This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Read Luke 24:1-12

from Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

Sometimes it seems we need to see things for ourselves in order to believe. Peter demonstrates this nicely for us today. The reality of the Risen Christ, who stands in our midst and in whose peace we abide, is something for us to experience. First-hand testimony of life is a grace, and it can prompt us to look more closely and carefully for the signs of life and life abundant in our own experiences. So on this beautiful morning when the Church brings first-hand testimony of the Resurrection, take this and run to the tombs of your life. Perhaps we will see for ourselves, with our very own eyes, that places of death and entombment are the places in life where Jesus can roll away the stone that suffocates.

The story of this day is of life. Experience this anew. Receive it gladly and believe! Look closely and with your very own eyes for the signs of God’s gracious presence in our midst. He is not dead – he lives! Because he lives – so do we! Run to your life and receive it in all of its beauty and abundance. Believe for yourself!   Christ is risen, he is risen indeed.

For the gift of the Resurrection, and for life abundant, we give thanks and praise!  Alleluia!

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Read Luke 23:50-56

from William B. Allen, Regional Minister Emeritus

Holy Saturday offers us a little time – between the poignant drama of Good Friday and the glorious celebration of Easter – to step back and reflect on the meaning of the momentous events by which we are saved.

On this off day between the monumental days of our faith, Luke offers us a succinct and meaning-packed description of Jesus’ burial that allows us to consider our relationship to the central mysteries that shape our lives.

We have a “good and righteous man named Joseph” who stepped forward to claim the body of the Lord.  This had to be a courageous act as it placed him in opposition to the huge majority of the Sanhedrin (the ruling, religious council) of which he was a member but which had overwhelmingly requested the crucifixion of Jesus.  He also had to go before Pilate and ask for the body.  Might this be an invitation to step forth from the crowd and honor our Lord?

The protocols regarding the honoring of the Sabbath and preparing the body were carefully observed.  Might this be an invitation to perform our spiritual life with decency and order (as opposed to haphazardly and carelessly)?

Jesus’ body was placed in a brand new, rock-hewn tomb.  Might this be an invitation to give our very best to Christ? Just some things to consider on this day of reflection.

Lord Jesus, Give us courage to serve and honor you,

to bring to you our best,

to love you with the tenderness of Joseph of Arimathea. Amen

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Read Luke 23:33-49

from Larry Grimes, Dean of Buffalo Seminary & Director of Church Relations at Bethany College

The Spectacle

If you won’t give them bread, give them circuses!

They’ll flock to the spectacle, no questions asked.

In the first ring, the wailers, the gnashers of teeth.

Women weeping, tears roiling long before the terrible end

—a time when empty wombs are blessed, dry breasts a boon.

And the wails go on.

 

In the center ring, the Ring of the Skull, the cast is assembled and the assembled cast lots, a magical division of a seamless cloth. Jesters joust—they scoff and mock, prodding with words tipped by ignorance and irony. Except for one who is naked too and hanging from his tree, naked skin, naked words, knowing and honest—“This man is innocent,” he says. And the other naked one, speaking truth and grace, says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Words lost in the wailing, lost in the gnashing of teeth, in the ironic mockery. Words soon swallowed in deep darkness as he breathes his last and light goes out, curtains rend, a spirit is commended—a lone centurion holds center ring in the darkness, backlit by his gracious words, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Spectacle over. At a distance, his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, watched these things.

Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Read John 13:1-32

from Kenneth Hardway, Wheeling First Christian Church, and Assoc. Regional Minister for Youth and Young Adults

Jesus loved them fully. Jesus’ actions affirm it. We see it in the washing of the feet, the sharing of a meal, and in his willingness to give of himself fully for their sake and the sake of the world.

Even Judas? As much as I tried to gloss over it, this text is about Jesus foretelling his betrayal. Why Judas? Why!?! Was it greed? Power? Was he manipulated? Did God make him do it? The devil? Or is betrayal the world’s natural reaction to pure love? Please re-read that last one.

If we’re honest with ourselves—and today we should—betrayal is a part of our story as well. As much as we try to gloss over it, we are prone to making excuses for every rejection of God we are about (it began with Adam & Eve!).

Yet, Jesus loved them fully. Even Judas. Even us. We are washed in our baptisms. We are washed in the blood. When we come – sinner, yes, but also as guests invited – and eat the bread given to us by Christ, we know we are loved. Fully.   Remember, this is pure love we’re talking about here!

How great is your love for us and all your world, O God.

As our memories once again embrace Christ’s offering of self,

may our lives reflect such love in new ways of living.

Read Hebrews 12:1-3

from David Chafin, Deputy Regional Minister

Sometimes I get tired – tired of not knowing what’s next, tired of knowing too well what’s next, tired of tedious projects, tired of keeping up appearances, even tired of the race that is my life. Yet the encouraging words of the writer here point me toward that “great cloud of witnesses,” the un-numbered multitudes who have gone before me, and the advice to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of [my] faith…” with his enduring example of perseverance.

But the vision of that throng of our ancestors in faith, the saints now at rest, is offered up to us by the author after having noted at the end of a litany some of their names that “they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” (11:40)

Wow! The weariness I may be complaining of needs to be corrected, not only with an eye toward the persevering Christ who endured it all for us, but also with this image tucked within our hearts: The whole People of God – those saints that we may at best take note of once a year – are incomplete, imperfect, unfinished without me, without you, together joining in the race. In fact, it could well be that “the sin that clings so closely” is simply our focus on our own self-interests, the hurdles we that annoy us in the race.

May our impatience, exhaustion, and exasperation be put into a new perspective – the scene of All Saints who, without our taking our places in the race, are incomplete – and may their faithful examples move us to go on.

O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,

fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,

and win with them the victor’s crown of gold…

Read Matthew 5:1-12

from Chalice Hymnal (#573) by Fannie Estelle Davison (1877)

1 Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

may I devote my life wholly to thee.

Watch thou my wayward feet, guide me with counsel sweet;

purer in heart, help me to be.

 

2 Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

teach me to do thy will most lovingly.

Be thou my friend and guide, let me with thee abide;

purer in heart, help me to be.

 

3 Purer in heart, O God, help me to be;

that I thy holy face one day may see.

Keep me from secret sin, reign thou my soul within;

purer in heart, help me to be.

Read Isaiah 42:1-9

from Wesley Howsare, Moundsville First Christian Church

Our church had just completed a Bible study on the book of Revelation. One thing we noticed was how John used a lot of the Old Testament in that book, and how some of those prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures were uncannily fulfilled during the period of the Roman Empire. In this passage of Isaiah, the first of four “Servant Songs” about the Messiah, God gives Isaiah prophecies that were partially fulfilled during the earthly ministry of Jesus. Such fulfillments of prophecy lead to increased faith and trust in God, that He is in control, and that His hand is in the happenings of our world – both present and future. We can then also view scripture as a compilation of books from different writers, but one Author who gave the writers their inspiration.

When we see the fulfillment of prophecy, we can be assured that the other prophecies in scripture will also come to be fulfilled. God will ensure it! So, we can be assured that Jesus will come again, that He will receive us unto Himself, that there will be a new heaven and new earth, no more pain or sorrow, and that we will forever be with the Lord! Even so, Lord Jesus, come.

Father, we thank you for your Word, and the assurance that what your Word proclaims will come to pass. Amen.