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Pastor's Blog - The Tree of Life... from Inside the Tomb

The Tree of Life... from Inside the Tomb

Posted by Pastor Pete Panitzke on

Last night’s "Tree of Life" Good Friday service was incredible! If you weren’t able to be present, you can see the entire service here.

The Tree of Life Painting

The service begins about 15 minutes into the video. I would encourage you watch St. Paul’s member Chris King painting “The Tree of Life.” The picture in this email is from that video. His painting begins about 16 minutes and 30 seconds into the video. The painting will be on display this weekend.

An Amazing Service 

One of our sisters in Christ posted this note on FaceBook: “I just wanted to recognize those people at St. Paul’s who put together the Good Friday service-it was phenomenal. When you hear others crying in the pews, you know the message has been successful in the seriousness and awesomeness of Good Friday-thank you Pastor Bonack, Pastor Panitzke, Chris King and everyone else involved...amazing!!”

Testimony from inside the Tomb

Normally, whoever takes the Christ Candle out, symbolizing Jesus’ burial, is only in the tiny sacristy for a minute or two. In this service that Pastor Bonack designed, I was in that tiny “tomb” for about 10 minutes. It was thought-provoking to sing the final hymn from that place:

Rest, O Christ, from all your labor;
Sleep within your borrowed tomb.
Foes have crucified and bound you
Fast within Death’s narrow room.
Pilate’ guards stand watching, waiting
Where they rolled the sealing stone.
All unseen another watches;
God will not forsake his own.
 
Peace at last from all your anguish,
Wounds in hand and feet and side.
Enemies no longer mock you,
Scourged, abandoned, crucified.
Faithful women gather spices,
Weep for you whom sin has slain.
Though they mourn, the God who guards you
Will not let your death be vain.
 
Help us keep this solemn Sabbath
As we wait for Easter dawn.
Earth’s dark night of sin is passing;
Death’s long reign will soon be gone.
Christ, in whom the new creation
Rises brighter than the sun;
May we, as we watch for morning,
Trust the vict’ry you have won.
 
In that dark, tiny “tomb” with Christ, I thought about that day when I shall be in my own tomb. From the outside of the tomb, all is death. But in that life beyond death, I shall know what is unseen by others. God is watching and will not forsake his own.
 
Outside the tomb is mourning. But inside the tomb I too shall know that all suffering is over and eternal peace is mine. God is standing guard over me.
 
So today, I keep this solemn Sabbath. Today, Jesus lay in the tomb. I too shall lie in the tomb. But I will “watch as for the morning” for the day of Jesus’ return when I will fully experience “the victory You have won.”
 
The Victory Celebration Begins
 
I pray that our Easter services will be a little foretaste of the joy that will be ours when we experience victory over death when Jesus returns.
 
Easter Vigil @ 5 pm
Easter Sunrise @ 6 am
Easter Festival @ 7:45, 9:15 & 10:45 am
Easter at The Bridge @ 10:15 am

The Vigil and Sunrise services are identical. All the Festival services are identical.  

Childcare is available at the 9:15, 10:15 and 10:45 services.
 
If you can’t join us in person, join us online Sunday at 10:15 am.
 
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Waiting for that day with you,

Pastor Pete

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