Happy Easter

Our Easter Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook, but it is a little tricky.

Easter Sunday Worship Video
Click on picture to view

After you click on the picture above, you may get a screen asking you to join Facebook. Click the small link that reads, “Not Now” or on a small “X” on the upper right of that message to continue.

Click on the triangle icon or photo of the church to play. After the video starts, click on the “outward facing arrows” video icon to make the video larger on desktop screens. You may have to click on the speaker icon in the video to enable sound. Sermon text is shown below.

The Sunday 8 am service on April 19 is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.

Acts 10:34-43     Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Colossians 3:1-4     John 20:1-18

We have beheld the horror of the cross. We are reminded of the necessity of the cross every Sunday. Especially last Sunday, the Sunday of the Passion; and at the Good Friday Tenebrae Service, we were told again the story of the Passion of Christ, His death on the cross. We were confronted with the repulsiveness of the cross, but also with the love and obedience of Christ to willingly go to the cross for our sake! A display of God’s love for us, even to the point of Christ’s emptying His life on the cross for us.

What confronted us with that side of the cross was the price that was paid to redeem us from our sin. It leaves us asking, “Why?” It is sometimes called the ransom or satisfaction theories of the atonement. Christ’s death ransoms us from sin, or His death makes satisfaction for our sins. Either way, it presents us with a terrible spectacle. But, it is only what Luther would call “one side of the cross.” It shows us the penalty of sin, the cost of our redemption, the power of our enemies. But, it is only one side of the story, and some people become enamored with only one side of any story. It can even leave us with the view that through the cross; sin, death and the devil have won. It can leave us grieving, dumbfounded, reeling, like the disciples and Mary Magdalene in the beginning of the Gospel lesson today. And, as such, it can even leave us unreconciled; with God and with one another. But that is not so.

Today, we are presented with the other side of the cross, the cross of glory, the Resurrection, the empty tomb. And the answer to the question, “Why?” is even more surprising than we can have imagined. Why did Christ die on the cross for our sakes? Why would God give up His own Son to such a terrible death? Why was it necessary? The answer to these things, as Mary beholds in the Risen Christ are far more glorious than we could predict. Indeed, the questions are deeper than we have come to believe. Why does Christ die for us? It is because of sin, death and the devil, but for far more reasons. The cross is not their victory. Rather the coup belongs to Christ. For Christ is raised victorious over our great enemies.

I found a quote earlier this week that explains why wonderfully. I was reading C. S. Lewis (whom some of you have heard of) and he was quoting George MacDonald (whom many of you have not) – both wonderful Christian authors. George MacDonald, “No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it – no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather.”

The cross is Christ’s victory and Satan’s defeat. Christ dies not just to pay the price for humanity’s sins, but to ultimately destroy sin, death and the devil as well. It is the only way to liberate us from their power AND release them from our hearts and “pockets,” to quote MacDonald. Christ’s victory has taken Satan out, so that we are now free at last. The Resurrection, the victory of Christ shows us the other side of the cross, the most important side of the cross, for it shows us the glory of God as He vindicates His Son before us. Death cannot hold Him. He is risen from the dead, risen from the tomb. And Satan is cast out, “every hair and feather.” We are freed from the devil in our hearts or our pockets. We are raised with Christ, through faith in Him, and our baptism into Christ.

During this global crisis of the Covid 19 virus which we are presently enduring. Through the changes to our lives which we are currently enduring, being required to “Shelter at Home,” and practice social distancing. Things that run contrary to our very nature, for we are social. That is how God made us. In the midst of the fear around us, which for some may well be becoming unbearable. This is the time that we must remember and hold dear to. Our greatest enemies have already been conquered. Christ is risen victorious. This is our hope. This is our faith. We have been saved. There is nothing of this world, nor beyond which we need fear. Praise be to Christ, and God the Father through Him.

To paraphrase Colossians: we have been raised with Christ, we now are claimed by Him, and belong to God, reconciled to God and each other through Christ, and belonging to the things above, that is where we should now set our hearts, for through baptism, we have died with Christ, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life is revealed, then, we also will be revealed with Him in glory. Even as God has glorified Him from death and the grave!! He is indeed risen, and we with Him.
Pastor Rose

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