McPhail Baptist Church
Easter Sunday April 12th 2020

"Because He Lives" 
Ernie and Lynda Cox 
(Dedicated to Bob and Betty Eady)

"Christ the Lord is Risen"
Sue Sparks

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
All creation, join to say Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! 

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! 
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! 
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies. Alleluia!


1 Corinthians 15:3-7,12-13, 20-22.  (RSV)

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 


Easter Message: Not Resigned 
Rev. Ernie Cox

Composed by Steve Zink
This Easter I wanted to share a piece from my recent album, The Cloud of Unknowing. This work was recorded in 2019 at First Baptist Church, Ottawa. Alexis Castrogiovanni (cello); Abigail Sánchez (piano); Julian Bertino (engineer)

Death and Glory
Rev. Steve Zink

Last summer our family spent a week in Boston. In our current pandemic world, travel has become impossible. Perhaps for this reason, I have been reminiscing about last year’s summer adventure in Massachusetts quite a bit. It was a wonderful trip, full of activities. The kids had a must-do list, including the children’s museum, exploring beaches, testing the rides at a nearby fair, and always ensuring we returned to the hotel with enough time before bed for an episode of Stranger Things. Lindsay also had a list of activities, including visiting Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House and whale-watching. The kids found Lindsay’s list mostly agreeable, quite compatible with their own. My list, however, produced only sighs and groans. My must-do activities had an unintentionally macabre tone - finding the statue of Edgar Allen Poe, checking out the Salem Witch Museum, making a trek to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to visit the graves of Emerson and Thoreau, and visiting Mount Auburn Cemetery to locate the monument of the preacher, Hosea Ballou (the photo above was from my visit there). This last item was somewhat of a spiritual pilgrimage for me, as Ballou is a figure I have admired for some time. 

Hosea Ballou (1771-1852) was an immensely important figure in 19th century religion in America. A longtime minister in Boston, Ballou became the leading figure in the advance of Christian Universalism, a movement which proclaimed a gospel of love and redemption for all humankind. In his most famous work, A Treatise on Atonement (1805), Ballou put forward an idea that stirred controversy even among other universalists of his day. His critics derisively called this idea, “Death and Glory.” Ballou found no insult in this label. In fact, he happily adopted it for his own. Ballou’s idea was that all people, when the reach they end of their lives, stand at a threshold of an instantaneous sublimation, death followed by an immediate perfected beauty. 

Ballou’s contemporaries had quite different ideas about this subject. However, Ballou was unable to find anything compelling in these alternative proposals. The materialist idea of “Death and Nothingness” didn’t resonate with his sense of truth. His attitude anticipated that of Harry Emerson Fosdick, who said,“If death ends all, then of all wasters God is the worst. He forever produces spirits and throws them away half finished. He creates capacities he never uses, possibilities he never fulfills...He launches ships he does not sail; he blows soap bubbles and watches them burst.” Ballou also had no time for the “orthodox” view of “Death and Misery,” that terrorizing idea where the greater part of the earth wakes from death into endless nightmare. He couldn’t believe that, following the rainbow of life’s goodness and beauty to the end, we somehow arrive at a land of confusion - a draconian realm of endless horrors and imagination-defying tortures, and all by the cold iron fist of a supposed “God of love.” Finally, Ballou couldn’t accept the view of “Death and Delay,” the opinion of many of his colleagues, where the soul must endure breathtakingly long purgatorial eons of preparation and refinement. All of these proposals he rejected. I, for one, agree with Hosea Ballou. I honestly can’t imagine any final future humanity other than “Death and Glory.” 

Jesus was once ridiculed over the theme of life after death by a group of men with small hearts and small imaginations. His response to them was instructive - “You know not the power of God” (Mk 12:24). This is decisive. What kind of power are we dealing with? There are degrees of power in our experience. Envision a solidly built house left to the ravages of time. Though time does ravage, it ravages slowly. As the decades pass, that house slowly falls into disrepair. Decades later it descends into total dilapidation. Still later, it becomes mere ruins. But now envision that same house, once again in its prime. This time the house is exposed to a gas line explosion. What took more than a century to undo now takes less than a second. The speed of transformation is directly related to the intensity of the power that touches it. I don’t think we adequately consider the unimaginable power that bursts galaxies and creates consciousness. But for me it is not just a question of power but also a question of beauty. 

I am convinced that glory begets glory. If beholding partial glimpses of divine beauty even now effects a corresponding metamorphosis (2Cor 3:18), what if we beheld that same beauty in its overwhelming fullness, “face to face” (1Cor 13:12)? Could anything but a sudden transfiguration be believable? Friends, when life reminds you of its own precariousness, lift your thoughts still higher. As the world wrestles with the current pandemic and many think of our fragile mortality, don’t forget what cannot be taken. This is the time of Easter, a time to mediate on the symbols of endurance. Every beautiful thing in life is a promise, a veiled pledge of “Death and Glory”. Death has no sting for we will be changed in an instant, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1Cor 15:52).

"In The Garden" 
Ernie and Lynda Cox

"Christ Arose!"
Sue Sparks

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Saviour, 
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! 

Up from the grave he arose; 
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes; 
He arose a victor from the dark domain, 
And he lives forever, with his saints to reign. 
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Saviour;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord! 

Coping with the Corona Crisis
(Second in a series of responses from our McPhail congregants)

Bueckert Family 

1.) All of us are confined to our homes. How are you spending your time?

Rob and Donna: We are homebodies so we are pretty much carrying on as normal. The boys require very little help to get their school work done, but we try to go for a daily walk or bike ride with them, as well as playing family card games, watching movies and science shows. We recently started watching M.A.S.H. with the boys, which opens up some questions about history. We keep in touch with friends and family via video conferences, email and phone calls, and see the grandparents weekly during socially distanced walks. Rob is immersed in research for a family history project, as well as various electronic projects and helping the boys with any technical issues or experiments. Donna continues to enjoy cooking, networking with school council members and neighbors, taking advantage of the large number of now free online textbooks and listening to science podcasts and TED talks.

Owen: Playing music (alto saxophone, piano) solo and with his brother, computer coding, climbing trees, completing about 2 hours of school work per day.

Logan: Playing music (piano, and just rented baritone saxophone), computer programming in Python, learning new magic tricks (sleight of hand) and card games. Completing about 2 hours of school work per day.

2.) How are you staying connected with others?

Rob and Donna: At the beginning, we had been seeing a lot more of our neighbors than even before, talking at the ends of our driveways, and making sure our more experienced seniors were being taken care of. We even started doing distanced afternoon exercises with several families until someone called Bylaw. Now we see lots of neighborhood families out for walks, but everyone seems afraid to stop and chat.

Owen: Jitsi video conferencing with friends, piano lessons via Zoom.

Logan: email, Google Classrooms and teacher websites to complete school work.

3.)  Some people have stopped following most of the Coronavirus news suffering an 
      overload of information, much of it not encouraging. How are you handling all the   
      Coronavirus news?

Rob: We each have diverse interests and hobbies, so it’s been easy to immerse ourselves in things that already interest us and tune out most of the bombardment of sensational news.

Donna: We have always minimized the amount of news programming that the boys watch, and we usually only consume The National. At the expense of sounding heartless, I look forward to watching the nightly news as a microbiologist...suddenly the whole word is interested in what I have always found fascinating! I try to limit other news about the virus to science journals, or reports from journalists with a demonstrated medical/science background.

4.) Have you found a "silver lining" in the current situation?

Rob: It’s been remarkable to see how the global policies like “shelter-in-place” and reduction in air travel has made such a profound difference to global air pollution in a matter of just a few weeks. This gives us great encouragement that after the pandemic crisis is over and these mandatory policies are lifted, we know that we can make a significant difference to the climate crisis if we all act together. We are making a global climate impact now by force, but what will we do when we have the choice?

Donna: I see many silver linings in this situation:

Silver lining #1:  This time is changing our views on who the real heroes of society are. Not just the health care workers and first responders, but the grocery clerks and personal support workers who risk their health and the health of their families for minimum wage jobs. The Early Childhood Educators who, until recently, shaped young minds (again for minimum wage), the truck drivers and warehouse clerks. The parents at home with special needs children—unpaid, and doing their best to enjoy their children under tough circumstances.

Silver lining #2: This time is forcing us to look at the inequality that has always existed around us, both in Canada and around the world. Educators are striving to address the issue of fair access to technology and the Internet as students pivot towards online learning. We now see how many Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck, how lower paid workers are often those exposed to more risk. We are seeing proof of how (like it or not) we are connected as one world population, and how human health is only as strong as our most vulnerable country. We are witnessing the pitfalls of private/inaccessible health care in the U.S. and in developing countries.

Silver lining #3: This time is forcing us to re-evaluate our views on material wealth, commuting and travel. I hope that after this is over, we will remember the things that really gave us happiness during this time—family, friends and small pleasures. I hope we use this time to reflect on what is important to include, and what we can exclude, when building a more resilient and fulfilling future.

Silver lining #4: This time is giving me the perfect excuse to geek out on science shows with the boys. They are surprisingly patient with Mommy’s repeated refrain of “it’s educational!”

Owen: Not being at school where there are lots of people that I have to wait for. Being able to have a flexible schedule and having free access to textbooks!

Logan: Staying home from school, being able to make my own schedule, not having to wait for others. I can go at my own pace and even complete math sheets while in bed!

5.)  What things do you especially miss?

Rob: Not much. In fact, things are better now that my family is at home with me all day.

Donna: TAKE-OUT, and celebratory dinners with extended family (not necessarily in that order). Hugs from students who attend my Scientists in School workshops.

Owen: Biking with friends, Air Cadets, band and in-person music lessons.

Logan: Playing outside with friends, talking with other people.

"I Walked Today" 
Ernie and Lynda Cox


Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Did you know you can mail in your regular financial contributions to McPhail? Faith communities, along with cultural institutions and many businesses have had to close temporarily. Nevertheless, normal operational expenses continue as usual. In the light of this, do please consider continuing your support of McPhail by mailing your offering to: 249 Bronson Ave, Ottawa, ON. K1R 6H6