We worshiped on Easter Sunday at the Old Stone United Methodist Church in Rock Falls, Iowa, amongst a community of believers. The altar is shown on the attached picture – it’s a wonderful church home, intimate in size and full of welcoming people. The church cherishes its long history, and recently celebrated its 150th year in existence.
Paul, in Colossians 1:29, tells us that the church is the body of Christ. In Ephesians 1:23, Paul writes, “And God placed all things under his (Jesus) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The church, as Christ’s body, reaches out and includes everyone, welcoming all to hear the word of the Triune God.
We sang the beloved hymn by Charles Wesley, brother of the founder of the Methodist church. The hymn is well-known, entitled “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”. The first stanza follows:
“Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!”
Christ has risen! Hallelujah! Let the ground be shaken! All has changed! “God exalted him in his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel (Acts 5:31).” “Mercy has been the Easter message from the beginning (Brian Peterson).”
We received a wonderful benediction at the Easter service. It told us that, as witnesses to God’s enduring and steadfast love, we are to reach out to all and testify that Christ has been raised, and through this act of love, we are raised with him. We are to set our minds on the things of God and not be afraid, for our life is safe with Christ in God.
How wonderful this message! We are safe – God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, are with us – working within us to change us for the better and to witness to others of God’s glory! Hallelujah!!