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Sunday Message for April 9, 2023


Today is Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection. Christ within me is the resurrection and the life. Christ within me is the power that enables me to rise triumphant out of every trial.

(John 20:11-18) 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 hold on to 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."

Ernest Wilson tells the story so beautifully: Spring breaks and blows in Palestine. The night of waiting is past, and the dawn is breaking. The dark shadow of Gethsemane has become a Cross on Calvary's hill. In the garden of Joseph, as in that other garden, blossoms bloom and blow; buds are stretching to the morning light; the mousy-gray leaves of the olive trees rustle in the breeze. Upon the thorn tree are glints of red that were not there before.

Before the great gray tomb a heavy stone has rested. Palm branches and flowers are strewn over the tomb and before it. In this garden, too, it is very quiet. Birds are just waking; their twittering seems hushed on the morning air.

There are the occasional deep sighs of men who are restless in their sleep. Poor drowsy soldiers! Like Peter, James, and John in that other garden, they could not watch the night.

Sleep on now... the hour is come! And what an hour! Two white-robed figures come and roll the stone away. A burst of glory, like that of the morning sun itself, is coming from the tomb. It is like the sun, but brighter, shining with a light that never fails; that reaches into all the dark and painful shadows of life, far beyond the garden of Joseph, into other gardens a world away; shining before the eyes of those who even now, like the disciples and soldiers of that long gone time, still slumber. "Arise, let us be going, a voice of infinite compassion seems to say."

It is the morning of the Resurrection.

Mary Magdalene approaches the tomb along with other women, and Peter and John. Never-to-be-forgotten words ring on the morning air. (Matthew 28:5-6) "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised. Come, see the place where he lay."
(Luke 24:5) Why do you look for the living among the dead?
(Matthew 28:7) He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him."

The message of Jesus is always with us.
(John 14:19) "Because I live, you also will live."
(John 8:12) "I am the light of the world."
(Matthew 5:14) "You are the light of the world."
(Matthew 5:16) "let your light shine."
(Matthew 28:20) "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Please go to your programs for the responsive service:

MINISTER: Lord Christ, we pause in adoration before Thy pure presence of being.

CONGREGATION: Lord Christ, we pause in adoration before Thy pure presence of being.

"Glory be to the Father,
   And to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning,
   Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen. Amen."
Let us unite in praying the Lord's Prayer: For Jesus said
"Pray then in this way:

TOGETHER: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And leave us not in temptation but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."

(Isaiah 42:6) "I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you."

I believe in one God almighty - peace, love, joy, and life. Father and Creator of all good.

CONGREGATION: And in Christ, our Lord, through whose power I am saved from mistaken beliefs and unfulfilling experiences.

MINISTER: I believe in myself, in God in me,

CONGREGATION: And in my power through Christ to behold in myself the Son of God, for such I am in Truth.

MINISTER: I believe in all people, in God in them,

CONGREGATION: And in His power to be filled with all good, because God in their midst is All-Good.

MINISTER: I believe in forgiveness,

CONGREGATION: Which takes place when through Christ in me I remit and release mistaken beliefs from my consciousness.

MINISTER: I believe in the resurrection of the body to perfect life and health,

CONGREGATION: Which is achieved when through Christ the body is exalted above mistaken beliefs and limitations of any kind.

MINISTER: I believe in everlasting joy, peace, love, and life.

CONGREGATION: Which are realized when through the knowledge of Truth we behold heaven in our very midst. Amen.

MINISTER: Let's go within, if you wish you may close your eyes, and go to a realization of the reality of the Absolute. Expand your consciousness Christward, bring into your realization - divine Truth. - Go to God. Know that 'thou art God's beloved child, and that in thee He is well pleased.' ........ Now in your mind and in your heart say to God, 'Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' ..... Guide me to dwell continually in the consciousness of Christ so that I realize my unity with You...... Let me see the true light, which guides every person coming into the word - which is, and ever has been within me.

Now, staying in this meditative state - let's go back to the responsive reading:

O Lord God, quicken in us the vision that, looking within the fleshly walls of Thy temple, beholds Thy Spirit there! Light within us the fire of Thy consuming love that burns away the dross of error, and makes of our heart a holy shrine for Thine abiding. Give us to know Thy joy, as with patience and forbearance, with infinite thoughts and words and deeds of love, we reveal Thy Son within.

CONGREGATION & MINISTER: Through the power of the living Christ I am quickened to newness of life.

MINISTER: Perhaps too the thought of some loved one at a distance, or of one who has slipped into the realm of life beyond the physical, may enter your thought. Let us become still and for this loved one affirm the same thoughts together:

CONGREGATION & MINISTER: Through the power of the living Christ, you are quickened to newness of life.

MINISTER: How we find God is less important than that we find Him. We are assured that if with all our heart we truly seek Him, we shall surely find Him. Sometimes we can more fully express our feelings and our desire in a simple act of faith than we can in words. In either case a symbol is employed. In one case we symbolize thought and feeling by the language of speech, in the other by the language of action. So today in flowers we offer our devotion in an active prayer of faith.

Let the wreath of green before you symbolize the infinite life of God. The wreath is circular and endless to remind us that the life of God is without beginning or end. It is green to symbolize the expression of life in the abundance of the natural world.

The life of each of us is a part of the larger life of God. "I am the vine, ye are the branches," said Jesus. It is in us that the life of God comes into manifestation. The closer we live to Him the more beautiful and radiant our own life is, and the more glorious life becomes to us.

I invite you to come forward and place your flower in the wreath. Then take one of the written blessings, which has been lovingly and prayerfully prepared for you. I invite you to keep it and memorize it, and I trust that by the law of attraction you will receive just the blessing that will most help and inspire you in meeting the challenges and opportunities that lie before you.

As you place this flower in the wreath let it be with the thought of consciously placing your life in the infinite life of God, or of recognizing that your life is already safely and lovingly held in His. Perhaps as you do so, the thought of some deeply felt desire of your heart will come to mind. If so, place this too in the encircling life of God.

If you would now come forward row by row starting with the front row and place your flower in the wreath.

(Psalms 30:10-12)
"Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
   O Lord, be my helper!"

"You have turned my mourning into dancing;
   you have taken off my sackcloth
   and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
   O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever."AMEN.

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