Observations of Easter

I confess to having many sleepless nights leading up to Easter morn. The “what if” detail questions kept bubbling to the surface. What if this…what if that? Then there were the “will the” questions. Will the set up go smoothly? Will people actually show up willing to sit outside in the sun? Will the visitors find a welcome place to gather? The answers were clearly: Yes! Yes! And Yes! It was a wonderful day to be on the church grounds.
 
Because we are a resurrection people, quarantine didn’t break our church, but it taught us (again) to lose our fear and go up on the roof and out into the streets with our ministry and mission.
 
It taught us…Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!
 
Shalom, Paul

Easter Morning In-Person Worship at The Church of the Palms

Have you reserved your spot for the in-person worship service at 9:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday? The deadline to register is April 1. Click this link or call 623.748.3574 so we can be prepared to welcome you.

This is an outdoor service, so make sure to wear your Easter bonnet! And sunscreen! And, of course, you must wear a mask. Social distancing will be enforced.

Click here for a full list of measures and precautions. And please don’t forget our Easter Blessings Fund in lieu of Easter Lilies this year.

Spring has sprung into the Service Project Craft Group

Our tables in King Hall are now filled with spring and Easter items we’ve made.

  • We have new shopping bags with our church logo on them!
  • We’ve made new cotton towels for your kitchen!
  • Also new are the baby wraps for infants in car seats.
  • The small hearts are always a welcome “I care about you” to give at any time.

And maybe the Easter Bunny will bring a child’s quilt to your little ones. Our creations change weekly as we make things, so check our tables often. If you knit or crochet at home, we need your help: we have requests for 400 hats and 250 soap holders! We’ll provide yarn and patterns.

Service Project Craft Group

Holy Week and Easter at Church of the Palms

ALL are welcome at these events!

April 14: Palm Sunday. Our Sanctuary Choir will share a musical presentation, Reflections on Holy Week.

April 18: Maundy Thursday 5:00 p.m. We’ll host a community service that will include our sister churches: United Church UCC and Sun City Christian.  Communion will be served.

April 19: Good Friday self-directed labyrinth walk* 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Bell choir plays at 12:30.

April 21: Easter. Communion will be available at both services:

    • Early Service at 8:00 a.m. Pastor Jim will be preaching from Luke 24:1-12. Our hope is in the risen Christ. Worship will be on the patio.
    • Regular Worship at 10:00 a.m. The story is familiar. Can you notice anything new in the resurrection story? Pastor Paul recently did. He’;ll reveal it during the sermon. Read John 20:1-18.

*More about the Good Friday labyrinth walk:

The “Labyrinths at the Palms” will host the church’s Good Friday service this year. There will be a self-directed walk on the larger labyrinth from 12:00 – 3:00 pm on Friday, April 19th. The Bell Choir of Church of the Palms will play at 12:30 p.m. The smaller labyrinth will also be available to accommodate those using wheelchairs and walkers.

The walk into the center of the labyrinth will have the 14 Stations of the Cross marked on the path. Each walker will be given a guide that provides a scripture reading and prayer corresponding to each of the stations, following Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Tomb.

Once at the center, walkers will be able to linger in prayer/meditation, and then walk directly off the labyrinth or return to the entrance by the path. There will be chairs available under the tree for journaling or a time of prayer.

Labyrinth volunteers will be available to assist as needed. The guides will be available throughout the afternoon and evening in the literature box near the sidewalk.

Church of the Palms UCC community labyrinths and peace pole

Easter Pop Quiz

Okay, my friends, it is pop quiz time. Here is a set of questions from yesteryear. Enjoy!

Easter I. Q. Test

Instructions:  this is an “open book” test.  Place an “x” on the line if you think the answer is Biblically correct:

1.  The woman/women who went to the tomb was/were:
____a. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
____b. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, & Salome
____c. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna & others
____d. Mary Magdalene

2.  The time of early morning was:
____a. When the sun had risen
____b. While it was still dark

3.  At the tomb was/were:
____a. An angel     ____b. A young man
____c. Two men    ____d. Two angels

4.  The reaction of the woman/women was one of:
____a. Amazement, astonishment
____b. Fear and trembling
____c. Great joy

5.  After leaving the tomb, the woman/women:
____a. Told the disciples    ____b. Said nothing to anyone

6.  The reaction of the disciples at first was that:
____a. They didn’t believe the women; seemed an idle tale
____b. Peter & John went immediately to the tomb

7.  Jesus first appeared to the disciples:
____a. In Galilee, on a mountain
____b. In an upper room in Jerusalem

8.  Jesus seemingly last appeared to the disciples:
____a. On a mountain in Galilee
____b. On a mountain in Bethany (or just outside Bethany)
____c. By the Sea of Tiberias

9.  The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples:
____a. Before Jesus ascended; in the upper room he breathed on them
____b. After Jesus ascended, on the Day of Pentecost

10. We have many details about the crucifixion and death of Jesus.  Which Gospel writer gives the most details about the actual Resurrection of Jesus from the grave?  Which one best describes what happened when Jesus rose from the dead?
____a. Matthew  ____b. Mark   ____c. Luke   ____d. John

The answers are found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, and Acts 1. In questions 1 through 9, all of the choices are correct, and in question 10, none are correct, since none of the Gospels describe the actual Resurrection of Christ;  only what happened afterward.

The first mention of the resurrection comes from the Apostle Paul in his letters which were written decades before the Gospels. He fails to mention an empty tomb. It was the living presence of Christ of which he speaks. And for me that’s what matters most – the living presence of Christ which is alive in you and me, in the church, and throughout the world.

Shalom, Paul