The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead! And look, he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ See, I have told you!” They hurried away from the tomb, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 28:5-8) EHV
Easter Sunday was great, wasn’t it? The joy of Easter morning is hard to match—after six weeks of solemn praise, our Alleluia’s (which means “praise the Lord”) returned in full joy and exclamation. We joined together with many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in singing the praises of our victorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The message of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the joyful and high-spirited hymns, the choir piece, the great food, the mum cross and the chancel area full of flowers, the full crowds, etc—it’s hard to beat Easter. What joy and excitement we left with on Sunday—and on top of it all, the Lord blessed us with great weather!
The women who went to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning left the tomb filled with joy as well. Sure, they were confused and a little afraid—they weren’t quite sure what happened until Jesus met them on the way to tell the disciples, and yet they were filled with joy. They were filled with joy at the power of Jesus’ resurrection. His life after death means that God had accepted Jesus’ payment of blood for all our sins. His resurrection means that he has power over death—the one who was dead is now alive; and his life after death means that we will live even though we die.
The issue for us sinners, however, is maintaining the same level of excitement for the Lord and his Word on a weekly, even daily, basis. The crowds will be smaller this next Sunday, all the Easter flowers will be gone, the music won’t be as festive, the choir won’t be singing, etc. And so, it’s perfectly natural to lose a little bit of our joy and excitement. But you know what doesn’t change? The message of the gospel, that stays the same day in and day out. Week after week, Christ will be preached, we’ll be assured that our sins are forgiven, and we’ll be reminded of the certain hope of eternal life through Christ’s resurrection from the dead. But it seems as if that’s not enough— not reason enough, not exciting enough, not a big enough event, for some to give up their Sunday mornings to worship the Savior. Or for those that do attend, it doesn’t seem to be enough to really be excited about worshiping the Lord—just another ho-hum Sunday morning.
Not that Christianity is based on feelings and emotions; yet, at the same times, feelings and emotions are part of our faith—how can we not be filled with joy and excitement at the message of the gospel! I pray, then, that you go back and see the joy of the women that first Easter morning, put yourselves in the shoes of the disciples as Jesus appeared to them in a locked room, or be there with Thomas a week later when Jesus told him to touch him and see that he had truly risen from the dead. The gospel remains forever, the fact of Christ’s victory over death remains a fact on Easter as well as every other day, the joy of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven is still the same. I pray, that the joy of Easter remains in you, not just on Sunday but each and every day.
There is one more thing—notice what the women did as they were filled with joy—they ran to tell the disciples. Mary Magdalene did the same, as well as the Emmaus disciples. They were so filled with joy and excitement of Jesus’ resurrection that they had to tell others. Let us do the same thing: sharing the message of Christ’s power over death with those who may not know him while encouraging those that do, so that they too, may have the joy of forgiveness and Christ’s victory over death dwell in their hearts each and every day.
— Pastor Frey
Note: Sunday morning Bible Class will resume on May 12, picking up in the middle of chapter 8, as Pastor Frey leads us through a study of the first 11 chapters of Genesis—an important and interesting portion of Scripture.
Pastor Gartner will continue his Monday/Tuesday class, entitled, "What Must I Do To Be Saved -- A Study of God's Gospel and the Words The Holy Spirit Uses To Proclaim It."
Sunday April 28 at around 9:00 am, we will have the public examination for the 15 young people who will be Confirmed this year. Everyone is invited to hear these young people publicly state the things that they believe as it was taught to them in God's Word over the past three years in Catechism Class. It is a good review for us who have been confirmed and it’s always good to witness the power of the Holy Spirit as these young people express their faith through their answers. Confirmation Sunday will be held May 5th during the second service.
Updates From April Voter’s Meeting
1. Our pipe organ is in need of repairs. We currently have a quote for $20,000 and are currently exploring all our options. 2. The council is suggesting a number of changes to our current by-laws, including removing and adding certain council positions. A copy of the by-laws with the proposed changes (highlighted in red) is available in the back of Church. If you have comments, questions or input for either of these items, please talk to one of the pastors or the council members.
The Pioneers will meet Sunday, April 28 at 2:00 pm in the church basement to paint dried gourd birdhouses. Please dress your child in old clothes for this activity. You may contact Sarah Ziesemer with any questions.
Adopt-A-Highway and Church Work Day
As of right now the weather does not look promising to hold our work day/Adopt-a-Highway. Stay tuned for any updates. See below for the original announcement—we still need plenty more volunteers whenever we are able to have it.
Saturday April 27 (weather permitting) beginning at 9:00 am, we will have a Church work day to clean up the property and we will also clean our portion of the highway for Adopt-a-Highway. Please sign up on the sheet in the back of Church if you can even come for a portion of the day to help out.
We also want to clean the inside of church. There is a sheet in the entry way listing areas to be cleaned in the church. (1) You may clean any time during the week of the 22nd or 29th. (2) Just sign your name next to the area you will clean. (3) Mark the area when it is cleaned. This is a good time for fellowship and getting to know our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Since November 2017 for the lessons during our worship services we have been using the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) translation of the Bible. This is a translation produced by the Wartburg Project, a group of WELS and ELS pastors and professors. The entire Bible is now complete and will be published this summer. You now have an opportunity to preorder this Bible at a discounted bulk-rate price (the exact price will depend on how many Bibles are sign-up for). There is no need to pay right away; once we know the exact price per Bible we will inform those who have signed-up and how to pay for their order.
There is a sign-up sheet on the back counter if you wish to order a new EHV. There are also 100 pamphlets on the back for more information on this new translation. Although we highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this Bible, you should also be aware that the Wartburg Project plans on publishing a study Bible in the next couple of years. For more information, please talk to Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.
To learn more about the EHV, click here: https://online.nph.net/ehv?utm_source=pastor-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring-resources-0319
To view an electronic version of the informational pamphlet, click here: https://online.nph.net/media/documents/EHV-Handout.pdf?utm_source=general-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ehv-preorder-0219
To view a sample of the translation, click here: https://online.nph.net/media/SampleFiles/PDF/0105000.pdf?utm_source=pastor-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring-resources-0319