The Darkness of Good Friday, then Easter

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on April 02, 2021

Acts 8:1-25 contains an example of the Church’s on-going “Good Friday then Easter” experience.

Stephen had been martyred. It was a dark “Good Friday” kind of day, for God’s Church. Out of the midst of that gloom, the Church experienced an “Easter,” life from the dead. Persecution caused the church to scatter. The gospel was preached where the disciples would not have gone otherwise. The Church grows.

The pandemic has certainly been one of those “Good Friday then Easter” experiences for God’s Church today. Last year at this time, there was great fear as our society shut down and churches were empty. Yet we have experienced an “Easter,” as online ministry flourished in ways we could not have imagined, God’s people have remained generous in support of God’s work, and now God’s people find new joy in gathering in worship.

Often we do not understand God’s plan for our personal lives and for his Church. In the darkness of “Good Friday” experiences, all seems lost. Trust that our God has a plan. Today we remember that our Savior was forsaken for us, so that we shall never be forsaken. An “Easter” will come for us all—perhaps we shall see it in this life when the light of good news scatters the darkness. Certainly we shall see it when our “Easter” comes at Jesus’ return and our tombs are empty too.
 
Our Old Testament Lesson (Deuteronomy 19-21) continues Moses’ application of God’s laws to his people as they are about to enter the promised land. These chapters are filled with what we call “civil law.” Ancient Israel was a theocracy. In our nation, laws regarding justice and punishment and property rights are established by the state legislatures and congress. As ruler not only of his Church, but also the nation of Israel, God established these laws.
 
How do we know if these laws are part of God’s unchanging will for all people or laws only applying to the Israelites? The easiest answer is this: Are they repeated in the New Testament to apply to us? The laws in these chapters are not. But they can be useful for us to understand how God views justice and punishment and property rights as we seek to establish laws for our own country and seek to do God’s will in our personal lives.

Last Year's Worship Experiences

It was in the darkness of the pandemic that the Holy Spirit enabled us to produce worship experiences that we could not have imagined previous to the pandemic. Over this weekend, I pray you have time to experience again the Seven Candles, Seven Words. 

This Weekend's Worship

The bolded services above are those that will likely have the lower attendance to provide more social distancing. 

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