew. Please sit exactly where you found your bulletin.
· Please keep your masks on and remain seated through the whole service.
The office and the rest of the building remain closed, but you can contact Karla during her office hours.
Session Meeting April 18th
WORDS OF WORSHIP
SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PRAYER REQUESTS
WORDS OF WORSHIP
Leader: Blessed Easter to us all in the sacred Name of Jesus!
Response: This is the day that the Lord has made.
L: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
R: The cross is covered with the beauty of lilies,
L: to symbolize the new life we have received from His resurrection!
Powerful Savior; you are even stronger than the grasp of death itself. We are all mortal and come to the end of our days; yet You have transcended even the grave! We honor and praise You on this most precious day of the Christian year. Hear our worship with song and prayer, reading and Scripture as it tells us the wonderful “Old, Old Story.” Amen.
HYMN Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today No. 113
CONFESSION AND PARDON.
Holy Lord, as we celebrate the divine miracle of Easter’s new life, we cannot help but compare our lives to Your eternal purity. There are so many Bible passages that speak of Your holiness, unblemished by sin. There are also so many in which our shortcomings are made plain. We are truly repentant before Your throne of grace. May we be granted the ability to serve You with greater obedience and love in the days to come. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The Lord lived His human life with no sin whatever, and is thus able to take our sinful nature upon His own cross. In this miraculous way, we are not clean ourselves; but are MADE clean through Your grace. We praise You and worship You on this Easter Day and always. Amen.
THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
THE OFFERING AND OFFERTORY
The Psalmist asks the rhetorical question, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits unto me.” His answer is sufficient for all of us as well—“I will lift up my soul unto thee and seek thy forgiveness. All that I am and all that I have are thine.”
Lord, these are our best offerings that we present before thy table and in Thy sanctuary. Help us to always seek to bring our finest gifts to Your ministries here and abroad as the Church serves Your mission work. Amen.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
What IS truth?” was asked by Pontius Pilate as he was examining Jesus in ther presence of the Pharisees and priests of the Hebrew people. In our confusing world, this can often be seen as our question as well. Let us accept that the Holy Bible is the very word of God brought to us in perfection. May our eyes be opened to perceive Your truth. Amen.
Matthew 28: 1-10
Good blessed morning!! BLESSED EASTER!! This is the Facebook broadcast of the Easter morning worship service of the First Presbyterian Church of Clinton, Iowa. I am the Rev. Dr. Dale Dykstra and am the newly serving Interim Pastor here. I have been engaged in 48 continuous years of ministry in Presbyterian Churches (USA)
In Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Blessed Easter! I know that most folks say “Happy Easter”, but we are Christians and have a better word than just being “happy”. Indeed, in this particular year, there is much to be un-happy about in the days of the pandemic Covid-19. Over a half a million Americans have perished from this disease and more than 30 MILLION people have been infected and gone through the suffering of its symptoms. Many thousands of people have lost their businesses; and almost countless people have lost their jobs as a result. Sooo- how can I say “Blessed Easter?”
We are richly blessed by our God. Yes, I weill say it again ---Blessed Easter!”
Today we are audacious people who dare to say that a man actually and truly died and came back to life by the power of Almighty God! Now, how many of you have actually seen a dead man walking? What about a deceased woman returning to earthly life? Oh there are ghost stories in abundance; but we know they are fiction.
So NONE of you have touched or spoken to a deceased person in the flesh after they have died and been buried in the ground? Then on what grounds do we have to actually believe the Biblical story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? How can we know that this is true when it goes contrary to everything we have in our experience?
I am a man who believes with my whole heart that every word of the Holy Bible is gospel truth. There are passages or concepts that I may very well not understand, but that is my failure—not that of Scripture. With college, seminary and ministry, I have studied God’s Word for over 55 years and still am learning more every time I approach the Sacred Word.
I encourage you to take this same position. Millions upon millions of people have staked their earthly – AND HEAVENLY -lives on the truth of God’s Word. Ifyou will go along with me this far, we can come to the certainty of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Day. We can truly say, “HE IS RISEN!”
This morning I read to you not one but three Gospel’s accounts of what happened on that history-making day. Each author adds certain details that others don’t—making a more complete picture for us.I started with Matthew’s presentation. He knew about the skepticism of the Pharisees and priests. They had heard a tory that Jesus told His followers that He would rise in three days. Therefore, they asked Pilate to station a squad of the mighty Roman Legion outside the tomb to protect it from grave robbery. Pilate went even further, sealing the tomb tight. This would prevent any chance of his followers stealing the body.
I have stood inside the tomb of Jesus on my trip to Israel with a group of clergy and their families. I have seen the disc-shaped stone that had been rolled down a shallow trench in a position in front of the door of the tomb. I also know that “sealing” a rough-hewn stone cover to a hand carved doorway was accomplished by smearing a plaster-like substance around the outside edge of the joint. It was marked by the imprint of a signet ring—in this case Pilate’s own name! Any attempt to open the tomb would crack the plaster and erase the imprint.
Matthew recorded that two women named Mary were the first to arrive at the tomb on Easter morning—just after sunrise. It records that they had doubts about their mission to care for Jesus’s body on two accounts. The stone was probably too big and heavy for them to move; and there were those Roman guards who would not put up with any tampering. When they arrived, God had taken care of both troubles –the door was opened, and the guards lay on the ground! There was no way to fake this. The guards felt they had to report back to Pilate and explain that they had been overwhelmed not by men, but by angels!
Mark adds the name of Salome to the growing list of witnesses of the risen Lord. He also records the words of the angels that tell that Jesus will meet His disciples in Galilee. He adds the detail that Mary Magdelene was one of the witnesses—and she had a shady past. Scripture faithfully records that the disciples did not believe her!
More witnesses are added as two men walking to Emmaus encountered the risen Lord, spoke with Him, and even came to recognize Him when they ate bread together.
Soon after they returned to report this to the disciples, Jesus came into the upper room—not through the door! When he was there, he ate some fish with them—and it didn’t fall through!! He was physically THERE. HE WAS RISEN!
Paul went even further, telling of his own encounter with the risen Jesus on the Damascus Road. In his narration, he mentioned that Peter had a special encounter with the risen Lord, and that he had appeared to over 500 people in Jerusalem. He challenged the Corinthian church to go ahead and ASK some of these people who had gone to Corinth!
Folks, what seems to be impossible was doubted, challenged, and denied. The tomb was sealed snd guarded. Many witnesses declared what we believe today –HE IS RISEN !! Why is that so central in the Christian faith for us to know and believe?
It is because Jesus has told us that if we confess our sins, believe in His resurrection, and walk in newness of life, WE TOO SHALL LIVER FOREVER WITH GOD!! Truly, of all of our days, this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
HE IS RISEN ---AND SO SHALL WE !!
HYMN The Day of Resurrection No. 118
AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
INVITATION TO THE LORD’S SUPPER
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
O Holy God…we lift our hearts in joyful praise.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Hymnal #581
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest.
We praise you…together, we proclaim the mystery of our faith.
Dying, you destroyed our death; rising, you restored our life. Hymnal #582
Gracious God… all glory and honor are yours,
Almighty God, now and forever.
SERVING OF THE ELEMENTS
HYMN Jesus Christ Is Risen Today No,123
CHARGE & BLESSING
And now, may the grace, mercy, and peace which proceeds from God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and into the Holy Spirit within us, rest and abide within us, now and forever more.