Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Senior Pastor Marcus MackayHe said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Mark 16:6-7
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Alleluia! Amen.

The women were alarmed and afraid. Who could blame them? They had witnessed the disturbing events of our Lord’s Passion: betrayal, whipping, scourging, physical exhaustion, dehydration and excruciating capital punishment in the form of Roman crucifixion. Their family member, friend, Master and Lord had experienced all of this and was now stone-cold-buried-in-the-ground dead. But . . .

You have likewise witnessed trauma of varying degrees in your life. Perhaps you are experiencing it now. It leaves an ache, a void, a pain that no words could ever express. And perhaps like the women at the tomb, you hear the precious Good News that Christ is yet alive! But like the women, you are still seized by trembling and astonishment who even after hearing such remarkable hope and joy-filled words . . . said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
I often find that the hardest truth for Christians to accept is that death (physical) and life (spiritual) go together. Pain and pleasure. Sorrow and joy. Sinner and saint. Law and Gospel. Confession and Absolution. Water and the Word. Bread and Body. Wine and Blood.

My mother likes to sing. She would wake us up in the morning with silly songs that she made up on her own. She would sing old radio and TV commercials from her childhood. She would sing hymns and spiritual songs. It was often annoying! But regardless of the current events in a busy and tumultuous household, she found some way to strike a balance. Her faith in Christ was and is her one true joy. And so I now annoy my own children from time to time!

We sinners need balance. We need some way and means of truly dealing and wrapping our head around the events of our life.

Christ is your balance. Silly songs and other such things have their place in our day to day lives, but they are but a result of what and who our faith grasps and hold dear. Ultimately, in the grand scale of death and life, our Savior is the only way to strike a balance and forge a path forward.

Consider Pastor Apostle Paul, who in the introduction of his first letter to the Corinthians says this: we preach Christ crucified. That’s all about death, pain, sorrow and sin!  But yet later in the same letter he says: if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. These are seemingly two completely different things! Death and resurrection. But in Christ, they are one. For you.

“Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

The women at the tomb did not yet grasp this or even possess such a balance. But Jesus keeps His word. He appears to them in Galilee, showing forth His resurrected body and even eating food with them to prove His yet intact divine and human nature. Marvelous!

If this Easter season finds you and your household in a good place, thanks be to God. If this Easter season finds you yet struggling with trembling and astonishment, thanks be to God. For your Lord yet comes to you! This is the heart of our Divine Services, every Sunday morning, where we gather on the weekly day of His resurrection. It is here that He meets us poor sinners. It is here that He brings joy and encouragement. “I forgive you” He speaks to you. “Peace be with you” He says through the mouth of your pastors. Through His Holy Gospel He comes and even stands among you and speaks to you in our Gospel Processional. “Take and eat, take and drink” He says of the bread and wine now also His body and blood . . . for the forgiveness of your sins.

He also continues to go ahead of us, preparing a place in heaven and the resurrection of our very bodies yet to come. So bring your alarm, your fear, your worries and your very sin and gather with others who confess such a simple truth, even in the midst of such a culture that calls such a faith “folly” and nonsense. He who was dead is now alive! And so shall it be for us. For He comes to be with us in Word & Sacrament. There you will see Him, just as He told you. Even still today. For you.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

Pr. Mackay

P.S. Ponder once more the depth of this simple words sung by our women here at Advent as we began our Easter celebration at the early service in the dark. Marvelous.
Christ is Arisen  Christ ist Erstanden (c. 1100)

Christ is arisen from the grave’s dark prison.
So let our joy rise full and free;
Christ our comfort true will be.

Were Christ not arisen, then death were still our prison.
Now, with Him to life restored,
We praise the Father of our Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia!
Now let our joy rise full and free;
Christ our comfort true will be.

Holy Week: How Christians Show & Tell

I am the Way Truth and Life Religious PowerPoint

Holy Week:
How Christians Show & Tell

Dear “Kindergarteners:”


For many years now I have written to the Indianapolis Star’s editors with the plea for them to place a feature on their front page that would tell the story of Christians and their worship of God throughout Holy Week. Whatever mention they make of Palm Sunday or Maundy Thursday or Good Friday (if there is any mention at all) will be buried on a back page. We are fortunate to get an additional picture. When it comes to Easter, what we usually get is a picture of the Pope on his balcony in Rome. Not exactly our home nor how we have chosen to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.


Only Christians can make these sacred days into something special. What is so special? Just that Jesus was and is the Son of God, the Word of God who created the entire universe. Just that this Second Person of the Godhead became flesh and gave his flesh over into death to destroy the power of death. This past Sunday in my sermon I spoke about the privilege of being a citizen in the Kingdom of God, a citizenship given to us in Holy Baptism. It is our privilege to worship God and to eat at His “wedding banquet,” the feast of salvation. And this is not just a feast of earthly things. It is a heavenly feast. It is a feasting upon the immortal flesh of the Son of God. It is a feast that drinks the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This is how we tell the story of Easter and make the Gospel known to the world. We celebrate. We worship. We confess.


So I am exhorting, urging, ever compelling your Christian hearts to tell the world about the true meaning of Holy Week. Maundy Thursday is a Feast of forgiveness. Good Friday is a visual feasting upon the death of Christ. Easter is the heavenly feast. He is risen from the dead! Hallelujah.


So place this story and picture upon the front page of your hearts:

We are celebrating the hope of everlasting life, of divine pardon, of the future restoration of our flesh in a glorified paradise of eternity.

Do you think a newspaper could ever properly and accurately portray such a story? Maybe this is the reason for why the Star never really tried. Christians are the only ones who can truly tell the story. Like they said to us when we were in kindergarten: This week is the time for “Show and Tell.”
In the Name of the Crucified and Risen Lord,
Pastor John Fiene
Feel free to join us at Advent for our “Show and Tell” during our Holy Week services.
  • Maundy Thursday 7 pm
  • Good Friday 7 pm
  • Easter 8 & 10:45 am

Holy Week & Easter Celebrations

Holy Week Services

Holy Week - Easter
Wednesday Evening Lent services will continue at 7pm on March 9th and 16th.
Join us during Holy Week for worship, reflection and celebration.
Maundy Thursday Service is at 7:00 pm on March 24th.
Good Friday Service is at 7:00 pm on March 25th.
Easter Services are at 8:00 and 10:45 am.  Brunch will be served between services at 9:30 am.
Contact Vicar Grady if you would like to help with serving brunch.