13. Sunday after Trinity

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ . (Matthew 25;40)

I invite you to a prayer:

 

God,

Creator and Gardener,

You love and share.

We pray for the victims of flight and floods,

for chaos at borders and at the Kabul airfield.

Give compassion, thinking with, helping with,

where politics and planning and hopes fail.

 

For:

 

Sung: When the bread we share blooms as a rose, and the word we share resounds as a song, God has among us....

 

God,

Thou judge and savior,

You discern and help.

We ask You for people in responsibility.

For all at the schools and day-care centers,

for all those who make and enforce rules.

Give discernment and support,

where rules and bills and decency fail.

 

For:

 

Sung: When the suffering of every poor person shows us Christ, and the need we relieve becomes joy, then God has among us....

 

God,

Mother and Father,

You comfort and carry.

We ask You for people who are sick.

For those who care and heal.

For all in the hospitals and nursing stations.

Give patience and imagination,

Where prescriptions and measures and experience fail.

 

For:

 

Sung: When the hand we hold holds us ourselves, and the garment we give also covers us, then God has among us....

 

God, You Living One,

bread and word and singing we share,

often stammering and chewing and silent.

Bread and word and singing we share,

hope and experience,

short sight and small strength,

and in all this you

eternal home.

 

Amen

From the Weekly Prayer VELKD

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Read Genesis 4:1-17

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

Love, which wills that all should live,
Love, which all to all would give,
Love, that over all prevails,
Love, that never, never fails.

Love immense, and unconfined,
Love to all of humankind.

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

These words culled from  Charles Wesley Hymn „Come Thou Holy God and True“ have been going on and on in my mind throughout this week. It began after, I read this week's  Bible text from Genesis 4.  At the beginning of the text, my  focus was on the evils of Cain: He had just killed his brother. And his answer to God's question about the whereabouts of Abel, was a rude  “Am I my brother's keeper? No sign of regret. Imagine if Cain appeared in a court of law today with that attitude! The media would just tear him up! And there would be no mercy from anybody.

That is why God's question in verse 10 kind of gripped me: What have you done?

God the same question he had asked   Eve after she and Adam disobeyed  God.

“What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

To me, it sounds like there is a lot of pain behind the question. So I started focusing on God''s action in the rest of the story. For me it was revealing.

Before my eyes, I imagine a parent who loves  both Cain and Abel losing both of them; the one through death at the  hands of his brother and the other through the fact that justice must be done. And if this is painful for any parent, how much more painful is that for God!

However, Just as it was with Adam and Eve, Cain had to bear the consequences of his actions.

He would lose his occupation as a farmer and he would become a homeless wanderer.

Cain objects to the severity of his punishment in a lament:

“Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

Did it suddenly dawn on Cain that his crime had separated him from God? That he would be hidden from God's presence? God certainly never told him that. He must have felt vulnerable indeed, since he also feared for his own life.

In spite of the fact that Cain did not shown any regret for slaying his brother,  God put a mark on him as a warning to  anybody who would wants to kill him because he had been cursed by God.

Then I thought for a moment, what has just happened here? It was a bit difficult to wrap this around my head. Cain gets punished and the God  of mercy puts a mark on him to prevent anybody from killing him!

I guess that was when Charles Wesley's song started its repeated play in my head. It was as if I had caught a glimpse of God's heart. He is on Abel's side and also on Cain's side. He is on the side of the wronged person, but he does not seek to destroy the wrong-doer. He puts a mark on him and waits in expectation that he will have a change of heart. That feels really good. It is a message of hope and comfort: In spite of our imperfections he keeps his fatherly eyes on us. And from his actions in this story, I can believe, that he suffers when his creation suffers. That is what love looks to me! Actually: Love immense, and unconfined, Love to all of humankind. Amen.

 

Come, O Lord, my heart renew,
Come, thou holy God and true;
Change my nature into thine,
In me thy whole image shine.

Thou to every sufferer nigh,
Hearest, not in vain, the cry
Of the widow in distress,
Of the poor and shelterless.

Thou dost care for all in need,
to the hungry dealest bread,
to the sick thou giv’st relief,
soothe the hapless prisoner’s grief.

Fill my heart with active love
Emulating thee above,
Love immense, and unconfined,
Love to all of humankind.

Love, which wills that all should live,
Love, which all to all would give,
Love, that over all prevails,
Love, that never, never fails.

Charles Wesley
From Hymns and Sacred Poems (1749), No. 8, “The Beatitudes”
Adapted by Simeon Mitchell
Tune: LAUDS (Singing the Faith 398)

 

 

Benediction

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and for ever more. Amen.

nach oben

8. Sunday after Trinity

Live as children of light; (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) . (Ephesians 5:8b-9)

I invite you to a prayer:

 

Eternal God,

floods of water have hit us,

destroying villages in our country

and in neighbouring countries,

robbing people of their livelihoods,

taking the lives of people, animals, and plants.

Still shaken, we stand there

and bring before you our lament,

our distress and our thoughts of the victims.

 

And we ask you:

Send us your dove of peace, the messenger of hope,

and draw your rainbow in the sky

as a sign of your covenant with all life,

that you will not curse the earth for the sake of mankind,

that you will not cease

Seed and harvest, frost and heat,

summer and winter, day and night.

Floods of water have afflicted us,

in other parts of the world heat storms rage.

 

Before you, we ask ourselves what all this means,

what we have contributed to it, and what we must change.

We know: Everything is permitted to us, but not everything is for the good.

Everything is permitted to us, but nothing shall have power over us.

Give us your spirit, God of life,

give us insight and courage,

accompany us on the hard road ahead.

 

You are our light.

 

Amen

From the Weekly Prayer Alsterbund.de/St-Martinus

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Read 1. Korinthians 6:9-20

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

Walking is one of my favourite past times. I joined a hiking club and travelled to different places on hiking tours. The was only one hitch: the hiking club had a certain distance to cover on every hike. There was hardly any time to see the towns we visited or even stop awhile and enjoy the nature around us.  I realised that travelling to places just to count kilometre after kilometre was not my really my thing after all.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. This statement from Paul speaks to me to some extent. I did not find walking just for the sake of the kilometres beneficial. I missed the nature and the sight seeing and even meaningful interactions with members of my hiking club.

The church in Corinth was facing a challenge. Paul had taught them that as Christians they had been freed by Christ. The People of Corinth themselves also had a living philosophy which said  “I have a right to do anything”. And these two ideas of freedom had somehow come together  causing excesses. Some of the members of the church had become regular clients of prostitutes.

Paul tells them: As you say, “I have the right to do anything,” —but I will not be mastered by anything. And here Paul is not talking just about responsibility in one's sexual life. He is talking about all activities that become an obsession and tend to dominate a person. One can become trapped in something one starts freely, as something one enjoys and then as it becomes an obsession, one gets trapped.

Corinth must have had its share of problems in those days. What does the situation look like in our modern day? Excessive eating? Or a diet taken to the extreme that it is no longer healthy? Alcohol? Drugs? Excessive buying? The preoccupation with the body? For everything seen as not beautiful, an operation to make it perfect? Body building, more and more muscles? Paul is saying, everything carried to the extreme can become an addiction which can dominate a life.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

A Temple is deliberately created. It has meaning and a clear purpose. This is the core message of this passage. The Christian's body is the dwelling place of the holy spirit. It should thus be kept free of entanglements which make the holy spirit grieve in its abode. Just like every temple, says Paul, this is where the Christian has access to the presence of God! This is good news indeed! In many cultures, and also Christian traditions, the body tends to be seen as an 'enemy' which blocks access to God.

So brothers and sisters, the simple things we do, like keeping our bodies clean, ensuring bodily comfort, proper sleeping, relaxing and no unnecessary emotional stress, all contribute to the harmony in the temple.

It keeps the path open for the Holy Spirit to do its work in us.

So what does your temple look like today, dear brother and sister? Is it so fully packed with clatter that we have to dig and dig to find where the Holy Spirit is struggling to find room for himself? Maybe it's time to do some mid-year clean up. Take your time; It has to be deliberate; purposeful and full of joyful anticipation. After all, we are creating a very, very wide space where we can sit, relax and soak-in the presence of God.

May He bless You;
may he crown you efforts with his greater presence in your life.

Amen

If you have a copy of the United Methodist Hymnal, pray, read or sing Hymn 413 (A Charge to Keep I have)

Benediction

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and for ever more. Amen.

nach oben

7. Sunday after Trinity

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.. (Ephesians 2:19)

I invite you to a prayer:

Dear Lord, So many things are happening in our lives, in our neighbourhoods, in our country, in your world. We can be so easily distracted and overwhelmed by the needs and difficulties. Remind us again that you are with us, offering compassion, strength, courage, hope. Help us to place total trust in you as we offer our prayers for healing, comfort, and hope this day. Place your healing hand on our hearts and spirits and encourage us to rise and be strong in hope for the needs of others. Our prayers go especially for victims of the recent floods. We pray for those who have lost loved ones. Comfort them, strengthen them and give them hope. Put people around them to share their burdens.

For those who have become homeless, lost their property, we pray that you put them in places where they will feel at home again. We pray for those who are on the move to help and support those in need. Protect and keep them safe.

Father in heaven, enable us to be partners in ministries of peace and justice in this world of darkness. Bring your light and power to us, for we pray in Christ’s Name.

AMEN.

Read 1 Kings 17:1-16

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

Through it all,

through it all,

I've learned to trust in Jesus,

I've learned to trust in God.

Through it all,

through it all,

I've learned to depend upon God's Word.

 

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

The above is the chorus of the singer Andraé Crouch's song: Through it All.

It is also clear from the song-text that “Learning to trust and depend on God's word did not come easy to the singer. The song talks about trials, tears and sorrows, loneliness and questions about the future.

From our Bible text today, it is obvious that although trusting in God or at least learning to trust him should be the desire of every Christian. However, actually living through situations in which we learn to trust in God is easier said than done.

Elijah was a prophet of God. He had prophesied a drought because King Ahab who had married Jezebel for political reasons he did what was evil in the sight of God.

Jezebel had brought the worship of Baal into Israel, was eliminating the prophets of God and Israel had turned once again into idol worship. Elijah's prophesy of three and half years of drought was a direct challenge to Baal, the storm god, who was considered  the provider of rain.

Elijah has to find safety. God provides for him. First, God sends him to Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan, where there was a brook and ravens sustained him with food. Then the first test of trust comes. The brook dries out due to the lack of rain. Then God sends Elijah to a Phoenician  widow in Zerephath, in Sidon. Of all places into the land where Jezebel comes from. Was Elijah this Elijah's self preservation dictating his obedience to this command or was it his total trust in the one who sent him? So when Elijah meets the widow, he is audacious.  Not only does he ask for water in a situation of drought, he also asks her for some bread.  The widow confesses that she down to her last bit of flour and a spoonful of oil. That would be their last meal after which she and her son would have to die, since they had nothing more. Elijah still pushes her hospitality to the limit by asking her to bake some bread for him first. What did this widow think of this prophet of God of the God of Israel? Would the last bit of flour and oil last as the prophet had promised? Or would he just eat the bread she baked for him and move on to somewhere else where he would be better provided for?

In our text, this woman is unnamed and she was poor. In those days widows were among the poorest people one came across. Furthermore, Israel's God was not her God. She was down to the very last of her resources. And yet she shared the last of what she had. Why? Was she beyond care? Or was she naturally hospitable? Or did she have an inexplicable hope to depend on the word of the God of Israel spoken through his prophet? We do not know her reasons. However the question for us all is: What would you have done if you had been this widow?

Somehow I wish I could listen in on Elijah's conversations with God during this period. The text is rather silent on his emotional state and his reactions. He had uttered God's judgement on Ahab, and he had to flee for his life. And instead of a place where he would comfortably sit out the drought, he finds himself right in the middle of the effects of his own prophesy. He had to move from place to place in search of food and water. Did he have doubts? Was he able to trust God during the periods of thirst and hunger and the long marches to the next food and water source?

This is a passage which reminds us to think over our own journey's of faith. Here we have a prophet of Israel, and a foereign woman,; And God uses both to be a blessing to each other. A statement from God that he did not discriminate against those who open their hearts to Him. Even the ravens, birds, symbolising all of nature were used as a source of blessing.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have all had periods in our lives when we are sent forth by God and we have to trust him again and again to know the next move we have to make. He may not promise us overflowing blessings. He may just give us enough of what we need to keep us going. It can be difficult and sometimes frustrating.  However because we are not alone on this journey, we may have joyful moments where we receive unexpected blessings and we may also become the ones who bless others, the same way Elijah also became a blessing to this woman.

My prayer is that Andraé Crouch's words may come alive for us as we learn to sing with him:

Through it all,

through it all,

I've learned to trust in Jesus,

I've learned to trust in God.

Through it all,

through it all,

I've learned to depend upon God's Word.

I'm sure Elijah learnt it, and all the prophets and saints before and after him. I'm sure the widow of Zerephath also learnt it. May he give us

the strength to journey with him in the knowledge that he will never abandon us.
Amen.

If you have a copy of the United Methodist Hymnal, pray, read or sing Hymn 121 (There is a wideness in God's mercy)

Benediction

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and for ever more. Amen.

nach oben

4. Sunday after Trinity

„Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche

Bezirk Rheinland

Pastorin Abena Gyebi Obeng

I invite you to a prayer:

God,
please come into our proud world,
woo us with Your love.
Show us: power and money are not everything,
only together the world has a chance.
Protect those who live in the blind spot,
bring them into the light and into our sight.
God,
please come to our rich country.
Show us how it is possible to bear each other's burdens.
Awaken people's hearts for the law of love,
for sharing and giving.
God,
come to us in silence.
We pray to You for the discouraged, the powerless, those who are ready for vacation.
Help to recover and find closeness in distance.
Your breath is eternity.
God,
come into our homes and our churches.
We ask You for parishes and families.
Open the rooms, make them inviting,
turn bunkers into tents, strife into laughter.
Help us to be hospitable, again anew.
God,
come into our dark hearts.
Give your light, make light
and untangle what is knotted.
In fear, in anger, in ugly talk -
You live and love the truth that makes us beautiful. Amen
From the Weekly Prayer VELKD
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Read Genesis 50:15-21

Dear brothers and sisters in faith,

Our sermon text today, is right at the end of the Book of Genesis. And this passage on the reconciliation or forgiveness is significant in the sense that it brings to an end the story of God with Abraham and Sarah and their descendants to a, let us say, graceful end. In the next book which is Exodus, we start the story of the people of Israel, the formation of a nation and their walk with with God.

So our bible text is a scene of reconciliation, it is about hurts, forgiveness generosity and it also leaves many, many questions for us. It is the story of Joseph, so let's start at the beginning.

The story of Joseph in modern television terms would be a 'Tele-novella' depicting a family saga with enough drama to keep the afternoon soap opera watchers captivated for months and months. It has all the elements: There is betrayal, there is lying, there is deceit, there is a hero who dreams and and has visions which come true in the end, there is a brother with conflict of conscience in spite of going along with the lies; a broken hearted father who later learns that his son is alive and the son, the hero who in spite of traumatic events rises to a position of power and saves his family from starvation and extinction!

Jacob called Joseph the son of his old age and loved him very much. Joseph was a dreamer and his dreams interpreted meant that his brothers would bow before him.  So his brothers decided to kill him. Then they threw him into a pit. The brothers saw some Midianites/Ishmaelites traders and the changed their plans and sold Joseph to them They took Joseph to Egypt where he suffered a lot and ended up in prison. Through his ability to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams he predicted a famine and the Pharaoh made him a high official in charge of the granaries of Egypt.

His brothers came to Egypt to buy grain during the famine. Joseph made himself known to them. There was forgiveness and the brothers went to Canaan and brought their father and the rest of the family to Joseph in Egypt to avoid famine. Joseph had finally made it after much struggle. He was a powerful man.

Now Jacob was dead and had been buried in Canaan.   Then Joseph's brothers still living in Egypt become afraid. Now that their father was dead, Joseph would take his revenge on them for what they did to him.

So they go to Joseph and from our text, they did not go honestly to Joseph to ask for forgiveness. They tell him their father asked them to tell him to forgive his brothers as servants of the God of his father Jacob. Joseph tells them not to be afraid. He tells them he is not God. And then gives the statement: You intended to harm me, but God intended for good for what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

This is passage is about reconciliation and forgiveness. Joseph's answer, is gracious and generous. However the text raises many questions. Were the brothers asking for forgiveness or were they being simply dishonest in using their father's name, conveying purported instructions from Jacob to force Joseph to pardon them?

We also don't learn whether Joseph forgives his brothers. He acknowledges that his brothers have done him wrong, but does not explicitly say I have forgiven you for selling me into slavery. Yes, God has turned the evil intentions of the brother to something good. He saved lives. Joseph himself had gained political power in the court of Pharaoh. But it seems the relationship between the brothers remain as complicated as it has always been with the added factor that fear of revenge from Joseph. Joseph makes a clear decision to move forward into the future. To be able to move into the future, he has to leave the issue of judgment to God. Secondly, in view of the blessings he had received from God, he recognises that God, is the only one with the might to to change the most treacherous betrayal into something positive. So Joseph instead of expecting an apology which may not come has chosen to see the divine hand in the course of his life.

 

Dear brothers and sisters. I hope what Joseph sees is the divine hand that turns the evil intentions of others into good. That is not to say that  people living in abusive relationships should be encouraged to remain because somebody else told them it was the will of God that they suffer. That would be sad indeed. People living in abusive conditions should certainly be supported and given all the help they need to end the situation of abuse if they want to.

It is obvious from this story that the issue of hurt, forgiveness and healing is as complicated as the relationship between Joseph and his brothers. Joseph had had time during the time his brothers were in Egypt and realised that basically the hatred and the envies would not vanish. Could he have moved on?

Joseph probably realised his brothers would not change.

Sometimes we also have to live with the fact that our people may not change and focus on ourselves instead having expectation on them.

How do you deal with people who deliberately hurt you and never seem to want to stop? Or how deal with those who are unwilling to accept the fact that they have hurt you?

To forgive is not always something you decide one day and then it is done. It is a process and sometimes a rather long one. In this process, we may learn a lot about ourselves. The pain and the disappointment may keep coming back. It can be a tomentous process where one may feel guilty about the inability to get rid of the pain and inability to forget as many are told: “Forgive and forget.”

In a process of hurt one may focus on the other person and wonder that he seems not to suffer under the burden of your hurt. Did Joseph's brothers ever regret selling him off? We do not know. How did Joseph feel seeing his brothers all these years they were in Egypt with him? What decisions did he take and how was he able to look at them day to day as they prospered and lived at his generosity?

Yes brothers and sisters, more likely than not, the people who hurt you may not come to say sorry. They may not vanish from your life and you may continue to see them day in day out or week for week.

One sentence which I read somewhere, and which has made a great impression on me since then says: Whenever you come to the idea that God hates or dislike every human being you hate or dislike, then you should be aware that you have created God in your own image!

When we are hurt, we may wish that the offender may just vanish out of our lives through whatever means. We are frustrated with God as we read in the Psalms which question God about why do evil people continue to prosper. What I am saying is that like the story of Jonah, God may not choose to punish this offender at the time when you feel he should have do it. If he is punished at all, you may not be able to witness it or you may have moved on with your life to the extend that his suffering may even make you sad. In God's image we are all created and God chooses to deal with individuals according to his relationship, grace and mercy.

Joseph chose to move on, to focus on his future. To focus on the mercies God had poured on him. He chose to live his pains, his disappointment in God's hands. Sometime we also as individuals can, but sometimes it can be a long and arduous process.

When Jesus tells us to forgive seventy time seven, I don't think he assumed it would be easy for us. I guess he know God is willing at anytime to support and help us heal in painful situations. I supposed he knew we would some how finally find the way to him when we were stretched to the limit. After all, we Christians sometimes call him the God of last minute.

Another aspect is what happens when we have hurt others and finally accept to apologise and the apology is not accepted.

It is not easy to shrug our shoulders. We still may live in pain. We still may feel rejected and we still maybe unhappy. What would Joseph have done? He probably would focus on  the fact that he had tried to do the right thing. No matter who is wrong in a story, trust is not easy to win. It has to be earned. We do not know if Joseph and his brother ever regained trust between them. What is clear is that the issue of forgiveness has never been easy in our human history. There is suffering between perpetrator and the offended person. It is also clear that there are no magic formulas for dealing with such situations, no matter what counsellors may say, It is however possible to move on, with the help of God. It is possible to move on, not by focussing on the other person and his wrongs, but by focussing on one's self and taking a decision to move forward on an unexplored and insecure terrain. It is possible to move forward despite anger and hurt. It is possible to move forward, even when our shaken faith can only cry out: Hold me Lord, or I fall.

Yes, Joseph said it and may it be true for all of us. God is truly able to change our worse dramas into blessings. And he is there for us, when we need him most. Amen.

Amen

If you have a copy of the United Methodist Hymnal, pray, read or sing Hymn 390 (Forgive Our Sins, as We Forgive)

Benediction

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and for ever more. Amen.

nach oben

Text for the coming week: 
Jesus Christ speaks: I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Amen (Rev. 1:18)

Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche Bezirk Rheinland Pastor Rainer Bath

Invitation to Prayer:

Jesus Christ, you came to your disciples through closed doors.

You said to them: Peace be with you! and they were glad.

We ask you: Speak this good word also to us:

Peace be with you! - so that we too may be glad.

Lord Jesus Chris

Amen.

Read Mark 16:1-8.

Dear sisters and brothers in faith!

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! This is how we begin our Easter services. At least in "normal" times. But what is normal today? On Easter morning, for the second time now, no Easter congregation is rejoicing and singing with us.
Nor does the community of Jesus' disciples burst into jubilation when they hear the Easter message. On the contrary, they flee in horror from the empty tomb, as Mark tells us. Horror, not being able to believe, flight, hiding: These were the reactions to the Easter message that was hard to comprehend.
Have we perhaps shortened the Easter message in recent years more and more to a "everything will be all right" or even "everything is not so bad"? Many an Easter impulse has perhaps focused more on the contemplation of nature than on the Easter event. The blossoming flowers and the sun becoming stronger at the beginning of spring then proclaimed hope, and not so much the risen Christ. There remains then little of the shaking of all that seems to be certain, by the action of God at Easter. Then, indeed, the distress of the pandemic is greater and more powerful than the Easter message. Perhaps very similar to the disciples* who were initially shaken by the death of Jesus and the fear of persecution.
But our Easter songs are much more than whistling in the dark forest. They point to a reality that lies outside the world that can be perceived with our senses. A reality that can be experienced, but not proven. A reality that is more than thought games or wishful thinking. A paschal reality that can unfold power if we get involved with it.
The first verse of the Easter hymn "Wir wollen alle fröhlich sein" (EmK-Gesangbuch No. 239; Evangelisches Gesangbuch No. 100), which is more than 600 years old, points to this: "We all want to be joyful / in this Easter time, / for God has prepared our salvation.'" What have Christians who have sung this song not experienced through the centuries: persecution, war, hunger, epidemics, suffering and death of various kinds. And yet they have sung it again and again on Easter. Also as a protest against the often gloomy reality in which they lived. As a reference to God's reality, which lies behind and above everything we have before our eyes.
This song is a short Easter confession of faith: Jesus Christ rose from death on the cross (stanza 2). Christ has conquered "hell", the threat of eternal destruction (stanza 3). Over the whole earth this good news of salvation through Christ has spread (strophe 4). And this is the very reason why we may rejoice at Easter (stanza 5) - whatever may befall us.
Yes, the situation around us is still frightening: not only Easter and other planned vacations are in danger, but our whole way of living, celebrating, having community, being close to each other. Not only are shopping opportunities very limited, but the economic livelihoods of millions of people are acutely threatened or already shattered. Not only is a short time until the "prick" with the vaccination uncertain, but for months if not years, the danger of an infection, sometimes fatal, could flare up again and again.
But God's reality helps us to classify this fear. Even death, as bad as it is, cannot wipe us out. God is greater, and through Easter he has let us into his realm of power. What can also happen: The connection to God that God has created with this is stronger than anything else. Even if the outward appearance is often different.
This certainty eventually helped the disciples* come out of hiding. They began to speak publicly about Christ. They overcame their fear of soldiers, courts, hostility, persecution. Of course, Easter does not awaken heroism in each and every one of us. We are supposed to protect ourselves from the pandemic. We are also allowed to stay at home worried and afraid. We do not need to suppress or even deny the dangers. But they cannot paralyze us.
Worried or joyful: we face everyday life because we are allowed to live from Easter. Because God's salvation is for us, no disaster paralyzes us. Because God promises life, we do not fall for short-term promises. Because Christ is risen, we follow and trust him.
Amen

Sing or pray - quietly (very) loudly the Easter song:
1. let us all be joyful / in this Easter season, / for our salvation God has prepared'.
Refrain Hallelujah, hallelujah, / hallelujah, hallelujah, / praise be to Christ, Mary's Son.
2) Jesus Christ has risen, / who died on the cross. / to him be praise, honor at all times.
3rd He hath destroyed the infernal place, / brought forth all his own, / and redeemed us from eternal death.
4. the whole earth sings praise to the Son of God, who bought us the paradeis.
5. all Christianity rejoices / and praises the Trinity / from now on until eternity.
T: (After "Resurrexit Dominus" 14th century) Medingen around 1380 (line 1); by Cyriakus Spangenberg 1568 (lines 2-5).
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Let us pray:

Good God, we want everything to be joyful in this Easter time - so we have heard and sung. And now we ask you: put this joy in our hearts and in our mouths. Let us praise you with all our life.

Loving God, you called your Son from death to life. Give your melody of life to all people, especially to those who no longer hope or expect anything from life. Be with the sick, carry the dying and let them see your light.

Gracious God, you know what we humans do to each other. So much evil happens in the world - also through us. We ask you: have mercy on us and on all people who cause suffering to others. Help us to stand up against injustice. Let us raise our voices against violence. Keep us from trampling creation underfoot. Have mercy on us and deliver us from all evil.

(From: Ernst L. Fellechner/Christine Finkbeiner (eds.): Passion/Easter. Nidderau 1999, p. 157.)

Faithful God, hear us when we pray: Our Father who art in heaven ...

May God's blessing guide you:

Arise!

The power of the resurrection

Has brought you to life!

Go forth with that power.

Tell the world,

that Jesus' love liberates and gives life.

Do not be afraid - only believe!

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!

Amen