Easter Service of the Year 2000
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4-23-2000 The Easter Sunday Service of Church Within #187
Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow
Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
Greetings my Beloved Sisters and Brothers, and welcome to the Fourth Annual Easter Service of The Church that is Within.
Today we will Celebrate the Ordination of Two new Ministers of Church Within... Angus and Gerdean Bowen. They have Officially and Satisfactorily Completed the Church Within's requirements for ordination and we Welcome them to our Ministry with Open Arms and Excited Souls! You'll be hearing from them in weeks to come.
What does Easter mean to you? Here's a little history of what it has meant to Me....
(from: The RSV Bible - Matthew 28:6)
He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
(from: The Urantia Papers Paper-189 Section-4)
It was about half past three o'clock when the five women, laden with their ointments, arrived before the empty tomb. As they passed out of the Damascus gate, they encountered a number of soldiers fleeing into the city more or less panic-stricken, and this caused them to pause for a few minutes; but when nothing more developed, they resumed their journey.
They were greatly surprised to see the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as they had said among themselves on the way out, "Who will help us roll away the stone?" They set down their burdens and began to look upon one another in fear and with great amazement. While they stood there, atremble with fear, Mary Magdalene ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulchre. This tomb of Joseph was in his garden on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faced toward the east. By this hour there was just enough of the dawn of a new day to enable Mary to look back to the place where the Master's body had lain and to discern that it was gone. In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.
After Mary had tarried in the doorway of the tomb for a few moments (she did not see distinctly when she first entered the tomb), she saw that Jesus' body was gone and in its place only these grave cloths, and she uttered a cry of alarm and anguish. All the women were exceedingly nervous; they had been on edge ever since meeting the panicky soldiers at the city gate, and when Mary uttered this scream of anguish, they were terror-stricken and fled in great haste. And they did not stop until they had run all the way to the Damascus gate. By this time Joanna was conscience-stricken that they had deserted Mary; she rallied her companions, and they started back for the tomb.
As they drew near the sepulchre, the frightened Magdalene, who was even more terrorized when she failed to find her sisters waiting when she came out of the tomb, now rushed up to them, excitedly exclaiming: "He is not there--they have taken him away!" And she led them back to the tomb, and they all entered and saw that it was empty.
All five of the women then sat down on the stone near the entrance and talked over the situation. It had not yet occurred to them that Jesus had been resurrected. They had been by themselves over the Sabbath, and they conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But when they pondered such a solution of their dilemma, they were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?
As these women sat there in the early hours of the dawn of this new day, they looked to one side and observed a silent and motionless stranger. For a moment they were again frightened, but Mary Magdalene, rushing toward him and addressing him as if she thought he might be the caretaker of the garden, said, "Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him." When the stranger did not answer Mary, she began to weep. Then spoke Jesus to them, saying, "Whom do you seek?" Mary said: "We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph's tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?" Then said Jesus: "Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die, but that he would rise again?" These words startled the women, but the Master was so changed that they did not yet recognize him with his back turned to the dim light. And as they pondered his words, he addressed the Magdalene with a familiar voice, saying, "Mary." And when she heard that word of well-known sympathy and affectionate greeting, she knew it was the voice of the Master, and she rushed to kneel at his feet while she exclaimed, "My Lord, and my Master!" And all of the other women recognized that it was the Master who stood before them in glorified form, and they quickly knelt before him.
(from: Church Within - Easter 1997)
Why are the Resurrection and subsequent appearances to many so important that even 2000 years later, the large portion of Mankind Celebrate them? Is it because He survived Mortal Death? Many would say so. But to me the true significance is that Jesus showed us, that WE can survive mortal death. If we faithfully choose Father's Will to the best of our ability of recognizing it, we need no longer fear for nor doubt our OWN survival of this life in the flesh.
Already we have survived this Life in the flesh, already have we begun our life in "The Kingdom of Heaven" once we choose in our Soul to accept Father's Will over the will of our own limited human Ego... once we stop telling God what we think we need and joyfully accept that which He offers us... Once we have realized that God's Will for us is so much more Grand than we could ever imagine for ourselves.
(from: Church Within - Easter 1998)
What is the Significance of Easter?
If you ask little children, I would bet that the overwhelming 1st response would be The Easter Bunny, eggs and candy. Truthfully, it would have been mine as a little child. Ya know... When I ponder back, I bet Easter is what instilled in me the joy of seeking and finding. Oh I did Love searching for treats that I knew Must be there, hidden somewhere by some invisible being if only I looked in the right places... he never made it impossible to find, just difficult. The seeking and finding was Glorious! Still is. Now that I have grown up, somewhat ;-), I get that same exact feeling when I am actually looking for truth, beauty and goodness. I Know they are there... if only I look in the right places. Hmmm... perhaps that part of Easter does have a touch of significance to it after all too. We have been told: "Seek and you shall find." Why shouldn't it be as fun as it was on Easter?
I think I was 8 or 9 the first time I thought of the Resurrection of Jesus Before I thought of the Easter Bunny and the search for goodies... and I was brought up in a very religious Catholic home. Up to that point, the significance of the Resurrection was more than my young mind could grasp. But all of a sudden I thought about Jesus surviving mortal death. I thought that was more significant. Quite frankly, I didn't think much about redemption of sins at that age, what Really touched me was that He was "out there" somewhere and I could talk to him and he would, if I was sincere, listen to me. I could be in Communion with him because of his Resurrection! Ya know... that's Still the most significant thing about Easter to me.
(from: Church Within - Easter 1999)
Who is your Father? Your Dad? Today, when so many are especially focused on their spiritual beliefs with the celebration of Easter, I hope you will take time to ask yourself that question and find your Very Personal answer... your Own Personal Resurrection.
All faiths, all doctrines genuinely seek to help you know your Father in Heaven. Your Father knows where you are this morning, and He is with you. He Loves You!
"Church Within - Easter 2000"
An interesting thought came into my mind just now. I was sitting here trying to find something Significantly Different to share with you this Easter Sunday---the Last three Easter Services covered everything I had been Thinking about already, I found out---and I was drawing a blank. "Why can't I Find anything Fresh?" I thought. The word "Find" kinda' struck out at me. I used to be pretty good at finding things, or I should say finding "Hidden" things. Misplaced things I Still have trouble with. ;-)
Anyways, "Find" kept going through (and keeps going through), my mind... so I think I'll Go with it and see where it takes us, K?
As a little child (age 1-9):
Easter was about finding my Easter basket that the Easter Bunny had hidden filled with candy and eggs and treats beyond my imagination... and going to church of course. (We'd go to church all week for different services, but this one was the Biggie... the Finale... Easter!)
As an Older little child (age 10-13):
Easter was about finding my Easter basket that Mom and Dad---enjoying their Role as the Easter bunny---had hidden filled with candy and eggs and treats beyond my imagination. I still enjoyed church on Easter Sunday. Mom and Dad were in the church Choir, and other than Christmas, Easter was when they sang their Best and most Soul reaching Music. I paid Lip Service to the "Resurrection" aspect---I already believed it, so kinda' took it for granted.
As a teen:
Easter was about finding ways to be with my friends on that day, and at the same time not hurt my Parent's feelings in the process. Wake up... Go to Church... Easter breakfast and goodies with family an then... "Gotta Go mom. See ya Later!" Resurrection? Oh yeah. I'll think about it later...
First few years away from home:
Zzzzzzz... RING... Zzzzzzz... RRING... Zzzzzzz... RRRING... SNORT... Huh? "Oh, Hi mom. Yeah, Happy Easter to You Too! Uh... yeah... I'll be there... um, What time was that again? Oh yeah... I'm plannin' on goin' to church... I'll find the time." Zzzzzzz... Zzzzzzz... Zzzzzzz...
Easter Eggs and Candy again... Easter Sunrise Service Too... Both families... find Friends later tonight...
Oh BOY! Now I get to be the Easter Bunny!!! Childlike joy Renewed while watching a child find treats... later...
"...and Easter is Really about celebrating Jesus rising up again on the third day after he died."
"Then Why are there Easter Eggs?"
"Well, you've seen little chicks coming out of an egg... I think the eggs are about new life... and Jesus showed us that there is New Life after we die."
"Then Why is there Easter Grass and colored candy?"
"I think they're to celebrate the coming of Spring and all the new growth. New Grass and Flowers and Leaves start coming out from what looked like it had died in the winter."
"Then Why is there an Easter Bunny?"
"Maybe to remind us that there is someone Good and Wonderful that we cannot see with our eyes that puts good things in hard to find places for us to Find."
"Then Why can't we Celebrate and have Easter Every day?"
"That's a good Question."
I'm starting to remember all of the good things you placed along my path that I have already found. Thanks! Correct my Vision that I may be able to Find Every One of them.
You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal
The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
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