Mar 27

Easter Sunday (Year B)

Image credit: unknown (found via Pinterest.com)

Acts 10:34-43

  • While most preachers may feel “obligated” to preach from one of the Gospel lessons today, this is a marvelous text to explore on Easter Sunday.  In many ways, it provides a clearly presented statement of faith for all believers.
  • The subject of testimony is easy to find in this text – and it certainly fits with the Easter story.  We are witnesses.  How do we testify to what we have seen?
  • If your church has projection equipment, display images of people talking with one another (as though they are sharing their own testimonies).

Isaiah 25:6-9

  • This passage starts with the description of a feast.  If you are focusing on this passage in your worship service, include a “feast” in your decor.  Include scrumptious foods like grapes, other fruits (apples, pomegranates, etc), blocks of cheese, breads, crackers, and nuts.  You could use this as an interactive display (actually inviting folks to come forward and take some food for themselves – perhaps already sliced in baskets).
  • If you don’t want to feature a feast-like display during worship, you may want to set up a “feast” for people to enjoy before or after worship (perhaps a breakfast or lunch/brunch).  A feast like this could also include pastries, egg casseroles, etc.  (Yes, you could include those in a worship display, too, if you’d like.)  You could have cards with this scripture typed/written on them at each table.

Psalm 116:1-2, 14-24

  • A portion of this same psalm was (possibly) read on Palm Sunday.  You can read my notes from that Sunday here.
  • I can imagine Jesus singing this psalm as he exited the tomb on that Easter Sunday.
  • I love the imagery of the rejected stone becoming the “chief cornerstone”.  You may want to create a large “stone” or “boulder” to use in your sanctuary decor.  It is pretty easy to find instructions online at places like this.
  • Of course, you may want to use a real stone/boulder.  If you are worshipping outside, you may already have a stone/boulder in or near your worship space.  Otherwise, you may need to move one into your worship space…just be careful!
  • Another place to find rocks/stones/boulders: home and garden stores.  Places that help you with your landscaping may have stones/boulders for sale – some that are real, and others that are actually plastic or some other synthetic material.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

  • This passage offers a nice summary of the Gospel message and Easter story.  Simple & straightforward.
  • This text also lifts up Paul’s personal testimony.  He didn’t consider himself to be “all that” – really, he hardly thinks of himself as even being “qualified” to be sharing the Gospel message.  How many of us would say the same?  Do we always feel qualified and called?  Probably not… but God calls us anyway.
  • With a few adjustments, portions of this passage would make a fantastic benediction.

John 20:1-18

  • This is (hopefully) a familiar story for most church folks – but don’t forget that you may have visitors who haven’t heard the Easter story yet.  The New Revised Standard Version is a good translation, but you may want to read from the Common English Bible, The Message, or the Easy to Read Version.
  • Notice who it is that the scripture says actually proclaims the Resurrection of Christ?  Mary Magdalene.  Who – in that culture and time – had the lowest status?  Mary Magdalene.  Remember what Paul writes about in the 1 Corinthian passage – God always calls the unexpected and “unqualified”.  We may judge people to be “unqualified” (less than, not-as-good as, etc), but God sees people differently…
  • Who is “the other disciple”?  Could it be us?
  • This text definitely lends itself to a dramatic reading.  If you have the performance space for it, you could even have people act it out (with a simple or elaborate set).
  • I discovered a wonderful picture and creative idea on Pinterest.com a little while ago.  I really wish that I could figure out who originally posted it, since I would like to give them credit for the picture (that I have shared at the top of this post).  Anyway… I love the idea of creating your own “empty tomb” – especially since you can use it in a church, at home, or in a Sunday School class!  Here’s how to do it:
    • Partially bury a pot on its side (inside of a large box, dish, or other container).  Cover it with sod, grass, moss, or rocks.  Use a large stone (placed next to the tomb’s “entrance”) to be the stone that was rolled away – make sure it is large enough that it would have covered the entrance of the tomb you’ve created.  Add wooden crosses (one larger than the other two) as shown in the picture above.  If you have the right materials (which you should be able to find at most home & garden stores, or even most discount stores), you should be able to make this in almost any size.

Mark 16:1-8

  • I have always been fascinated by the “shorter ending” of the Gospel According to Mark.  If the Gospel story ends with that last verse (8), then no one is told about the Resurrection – at least, no one in the scripture offers any testimony.  Of course, we are witnesses at the empty tomb, too (by virtue of our reading/hearing the narrative…so we also hear the young man in the white robe tell us to “go” and “tell”.
  • Who is the young man dressed in a white robe?  Could it be one of us?

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