A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.






FIRST READING:  Genesis 1:1-2:4a

FIRST RESPONSE:  Psalm 136:1–9, 23–26


SECOND READING:  Exodus 14:10–31

SECOND Response: Exodus 15:1b–13, 17–18


THIRD Reading: Isaiah 55:1–11

THIRD Response: Isaiah 12:2–6

THIRD Prayer

FOURTH Reading: Ezekiel 37:1–14

FOURTH Response: Psalm 143


FIFTH Reading: Daniel 3:1–29

FIFTH Response: Song of the Three 1:35–65




GOSPEL: JOHN 20:1–18

SERMON                                                                                       Pastor Chris Halverson

What is our story?

While all others needed a god who wrestled with the world and subdued it—a god who could create only through destruction and death…

We were found by a God who created with the mere word. A God who stooped down into the mud and made from it Man—who created Earthlings from the Earth and Humans from the Humus.

A God who breathed life into us—a life, a breath, which resides in us still.

God, in this act of creation—gave us a model for rest—that toil isn’t the totality of life, but rest is right too.

God, in this act of creation—gave us a model for companionship—that it is not good to be alone, but is very good to be in relationship.


What is our story?

That the Hebrews cried out, shouting of their need of salvation from slavery.

That God sided with the slave—that God acted in a mighty way, standing between the unbearable oncoming army of the oppressor, and acted with a mighty wave, burying those who would enslave the Hebrews.

God hears His people—God led them from slavery into freedom—from the flesh-pots of Egypt to the land flowing with milk and honey.

What is our story?

That even in despair—even when all the promises of God seem null and void—God will call again.

Calling to everyone who thirsts and hungers.

Calling to those captives in Babylon—those who worked for bread and water not their own—that there is water without wells and manna without money.

Calling them to consider what nourishes, consider what fills them with good things.

Calling them to remember the covenant God made with them—remember God’s promises even there.

Calling them to a freedom so broad that other will look at them and be free themselves.


What is our story?

It is a story of bones knitting together.

The people have experienced such a slaughter it nearly drives Ezekiel mad—so many have died that the prophet is stuck in misery and doom.

And to that Post Traumatic Stress God sends Ezekiel’s soul to a valley piled high with the dead—and they are very dry.

And to this dreadful moment in history Ezekiel prophecies. Prophecies until bone reconnects to bone and sinews weave themselves onto body, flesh fills out the human forms, and breath—that breath from God so long ago, in the beginning—that breath re-enters those people in that dry valley.


What is our story?

That King Nebuchadnezzar insisted upon idolatry.

He believed controlling peoples, nations, and languages meant he controlled their conscience.

He believed the presence of satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, justices, magistrates, provincial officials, and the whole hubbub of hierarchy was more than pretense.

He believed horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and orchestras upon orchestras orchestrated his ability to dictate true worship.

And three vegetable eating Jews defy him.

And when he tried to kill them God showed up—In the very flames God is found.


What is our story?

That God, is found even deeper—in death. In the grave we find God.

In fact, Paul reminds the Roman church that in the waters of Baptism we are brought to that grave, that it has no power over us any more.

We are a people who died along with God’s messiah, and God’s messiah rose from the dead—





We are a people who have found a new life in God.

The pretentious powers of sin and death—as mixed up, self-important, and idolatrous as Nebuchadnezzar—have lost their claim over us—because Christ claims us. So that we are alive before God.


What is our story?

At Jesus’ tomb Mary weeps.

Believing, with the other disciples, that a final insult to their dead Rabbi has been done—his tomb defiled and his body stolen.

Then angels and a Gardner interrupt her.

And then the Gardner calls her name.

Jesus calls her name.

And she proclaims his resurrection from the dead, saying, “I have seen the Lord.”


This is our story

Rest and relationship

Freedom from oppression

Food for those who hunger and water for those who thirst

Breath and wholeness in the dry death of the valley

God with us in the flames

Resurrection and New Life through Christ

Jesus calling us by name.

Us telling our story.


Amen and yes, Alleluia.

LITANY OF THE SAINTS                                                                            red book # 237

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Prayers of Intercession




OFFERTORY ANTHEM                 “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth”               Handel


Lord’s Prayer

Communion Song

COMMUNION hYMNS                   “As the Grains of Wheat”              red book # 465

“Let Us Break Bread Together”          red book # 471   



Sending Song                 “The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done”             red book # 366