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May 20, 2013––an EF5 tornado ripped through Moore, OK. The magnitude of devastation measured over eight times greater than the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima. As the world watched, one question continued to surface–Where Was God?
This story follows several families and individuals who recount the timeline of destruction and share their experiences of the devastating and miraculous events that changed their lives forever.
“Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.” -Mark 16:8
This is the traditional and original ending of Mark’s gospel. It is a telling thing. After the women went to the tomb and found an angel telling them that Jesus had risen, what was their reaction? Fear, bewilderment, and silence. Not knowing what to do and being confronted with the power of God in Jesus, they fell silent. Many Bible writers over the centuries have said that this is Mark’s asking us—what do you do with this information? What will you do confronted by this unpredictable God in Jesus on the loose? I ask that of us. What do we do with the real meaning of Easter—that God is not dead, God is not far off, God is alive and powerful and calling us. Jesus is not a “safe in the sky isn’t it wonderful” calm presence. He is instead to Mark a force to contend with and a power beyond all we could imagine set loose in our lives and our world. Things are going change!
So how do you handle Easter? Is it a day of baskets and Spring, a day to dress up and go to church? Is Easter a distant story or a reminder of Jesus having victory in the end? Or is it different? Does it demand a response? The Session and Deacons met together on March 12 and we discussed one of the Great Ends of the Church (look it up in your Book of Order under F-1.0304 and if you don’t have one look online on our webpage or call the office), that is one of the purposes of Jesus in making the church—the proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind. How do we at First Presbyterian or wherever God has placed us tell the gospel? A better question might be DO we tell the gospel? Of course to tell it means to know it. And to know it means we have heard it. (Paul says all of that in Romans 10: 9-17) How do you tell the Good News that even though we are sinners, Jesus died for us to free us from sin and to give us new life in Him? How do you tell others that nothing in heaven or on earth can ever separate you from the love of God?
How do you personally handle the story, the reality of Easter? Do you shout it from the hilltops, proclaim it in your daily life by what you do and how you act, by the purity of your words and the compassion you show even to those who are strangers or enemies? Do you proclaim and tell the truth of Jesus whenever you have the opportunity? Do you prayer WITH others, say grace at dinner even in public, act decently and equitably? Do you shout Jesus? Or do act in bewilderment? Do you stay silent so as to not make waves or cause trouble? Do you stand in awe of God and then just shut down? All of us, every age of us, every level of Bible knowledge or practical skills or other gifts—all of us are called to respond.
Hear the angel—“Do not be afraid! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. HE IS RISEN! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples…” (Mark 16: 6-7) Did you hear-- But go and tell! He is Risen!
Empowered through the Holy Spirit, we seek to embrace all people with the loving arms of Jesus Christ; by providing worship, fellowship and encouragement.
Welcome to First Presbyterian Church's website. We pray that you find God's blessings in your life and God's grace on your heart. I invite you to search our pages and find out a little about us and God's call to us here in Lake Park. If you can, join us in worship on Sunday or if that doesn't work, join us in prayer and praise to our Creator God and to our Savior Jesus Christ in your heart.
We are a community that seeks God's call to us, that gathers around the Gospel in prayer and fellowship, that strives together to be fed and hear God's story in Word and Sacrament, and that engages in God's mission of love and ministry in our community and our world.
We hope that you find a little about what we believe, what we do, and who we are in these pages. We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a small part of the Universal Body of Christ called the church. If you are searching for a church family to better hear God's call on your life, we invite you to follow the Spirit's lead and join in fellowship. To God be the glory!
Rev. Tim Harmon, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church, Lake Park