• Call to Worship – Rev. Val & Congregation
  • Opening Prayer – Congregation
  • Scripture: Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1, Matthew 28:2-4
  • Hymn: Up from the Grave He Arose (UMH 322)

  • Scripture: Matthew 28:5-6

  • Hymn: Christ Is Risen (UMH 307)
  • Scripture: John 20:11-17, Luke 24:8, John 20:18
  • Hymn: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (UMH 302, V1-3)
  • Scripture: Luke 24:13-35, John 20:19-23
  • Hymn: He Lives (UMH 310)
  • Scripture: John 20:24-31, John 21:15-25
  • Hymn: Blessed Assurance (UMH 369)
  • Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
  • Hymns: Majesty (UMH 176)
    He Is Lord (UMH 177)
  • Scripture: Luke 24:44-48
  • Message: Tomorrow – Rev. Val
  • Hymns: Crown Him With Many Crowns (UMH 327)
    Because He Lives (UMH 364)
  • Closing Prayer – Rev. Val
  • Benediction – Rev. Val



In order to expedite posting the worship services here on our website, we are reducing the transcript to just the scripture readings and the message. The majority of the other content (minus the message) is available through our weekly digital/email bulletin (you can sign up on our Contact Us page).  Union Grove UMC began celebrating Holy Communion weekly as part of our regular worship service on July 17, 2022. You are encouraged to have bread and juice or wine available as you watch the service and to participate in communion just as if you are present with us.



God, open us to hear and receive your scriptures today as you would have us hear them, understand them as you would have us understand them, and to act upon them as you would have us act upon them.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1, Matthew 28:2-4

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

Matthew 28:5-6

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

John 20:11-17, Luke 24:8, John 20:18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Luke 24:13-35, John 20:19-23

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 20:24-31, John 21:15-25

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Luke 24:44-48

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

 The scriptures of God for the People of God.

Thanks be to God.

MESSAGE – Tomorrow

Rev. Val

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer, and may you see fit to use me as a vessel from which you pour out your Divine Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today, we’ve heard the Easter story … the story of Christ’s resurrection … the story that makes us who we are … Easter people that serve the risen Messiah. We’ve raised our voices and made a joyful noise in celebration! But what about tomorrow?

I want to share with you yet another scripture. This one is not in your bulletin, but it speaks to tomorrow, to what we are meant to do tomorrow.

Acts 10:34-43 – Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Today is a day when we are celebrating … making a joyful noise, dancing in our hearts if not in the aisles to celebrate the Lord of the Dance … Today life is good and sweet and such a welcome relief from all the dark, heavy, troubled days we’ve been living through. All the sinfulness we’ve witnessed … and sometimes committed … all the grief and mourning … the frustrations … the disappointments … so it feels good to set it all aside and sing today and to dance … Easter is a dancing kind of day, don’t you think?

A day when we dance a waltz or rumba reminding us that we are loved and capable of loving. Or a square dance that’s all about changing partners and including all, from one to the other and back again, enriched by the whole community as we dance together. I probably should have choreographed today’s service. We could use a little more … or maybe a lot more dancing.

Dancing is a lot like making a joyful noise. God never said we had to sing in tune for it to be joyful. We just need to sing and shout hallelujah and praises and amen with joy in our hearts and God hears that joy as a joyful noise. So I don’t imagine you have to be a prima ballerina or champion ballroom dancer to dance in a way that pleases God.

Peter had two-left feet figuratively speaking … always tripping over his own shortsightedness, stumbling around in his misguided certainties, leading with his sense of self-preservation instead of following the lead of the one he called Christ. No, Peter wasn’t Lord of the Dance; he was a back row chorus line member at best. Yet, here he is, leading, headlining, finding the spotlight and trying to follow the lead of the Spirit, who still has new dance steps for him to learn.

Peter was preaching to that crowd. Actually, he was giving his testimony, giving a witness to what he knew was true and how it had changed him. It was his own story that he was turning into a sermon that day. As we move into our new worship series next week, we’ll learn more about the story that he was telling, about how a vision he had on a rooftop seemed to be about the dietary laws, but actually was about who was worthy of the gospel. Peter knew the how to dance with his own faith. He’d been Jewish all his life. But now his foxtrot thinking didn’t fit the salsa music he was hearing.

“Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.” Except Peter didn’t truly understand … he understood there in that moment, but later he would wrestle this and verbally wrestle with Paul over it. But in that moment he was caught up by the Spirit and it was the Spirit speaking through him.

He was commissioned to preach to the people. He was commissioned by the life and death and Resurrection of his Lord, the living Christ, the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth. He was reclaimed from his doubt and fear. He was gathered up from his denial and disappointment. He was called to preach to the people. What he still had to learn was who the people were.

See, he thought it was his people—the people like him, the people who looked like he did and spoke like he did and danced like he did. But Jesus opened his eyes to the people—all the people, the wonderful panoply of people, the glorious, created collection of people and traditions and languages and dances that there would be no way he could master without throwing out a hip! But he could watch and then learn and laugh and clap his hands as he welcomed them into the family.

And that, friends, is our tomorrow, too. We may not be first-hand witnesses to the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the living Christ, the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, but we are witnesses to the transforming power of the Way he taught us. We are witnesses to the Good News. And we are witnesses to the love and fellowship and community that is created when we not only welcome but embrace the wonderful, glorious, God-created collection of people and traditions and yes, even dances.

Like Peter and the disciples, we are Easter people, loving and serving, living into the Way he taught as much as humanly possible … something we couldn’t do if it weren’t for Easter … something we can do … we can see tomorrow, Because He Lives.

And, like Peter, we too can tell our stories, give our testimony.

It is around kitchen tables swelling with food,

On worn porches,

During easy road trips,

And in the hum of barber shops or hair salons

That we experience the Divine

As we linger long enough to hear, really hear the stories of others.

Your life matters.

Your life matters and your stories matter.

So, testify; tell your story.

Or someone else will.


  • All works cited above.

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