Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus Has Risen
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”



Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:20-30 & Luke 23:44-49

The Last Supper
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


The Death of Jesus
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.


From Death Unto Life

by Chaplain Paul Beliasov

My name is Paul Beliasov and I am a chaplain at a prison in York. The grace of God is quite the thing. We share God’s grace with these inmates, and you wonder if they understand the seriousness of sin and the depth of grace that God is offering. One such inmate who has been here almost a year is Will (not real name). Will is in prison for an ugly crime, and he knows it. Is God’s grace for him? We would say yes, but still. When Will first came in he was despondent and did not want to see a chaplain. A few months later someone (another inmate) had challenged him with the gospel, and he did contact us. I have met with him off and on over the past six months as he tries to restart his life with God. Will still gets depressed and discouraged with himself, and he does not know if he can get true forgiveness from God. Yet, he does know he is forgiven in Him and other days he is confident in God. He wants God in His life and wants victory over himself and the stain of sin. He cries over his sin and then thinks about God. One day last month he handed me a poem he wrote. It is not perfect, but it shows understanding of God’s grace. It also makes me realize that I need to look at my sin just like Will looks at his and then see God’s grace as Will sees it. So, in closing I share Will’s poem with his permission. May we all be humbled by the grace of God in this season.

“From Death unto Life”

I was once asleep and internally dead
Due to the enemy, I had no place to rest my head.
He dangles sin and greed on a line in front of me,
Tries his best to ensnare me in vines of poison ivy.
The Lord allows me to turn away from he who lies.
No, I will not fall victim to Satan’s whims and cries.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
In my Lord I have the strength to endure every test.
By his unfathomable mercy, I have free will to choose my destiny.
In him lies the only true future I can see.
Once overwhelmed by the corruption of sin and hate,
Lord, how I thank you continually that it’s not too late.
Having been blind so long, I’ve taken for granted all you have blessed me with.
Despite my defiance, you gave me your breath as a gift.
Now Lord, because of your Holy Spirit, I now know what is at stake.
As you break, mold, and craft me, my true form will take.
I shall follow you to the end of earth and into the heavens above.
You sent unto me like Noah, that olive branch in the mouth of a white dove.
Day and night fighting for your glory in courage and mirth,
In you alone, Christ Jesus, is my spiritual rebirth.
Your death beautifully wraps me in your warm embrace,
So merciful you are, Lord, to let flow your heavenly grace,
Blessed am I just to have enjoyed but a small taste!
No, my Savior, your covenant of blood shall not be made waste!
Thy name shall be scorched upon my tongue for all eternity!
I ask, Lord, that you thrust your hands into the hole of my heart and turn the key!
Your will is the only will for me. Thank you, Lord, for giving me sight.
The light that is your all-encompassing love shines so bright!!!


Heart Full of Compassion

by Pastor Savenit Polo

Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease in the people. And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them; for they were helpless and scattered like sheep that have no shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “To the truth the harvest is many, but the laborers few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.

If we look at Jesus’ entire ministry on earth, there is no doubt that his earthly ministry focused on caring for people. In fact, his mission was to heal, rescue, save, and preach the good news of salvation. Jesus focused on doing His Father’s will and serving the people.

The biblical text says that the people were like sheep who had no shepherd. Everything indicates that the messiah was born to fill that void, to provide hope where there was none. What a great example for us to care for the people who live around us!

Jesus cared about the people, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. A sheep without a shepherd cannot get to good pastures. Sheep do not have the ability to seek fresh and abundant pastures on their own. Therefore, they must be directed and cared for by someone. Sheep must be directed to the right place in order to feed well.

His example is worthy of imitation. Not only for those in a leadership position, but for every believer. We have a task to do and God is willing to give us the strength to accomplish it. That task is to fulfill our assignment to show love and build the lives of others.

Let’s live the example of Jesus.


To Err is Human

by Mary Reigart

“To err is human, to forgive divine.”
Alexander Pope

I have never been described as divine! But I have been examining what the Word says about forgiveness. If it is a big deal, what happens if I don’t forgive?

My earliest memory around forgiveness is me hitting my sister and my mom insisting I say I was sorry. I wasn’t. Fast forward I still haven’t people who have hurt me.

Who is forgiveness for? Me or the offender? Let’s look at what the Bible says so beautifully:

Remember the Lord’s Prayer? In Matthew 6:12 we asked Jesus for a model prayer and we often ignore it. And we stumble over versions- Forgive us our sins (trespasses) as we forgive the sins (trespasses) of others. Did I really agree to that?

God tells us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you. (John 20:23)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. BUT if you do not forgive others their sins, your father will not forgive your sins. (Matt 6:14-15)

I did once, but how many times? It is not enough to forgive just once. “Seven times seventy” Matt 18:21-22 ( as often as needed ) That’s a lot.

Jesus set the example. From the cross “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) I guess any act can be forgiven. Mine seem pretty petty to Good Friday.

But what if I don’t want to forgive? Forgive those who have injured you-not because they deserve your forgiveness, but because you can never be fully happy until you release your anger and grant forgiveness.

And you don’t even have to tell them.

Forgiveness is an emotional change that occurs within the person who has been wronged. You do not have to forget. Nor do you have to trust.

Look at your life…is there a relationship that needs healing? A person you avoid? I memory that is distant but the feeling is raw?

Let God help you lift a burden. Receiving and giving forgiveness is a way the Lord heals you and brings wholeness to your life.

Is it easy? Not by yourself but with God anything is possible.

Thank you God for the Bible’s word about this daunting, challenging and rewarding act of forgiveness. Help us to follow Christ’s example. We are in awe that you forgive us our sins. Bring to our mind people or circumstances where forgiveness is needed in our lives. We love you Lord.


Love Your Enemies

by Deb Trojak

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

I’m gonna be honest. I have read this scripture quite a bit in my life, and it was only in the past couple of years that it has made sense to me on a personal level. So often I would look at it and think, “What a great concept for people who have enemies.” Thankfully (or maybe naively) the word enemy had never struck a chord with me. There just wasn’t anyone out there who I thought felt that strongly about me.

Then came foster care. And over the past couple of years, I began to realize that enemy didn’t necessarily stand for someone who hated me and was trying to cause me harm. Enemy was someone that I felt very strongly about. Who I felt needed to have justice meted out upon them.

Along came a book (as they so often do in my life). This one is titled Foster the Family by Jamie C. Finn. (I highly recommend it.) The author has been a foster mom for many years and has much wisdom on fostering from a Christian
perspective. As I read the chapter entitled “My Foster Child’s Family Is My Enemy,” so many things I had felt and thought on my foster care journey fell into place.

Jamie writes, “On a good day, I may use a Christianese phrase like “I’m struggling to love them.” On a bad day, I just flat-out say it: “I hate them.” Either way, I need some direction for this fight. How do I think and feel toward someone who has hurt a child I love, someone who has hurt me? When it’s too complicated to pull through the tangled threads of all my
beliefs and emotions and expectations, I flip the script and simplify the struggle. I rename the discussion completely. I don’t have to sort through each piece individually. Instead, I can label my kids’ parents with a simple word, one that you would, most likely, never expect: enemy. See, God doesn’t provide specific direction for the complicated biological-foster parent relationship in His Word…. It’s all just too convoluted; I can’t wrap my head around it.
But I know how to deal with my enemies. God speaks to that, loud and clear. I find “enemy” to be a helpful category because it includes, well, everyone. Whether I’m actually experiencing threats and accusations or “just” struggling through hurts and disappointments, I have the same answer: love, do good, bless, and so on. Even when I reduce my relationship with my kids’ parents down to the lowest common denominator, I still know how God commands me to think about them and treat them.”

This chapter stopped me dead in my tracks. Because when I examined myself, this was truly how I felt about my kids’ birth parents. I viewed them as my enemy. And yet, how am I supposed to treat my enemies? The same way Christ treated His.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I was an enemy of God. I was dead in sin and choosing my own way. And yet, Christ still died for me. He died for all of us – even those who will reject His salvation. As difficult and painful as it can be, I am called to love, do good, pray for, and bless even the people I feel don’t deserve it. As we approach Easter, let us thank God that He chose to save us even though we didn’t deserve it. And let us also choose to show His grace to those around us, whether they are our enemies or not.