Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Notes For Sunday; the First Sunday of Easter

This Sunday our community will celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism AND the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

This week’s readings are: Ezekiel 36:25-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13;  Galatians 3:26-28; John 15:1-8

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010   //     CEB

Following is a dramatic reading of this Sunday’s Scriptures that will be performed by our youth group:

Voice 1: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols (Ezekiel 36:25).

Voice 2: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

Voice 1: And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezekiel 36:27).

Voice 2: Then you will be my people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:28b).

Voice 1: Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12).

Voice 2: When manmade conventions separate and isolate us from God and from each other, God’s love unites us.

Voice 1: For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Voice 2: So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26),

Voice 1: All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27).

Voice 2: Jesus said, “My Father is the gardener, I am the true vine, and you are the branches (John 15:1,5).”

Voice 1: When manmade conventions separate and isolate us from God and from each other, God’s love unites us.

Voice 2: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

Voice 1: Jesus said, “My Father is the gardener, I am the true vine, and you are the branches (John 15;1,5).”

Voice 2: Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4).

Voice 1: This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:8).

Unison: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9). Then you will be my people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:28b).

Following are the notes that I will use to transition to the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion

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By being baptized and by participating in the Sacrament of Baptism we publicly declare, “I believe the way of true life is the way of Jesus. I am committed to being his follower, making him Lord of every aspect of my life, and allowing the Holy Spirit to live in me so that the Living God can live through me.”

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Baptism makes a statement that we want to partner with God in the renewal and restoration of all things.

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{Pictures of Ancient Baptismal Fonts / Talk about the Ancient Baptismal Fonts}

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In the early church, catechumens took a minimum of three years to study Scriptures and to think about Christian doctrines in order to be baptized and to take part in the life of a church.

The word catechumen comes to us from Greek (κατά (kata) – “‘down’” + ἠχή (ēkhē) – “‘sound’”). “Catecheo” – literally means “teaching by the word of mouth” or “passing the oral tradition to the next generation.” Catechumen is a person receiving instruction from a teacher (or catechist) in the principles of the Christian faith on their journey towards baptism. First time that we see this word in the Scriptures is in the book of Galatians 6:6 where Paul writes, “Anyone who “catecheo”/receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.” The Epistle of Galatians was written sometime between 45 and 50 AD.

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In the early church, baptisms traditionally took place on Easter and the Easter service was the first service that catechumens were allowed to participate. During the Easter service, the newly baptized Christians participated in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

I am pretty sure that some of our ancestors, were among those who were baptized on Easter and took the Sacrament of the Holy Communion for the first time on Easter morning a few hundreds years ago.

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The United Methodist Church celebrates two Sacraments – Baptism and the Holy Communion. Sacraments were established by Jesus during the period of time that he ministered and taught in Judea and Galilee. Sacraments are rituals that remind us about the Holy Presence of God in our lives. Sacraments are rituals that help us to encounter the Holy Presence of God around us.

Today is especially a Holy Day in the life of Christ United Methodist Church because we celebrate both sacraments of our faith: the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

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