The Easter Story

The Easter Story

The Resurrection of Jesus
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’s head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed, for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and she told them that he had said these things to her.

John 20:1-18 (NRSVUE)

Early that morning, before the sunrise,
Mary Magdelene went with tears in her eyes
Down the winding path, all the way to the tomb
With jars of spices and scented perfume

To care for the body of Jesus her friend.
Mary cried for she knew his life had come to an end.
But when she arrived at the tomb that day,
She found that the stone had been rolled away.
She didn’t know who, or how, or when.
Unsure, she ran back to tell her all of her friends.

“The Angel Rolled the Stone Away”

Alive? Could it be? Was it some kind of trick?
She urged Peter and John to come, and come quick!
So they ran all the way to the tomb, where they found
Not their friend, but linens strewn on the ground.
They believed, and they knew what Jesus had said
But out of fear of authorities, they ran off and fled.

“The Strife is O’er”

Sad and alone, Mary stood outside crying.
It was hard enough to watch her friend dying.
But now they had taken his body away,
And she didn’t know what to do or to say.
There were angels and linens, but where was her friend?
This is not how she thought the story would end.

Until suddenly she saw a gardener nearby
And begged him to tell her, and please do not lie!
Where have they taken him? Where did he go?
He replied with a voice she would somehow know.
“Mary,” he said, with warmth and with grace.
And she suddenly saw it was Jesus’ face.

“In the Garden”

Thankful, and happy… she reached out to her friend
But he stopped her and said… “I still have to ascend”
“To my Father and your Father…to my God and yours
But I will be back again… very soon he assured
Now go out and share… what you’ve seen and heard
So all will believe… the good news of God’s word.

“Christ Arose!”

Elated, she ran to tell all of her friends
Of the Good News that truly has no end,
Of resurrection and promise, of hope and new life,
And the amazing news of the end of all strife.
She smiled and laughed on her way into town
Because her heart overflowed from the good news she had found.
She had seen him for real, with her own two eyes,
And couldn’t wait to tell others this wonderful surprise!

“Alive, Alive, Alive Forever More”

Resurrection, new life, and hope that abounds
Was the message that Mary brought back into town
To tell the disciples, though they were not sure
As they told Mary to lock the front door.
“I saw him,” she said, with a voice loud and clear.
“He is risen! And we have nothing to fear!”
For death never wins. God’s love is much stronger.
And hate has no place in the world any longer!
So, friends, let’s rejoice in the JOY Easter gives
For the Good News today is our Jesus, HE LIVES!

“He Lives”

A big thank you to all of our singers today
For helping us hear the story in such a new way.

And just because we’re having such fun,
Let’s reflect on what’s next, now that the story’s begun.

We heard the good news of what Mary did see,
And it changed the whole world for you and for me.

Because the empty tomb means that death did not win.
It means God’s love is stronger, and we’ve a new chance to begin

Each day that we live with hope, promise, and love.
For THAT is the gift we receive from above

To end the world’s judgment, injustice, and hate.
For we do not need THAT on our plate.

While he was on Earth, Jesus showed us the way
To be kind and to serve and to love day by day.

He forgave, and he blessed not only his own
But even those who were far, far from home.

For it does not matter to God where you’ve been
All that matters is that you come home again.

For even as Jesus hung on the cross,
He offered forgiveness to those who were lost,
Asking God to forgive them in God’s own special way
So that Jesus would see them in paradise that day.

Friends, the important thing for us to remember
Is that new life starts NOW; let’s not wait til September
To let go of our need, to control, and to hate,
And stop judging and gossiping before it’s too late.

‘Cuz If we’re truly honest about who we are,
None of us are perfect, not by far.
Yes, God created us to be one-of-a-kind,
To be our unique selves and never to mind
What our neighbors look like or where they’ve been.
We just need to love them because they are our kin.
Folks, we’re all connected in this world of Grace,
And today’s Easter story seals the case

So what do we do with the story we heard
About the tomb and the stone and news of God’s good word?
Do we hide it inside so that only we know?
Or do we share it with others, the whole world to show?

For me, the thing that matters the most
Is not what we say when we brag and we boast,
But the way that we live and the things that we do
When no one is looking because that’s when we are true
To who we are deep in our heart.
And that, my friends, is the best place to start.

So let your faith guide you to be who you are
Like the wisemen who followed that bright shining star.
Do not be afraid, just give it your best!
And don’t forget sometimes to take a good rest!

Because our lives are a journey, and those journeys are long,
And it’s not always easy to find a place to belong.

But just keep on trying; you’ll get there, my friend.
And we’ll all find peace and joy in the end.

We just need to remember today’s Easter Story
And the hope and new life that brings forth God’s Glory.
For death NEVER wins. God’s love IS much stronger.
And hate has no place in our world any longer!

Let’s wave our strips high, as “Alleluia!” we shout!
Spreading the good news without any doubt.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us go
Out into the world so others will know
Of the unconditional love that God gives
And the best news of all–that our Jesus lives!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, again.
And May it be so! Can I get an Amen?


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