We gather together to worship, learn about God’s message and serve others.
Sunday worship – 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School – 9:15am
Pastor Dave Seyller
195 W. Center Street
Burlington, IL 60109
a message for today’s experience from Pastor Dave
Welcome Back to Church
On Sunday, September 13th, we will gather for safe Church worship!
please click on and read the following letter
from the Health and Safety committee
An Easter Greeting from Pastor Dave
(Read John 20:1-18)
I’ll never forget that while serving at my first church, I learned a true story about a local woman who had fallen into a deep coma. I don’t remember why. She was hospitalized for weeks and, of course, many thought the worst. However, one day she awoke and had all of her faculties. As you can imagine, everyone was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. I call it a Resurrection story. As she regained her sense of smell, she said “The first thing I smelled was the fragrance of Easter lilies.” Indeed, it happened during Holy Week and there was an Easter lily in her hospital room. It was like a sign of the resurrection. The lilies symbolically trumpet forth “Christ the Lord has risen today. Hallelujah!”
As Christians, Easter is a special day and season. Regardless of how much commercialism and consumerism influence Easter, we are not celebrating a “rite of spring.” We are celebrating God’s victory over sin and death and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who promised that “whoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life.” The church lifts up a special symbol to the world, the empty tomb. “Look! He is not here. He has risen!”
We’re told that when Jesus first appeared to Mary in the garden she did not recognize him; probably because she didn’t believe he was resurrected. Remember? When she saw that the stone had been rolled away, she didn’t even take the time to look inside the tomb. She assumed Jesus’ body had been stolen. She was not thinking resurrection! She thought the man speaking to her was a caretaker, not Jesus. As is often the case, in times of grief our eyes focus on the grave rather than God’s heavenly place. Our loved ones who have died are not left in a grave. They are living with God in his heavenly place. We must never let our tears blind us to this truth.
A pastor tells of officiating at a funeral for people to whom the service was just a formality to endure; they had little or no background in the Christian faith. The pastor wrote: “When the graveside service was over, a young woman looked into the grave and said in a broken voice, ‘Goodbye, father.” It may be the end for those who have no faith or hope. But for the Christian it is never ‘goodbye.’ It’s ‘until we meet again’ or ‘I’ll see you later.’
What then does the Church teach? Very simply: Jesus overcame the grave and those who believe in him will do so as well. The evangelist Charles Templeton wrote: “What a difference the resurrection makes! Look at the scene on Friday and all you see is failure. But look again on Sunday and all is changed.”
Some will say we’re not having Easter this year. Perhaps in activities related to Holy Week and Easter morning it would seem to be true. But we are not the ones who created the resurrection message. “Christ the Lord is risen today” was God’s word before it was ours. Easter happens regardless of the circumstances we are facing.
Pray with a thankful heart and stay well.
The fifth verse of a new hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette goes ………….
♪♪We thank you that on Easter, your church is blessed to be
a scattered, faithful body, that’s doing ministry.
In homes and in the places of help and healing, too,
we live the Easter message by gladly serving you.
I wish you all a very blessed Easter season.
April 2, 2020
Peace and grace to you all in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Well folks, we just learned that “staying in place” will continue until at least the end of April. Almost all churches remain closed because of the possibility of contagion and we are practicing “social distancing” to minimize the possibility of passing on the virus that has disrupted our lives and even taken the lives of many.
“Social distancing” is the new word. Stay at least six feet away from everyone. Most
restaurants and bars are closed, as are movie houses and other commercial businesses. When I learned Disney was closed I wondered if the world was really coming to an end!
We are being more careful about stepping into a crowd. We do not shake hands with
each other. Many are wearing masks and we wash our hands religiously. We’re also learning about selfish hoarders, aren’t we?
Social distancing is important. But here’s what I want you to remember: As much as we
should practice social distancing, we can be sure of one thing: God quite emphatically does not practice social distancing. It is not in God’s nature to be distant from us. The story of salvation – the Incarnation – is all about God entering our lives, not departing from them. Immanuel means God with us! God will not and does not distance himself from us. God has not done this in the past, he is not doing it now, and he will not do it in the future.
There is a theme that runs throughout Scripture. God is near us, not distant from us.
Paul said with authority: Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or family, or nakedness, or peril or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
In the weeks ahead, social distancing will require us to continue to make sacrifices and
find new ways to stay connected. But as Paul reminds us, God will be with us no matter where we are or what we’re experiencing.
“By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, In quiet and in trust your strength lies.”
♪♪“And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own;
“And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”♪♪
“I Come to the Garden Alone”
Stay safe and God bless.
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