Welcome to everyone joining us over this Easter weekend! Some of our folk have been praying for you all this week, as we asked the Lord to speak to us in a fresh way.
It is nearly impossible to find adjectives adequate enough to describe the importance of the historical events celebrated this weekend. They literally changed the world! No matter what people think of Jesus almost everyone in the world will be aware that this is our big weekend. For close to two thousand years, Christians have been passing on the most astonishing news - that Jesus is no longer dead but alive! The Apostle Paul put it like this:
1Corinthians 15:3-8 (TNIV) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (5) and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. (6) After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. (7) Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, (8) and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
This was Paul's evidence that Jesus was alive - eye witness accounts. He was in effect saying, "If you don’t believe me, ask some of the others who witnessed what happened". And in our own era, it is our job to be the witnesses. Our own testimony is also that Jesus is alive, and whilst we may not have seen him physically we can point to our own experiences of God at work in our own and other people's lives.
And this Easter we will echo another great tradition of the church - to hold baptisms at Easter. In the early church there was often a long-period of testing, (up to three years!), before finally being admitted into the church by Baptism at Easter.
So we are thrilled to have young Oscar Wilson and his brand new sister, Bailey, baptised amongst us this Easter Day 2015 and we give a special welcome to their family and friends who will join us for the service.
Don’t forget, Alpha starts next Thursday 9th April, 7.30 in the hall at church. If you've never quite thought through what the Christian faith is all about, or you think it might be time for a refresher, please come and join us for a fun evening which includes coffee & dessert, a 30 minute video, and ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss the issues.
God bless, Ian.