Sunday, April 11, 2021

Cowboy Church #114

 Hello my friends and welcome back for another service of Cowboy Church. 

Today's musical selection begins with The Easter Brothers with Pass Me Not. This hymn was written by Fanny Crosby (Blessed AssuranceNear the Cross, Take the World, But Give Me Jesus). The song first appeared in Christian Associations' Songs of Devotion in 1870.  Hymnologist, William J. Reynolds told the story how this song was written during Fanny's visit to a prison in 1868, “After she had spoken and some of her hymns had been sung, she heard one of the prisoners cry out in a pleading voice, ‘Good Lord, do not pass me by’; Following Doane’s suggestion, she wrote a hymn that evening incorporating the line, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior.” Pass Me Not is said to be her first hymn to reach this level of fame. Now comes Lynn Anderson singing Bridge of Surrender. This comes from her 2015 album, Bridges. Bridges was Lynn's first gospel album and her last album ever. It remains a delightful end to a fantastic career in country music. Now we join Roy Rogers and Dale Evans as they sing Thank You God. This recording comes a 1956 Little Golden Record, where it was pared with Roy and Dale singing Let There Be Peace on Earth. Roy and Dale were joined by The Ranch Hands and Mitch Miller and His Orchestra. This song reminds us that the blessings of God are all around us and how thankful we should be for all the blessings he has given us. Up next is The Purple Hulls with Grandma's Garden from their 2012 album, Close to Home. Now we join The Monroe Brothers for a lively 1937 recording of On That Old Gospel Ship. This is bluegrass gospel at its finest. Now we join Alan Jackson with his recording of Love Lifted Me. This song was written by James Rowe in 1912 and was based on two stories from the book of Matthew. One was asleep in the boat with the apostles during a storm. As the apostles were terrified of the storm, they couldn't understand how Jesus was so calm that he could take a nap. They wake Jesus up from his nap and Jesus simply tells the storm to stop and it does. The other story also involved the apostles, Jesus and the sea. It was about how when his eyes were fixed upon Jesus, he was able to walk on the water, but he lost the ability when his faith faltered and he looked away. Still Jesus was a faithful friend and lifted Peter into a boat. This recording comes from Alan's 2nd gospel album, 2013's Precious Memories Vol. 2. This album and its processor are pure gospel music perfection and show that Alan has an incredible talent for gospel music. If you like gospel music or country these two albums are must haves even for those who aren't normally Alan Jackson fans. Next comes Johnny Cash with In The Sweet Bye and Bye. This song came about because of a friendship between composer, Joseph Webster and poet, Dr. Sanford Fillmore Bennett. One day Webster was depressed and Dr. Bennett recognized this. Dr. Bennett asked his friend what was wrong. Webster replied, "Oh nothing. Everything will be alright by and by." This words brought up an idea in Bennett and he wrote down three verses and a chorus to this song as soon as he could. He handed it to his friend saying, “Here is your prescription, Joe.” Webster loved the lyrics and wrote music for them in practically no time at all. Dr. Bennett later said,  “It was not over thirty minutes from the time I took my pen to write the words before two friends with Webster and myself were singing the hymn.” The hymn was first published in 1868 and went on to great fame since. Today's musical selection ends with The Sons of the Pioneers with their 1948 recording of Rounded Up in Glory. 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:7

 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34

And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:!4

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:3

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Thanks for joining me. Come back next week for another service of Cowboy Church. Happy trails to you until we meet again.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #118

 Hello my friends and happy Saturday Morning. Once again it is time for some classic cartoons. 

Today's cartoon selection begins with Porky's Pooch (1941). Though all the classic Charlie Dog cartoons would be directed by Chuck Jones, this Bob Clampett short clearly sets up the template that all of those later cartoons would follow. In fact the first Charlie Dog cartoon, Little Orphan Airedale (1947), would be a remake of this film. The backgrounds in this film are live action photographs. A year later Bob would use a live action opening for Eatin' on the Cuff or The Moth Who Came to Dinner (1942). The following is an exhibitor's review from Motion Picture Herald, "PORKY'S POOCH: Looney Tunes Cartoons—Right up my alley for my patronage. Running time, 7 minutes. —Vic Stephano, Grove Theatre, Groveton, Tex. Small Town Patronage." A review in The Motion Picture Daily called the film, "Good for a few laughs." The Showman's Trade Review gave advice to movie theater owners on how to advertise this cartoon, "Play it up to all Porky fans and make some new fans to win over some of the dog lovers in your community by staging a pet show, prize contest for best snapshot of a pet or prize contest for a brief essay on 'why my dog is the best in town.'" 

For Disney fans (like myself), one of the delights of the early cartoon shorts is that Walt Disney himself directed them. This brings a real historical interest to these films as it gives a fascinating look into the ideas of the man himself. After Night (1930), Walt would step back from directing Silly Symphonies shorts and serve instead as the series' producer. However he would return to the director's chair for one more short, The Golden Touch (1935). Michael Barrier's book, Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age quotes Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen as saying, "that he [Walt] was kind of getting his hand in directing on this picture and that he was going to continue over into Snow White ... But as it turned out, The Golden Touch was a stinker." While I wouldn't call this film "a stinker," Walt himself did not feel too happy with it. Walt would call it "a tremendous flop" and if he was planning on directing the feature length Snow White this short gave him second thoughts. Walt could be highly critical of other director's work and he could be equally critical of his own. This cartoon also stands out because it only featured two animators, Norm Ferguson and Fred Moore. These two had already more than proven their worth. Ferguson was known as one of Pluto's best animators and Moore was considered one of Mickey's best. For the most part Ferguson animated King Midas and Goldie animated Goldie. However since Midas had more screen time, Moore animated Midas in one sequence. This sequence involved Midas testing out his new ability with utter glee. A review in Motion Picture Reviews stated, "   It lacks humor and is disappointing generally." The following is a review from The Philadelphia Exhibitor, "THE GOLDEN TOUCH. UA-Disney—Silly Symphony. 8m. All of Disney’s cartons are in the top bracket, and even if this one doesn't touch the peak of others, it is still better than most of the better class from other companies. Story of the king whose touch turns everything into gold, king is a bit to comic-strip in type and picture lacks usual Disney whimsical touches." 

Now we join Gandy Goose in Sourpuss in The Exterminator (1945). Most of the Terry-Toons featuring these characters followed the same basic formula with imaginative and day dreaming, Gandy drawing cynic Sourpuss into his own flights of fancy. This one abandons that basic premise and instead puts our heroes into a chase cartoon as they try to get rid of mice. This film ends with a humorous moral from Aesop. This recalls the silent-era Aesop's Fables cartoon that studio head Paul Terry worked on, which would often end with similar morals.

Now we join Popeye the Sailor in a very unusual cartoon, Be Kind to Animals (1935). The reason this film is so odd is that the voice is not provided by Jack Mercer or Billy Costello, but rather Floyd Buckley. Buckley was the voice of Popeye on the sailor's radio show, but this is the only time he voiced the character in a cartoon. The voice does sound quite different from how we today except Popeye's voice to sound, and I can't help but wonder how many people have seen this short in recent years and were taken aback when Popeye speaks. This was noticed at the time of its release as well as evidnced from the following exhibitor's review (from the Motion Picture Herald), "BE KIND TO ANIMALS: Popeye The Sailor— Popeye's bass voice which did so much to popularize him is missing in this, cartoon; having been subplanted by another. Just average and only passable. - John A. Milligan, Broadway Theatre, Schuylerville, N. Y. Small Town Patronage." 

  Next comes one of the most famous, if not the most famous, cartoon short of the silent era. This is of course, Gertie the Dinosaur (1914). This film was directed by Winsor McCay, who was already well known before he made his first animated film due to his newspaper comic strips Little Nemo and  Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. Gertie was not the first animated cartoon (as has so often been claimed) or even McCay's first film but it featured a level of character animation not seen before this point. Gertie never feels like a moving drawing but a real living character. It would take a long time for the rest of American animation to catch up with what had been achieved here. This cartoon still holds up incredibly well today and received the number 6 spot in Jerry Beck's book, The 50 Greatest Cartoons

I have mentioned before on this blog that I am quite a fan of director, Norm McCabe. Some of his best cartoons are those featuring the one and only Daffy Duck. McCabe kept Daffy's crazy and energetic spirit while also adding more to the character's personality. This Daffy was caught up in himself and his own way of viewing the world (much like the later Chuck Jones version), but he was still a good natured and fun loving character who wanted nothing more than a good time. Up next is one of McCabe's shorts with the duck (and a very good one too), Daffy's Southern Exposure (1942). The following is an exhibitor's review from the Motion Picture Herald, "DAFFY'S SOUTHERN EXPOSURE: Cartoon- Good black and white cartoon. Enjoyed by people that saw it.—Conrad H. Tapia, Chief Theatre, Casa Grande, Ariz."

This morning's cartoon selection ends with one of Walt Disney's great silent Alice Comedies, Alice's Wild West Show (1924). This is probably my favorite film in the series. The series combined animation with live action. The early entries in the series (which this is one of) feature extensive use of fully live action scenes with a few cartoon scenes. The cartoon scenes would feature our live action Alice interacting with animated characters (including Walt's first cartoon star, Julis the Cat) in a cartoon environment. Later films would do away with the fully live action scenes and often put Alice in supporting roles. Alice was played by four young actresses over the course of the series; Virginia Davis, Dawn O'Day, Margie Gay and Lois Hardwick. In this short Alice was still played by her first actress Virginia Davis (Leon Holmes and Tommy Hicks also appear in this film). Like The Golden Touch Walt also directed this short as well as serving as an animator (Rollin "Ham" Hamilton also animated on this film). Working in the Ink and Paint department was Walt's future wife, Lillian Bounds. A review in Moving Picture World states, "This makes an interesting reel, with considerable pep, human interest and comedy, which should prove a pleasing novelty with the average patron and appeal especially to children."


Motion Picture World, 1924

Thank you for joining me. Come back next week for more animated treasures. Until then may all your tunes be looney and your melodies merry. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Movie Review: French Exit


Michael's Movie Grade: B+

An excellent dramatic comedy.

The main appeals of this film are the comedy and the stars. A lot of praise has been given to Michelle Pfeiffer's performance and I only have more to give. Her character could have easily been unlikable and unpleasant, but heavily due to her performance we actually love this character. Dynamic is how I would best describe her here. Michelle perfectly commands the camera and the audience's attention every time she is on screen. This performance is at the same time larger than life and yet deeply human. Lucas Hedges gives a more subdued performance yet this works perfectly for his character. Despite the differences in their characters and performances, the chemistry between them is undeniable. You can feel the connection between the two in every scene and there is never a moment when you can't feel the love between them. As stated before the comedy is excellent. There are many laugh out loud moments throughout (everyone in the audience when I saw this were loving every comedic moment). Certain comedy scenes were certainly stay in your mind well often the movie finishes and will probably make you laugh to just think about them. The comedy lights up and makes this darker storyline still a fun time at the movies without ever taking away from the drama itself. The storyline itself may be a little cliché but it works surprisingly well. There is a real heart to this movie under all its dark comedy and as the film goes on we care more and more about these characters and get more involved in the story.

On the downside this movie can feel more than a little padded at times. The whole subplot about the son's romance feels forced, uninteresting and unimportant to the story. Some of the side characters (such as the "witch" and the private investigator) are not that interesting as well. The ending of this film also doesn't work and can feel unsatisfying. 

Despite any faults though this is an excellent film with a lot to recommend it.                

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Movie Review: The Father


Michael's Movie Grade: A-

An extremely good movie, but the subject matter makes it a difficult watch. 

As this movie starts it appears we are going to watch a very straightforward film. However it is not long until we question whether what we just saw was real or not. Our main character has dementia and we are seeing things through his point of view for the majority of the film. Because of this we never know if what we are seeing is real or not. This gives us an incredible connection with this character and what he is going through that it becomes hard to picture the film being done any other way. Of course our connection with the character is only enhanced by that character being played by Anthony Hopkins. With a career full of great performances this one can stand with the best of them. He brings a real fragileness and we can feel his loss of control. While this character is rough around the edges and demanding, we can see behind this the need to hold on to some control of the world around you when you don't have any. This makes even the moments when this character should be unlikable into truly heartbreaking scenes. Oliva Colman certainly holds her own in this film as well. As much as we can put ourselves in Anthony's role, we can see ourselves in hers as well. Her performance perfectly captures the heartbreak and pain as well as the irritation of someone who has a loved one going through this. The film is so emotional effective that it can be hard to even look at a lot of times, but I left the theater incredibly moved by what I just saw and grateful I watched it.

The biggest fault with this film is the few scenes in which our main character is not present. This simply takes us a little out of the movie and goes against what the rest of the film does so well. However these scenes are brief. 

If you want fun escapism go see Godzilla Vs. Kong. However if you want something that will truly move you, this film certainly will.   

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

D.W. Griffith Speaks

 The following is a 1929 article about D.W. Griffith from American Cinematographer. If you have trouble reading any of these pages click on them and use your touch screen to zoom in. If this doesn't work click here.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Laurel and Hardy: Those Funny Boys

 The following is a 1929 article about Laurel and Hardy from American Cinematographer. If you have any trouble reading the following pages click on them and use your touch screen to zoom in. If this still doesn't work click here.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Cowboy Church #113 - Easter Service

 Hello my friends and happy Easter welcome to Cowboy Church's Easter service. 

Today's musical selection begins with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing Easter is a Loving Time. This recording comes from a 1955 Little Golden Record. Roy and Dale are accompanied by the Sandpipers and Mitch Miller and his Orchestra. Next we join another singing cowboy from the movies with Gene Autry's 1954 recording of Easter Morning. Next is Johnny Cash with a song that is perfect for Easter, The Old Rugged Cross. The song itself dates back to 1913 and was written by evangelist, George Bennard. Actually the first verse was written in 1912. It was written while Bennard was a part of a series of revival meetings in Albion, Michigan. He was worried about the complete disregard for the gospel around him and wrote this verse as a repose. Of writing it Bennard said, "I seemed to have a vision ... I saw the Christ and the cross inseparable." The song wouldn't be completed for several months, when he was leading meetings at a local church in Pokagan, Michigan. He played it for Rev. Leroy (the sponsoring pastor) and his wife, Ruby Bostwick, both of whom found themselves moved to tears. It was then incorporated into a service at that church on June 7, 1913. The song has the same effect today as it must have back then. This version of the song comes from John's 1975 album, Johnny Cash Sing Precious Memories. This album (which entirely consists of traditional gospel songs) abandons John's traditional sound for a more lush and orchestrated sound. Much of this was due to arrangements by Bill Walker, who had been the musical director for John's TV show. This album was dedicated to John's late brother Jack, who had died at the age of 15 in a sawmill accident. His death took its toll on John and affected him for the rest of his life. This is written on the back of the album, "Dear Jack, We lost you one sad day in May 1944. I was twelve years old. Some of these songs were the songs we sang at your funeral. As you were dying you gave us a description of heaven and singing angels. Could these be some of the songs the angels were singing? See you later. Your little brother J.R." Next comes John's sister Joanne Cash with I've Got Jesus.  Like Johnny, Joanne had spent much time backsliding from God's word before truly giving her life to him. She had been a drug addict and alcoholic. Pastor Greg Laurie's excellent Johnny Cash biography Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon quotes Joanne as saying "After I asked Jesus to come into my heart, I prayed, and I felt this heat come up my body to the end of my fingertips. I knew I was born again I knew I was saved. I knew I was gonna go to Heaven. I knew I would get to see Jack again (her brother who had died at 15 years old in a saw mill accident). I was just elated ... I then started praying for Johnny." Though she may not be as well known as her big brother, she has spent much time sharing the word of God through her music. This recording comes from her 2008 album simply titled Gospel. She is joined on this song by Bill Nash. Now we join The Chuck Wagon Gang with their 1948 recording of Echoes From the Burning Bush. This is the original Chuck Wagon Gang here which consist of father, D.P. Carter, son,  Jim (Ernest) Carter and daughters, Rose (Lola) Carter Karnes and Anna (Effie) Carter Gordon Davis. Since they share this last name with another country music family, they have often been referred to as "the other Carter Family." This is followed by The Purple Hulls with Carpenter. This song comes from their 2015 album, Why We Sing.  Afterwards is The Charlie Daniels Band with Kneel At the Cross. Apporpaitly this song was written by Charles Moody, who was a fiddle player himself (he is said to have traded his first shotgun for a fiddle). Though Moody's work was hardly confined to gospel music (he was a part of a popular secular band called The Georgia Yellowhammers), he did write many gospel songs (another being, Drifting Too Far From the Shore). This song was written in 1924 and has become a southern gospel standard. This recording comes from The Charlie Daniels Band's 2003 album How Sweet the Sound: 25 Favorite Hymns and Gospel Greats. This album won the Grammy for Best Southern, Country Or Bluegrass Gospel Album. You can tell from this album that CDB are just as passionate about gospel music as they are about southern rock or bluegrass, and this may be the best 21st Century album the band has put out. At Easter, we should always remember what we are truly celebrating. Jesus is alive and overcame the grave. Even more than this by doing so, we have salvation and one day will see heaven. Also since he bore our sin we are allowed to have an undamaged relationship with our loving creator. To celebrate this here are The Gospel Plowboys with Because He Lives. Though this song in many was feels like an old hymn it is actually much more recent than you might think. The song was written by  Gloria and William J. Gaither and won an award for being the Gospel Song of the Year for 1974. In an interview the couple stated how this song came to be, “‘Because he lives’ was written in the midst of social upheaval, threats of war, and betrayals of national and personal trust. It was into this world at such a time that we were bringing our third little baby. Assassinations, drug traffic, and war monopolized the headlines. It was in the midst of this kind of uncertainty that the assurance of the Lordship of the risen Christ blew across our troubled minds like a cooling breeze in the parched desert. Holding our tiny son in our arms we were able to write: How sweet to hold our newborn baby, And feel the pride, and joy he gives; But greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain day because He lives.’” Now we turn to Willie Nelson with the self-penned It's Not For Me to Understand from his 1971 album, Yesterday's Wine. Today's musical selection ends with the Sons of the Pioneers with their 1946 recording of Cowboy Camp Meeting. This song was written by one of the group's founding members, Tim Spencer. 

Now here is an Easter message from Billy Graham.

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.  Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. Matthew 27:1-66

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:1-20

Thank you for joining me come back next week for another service of Cowboy Church. Happy trails to you until we meet again.