Christ is Risen

That’s the importance of the day. Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead.

A few words on some of the symbolism, The term Easter comes from the old Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, although the only real mention is from the Venerable Bede. The egg being proscribed during Lent was offered in abundance at Easter and is an obvious metaphor for rebirth. There is some evidence for a hare hunt being traditional on Good Friday but, it’s a fairly obvious sign of “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” anyway.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And so we come to the crux of the matter. The triumph over original sin and death itself. For if you believe in the Christ and his message you will have eternal life. This is what set Christianity apart, the doctrine of grace. For if you truly repent of your sins, and attempt to live properly, you will be saved. Not by your works, especially not by your wars and killing on behalf of your faith, valid and just though they may be,  but by your faith and your faith alone. For you serve the King of Kings.

Easter: Past and Present

source-of-power-15-nov-2009-15-638I sit here now, in the dark of an early Nebraska Saturday morn, and look back over the week we call Easter week and think it truly named.

That’s because a week ago, I was watching a friend of mine founder in a situation, not of their making, which was coming very close to stealing their soul. Who or what was involved in that situation is none of our business, but I was deeply concerned, they had not all that long ago come into conflict with their local church, and everything had gone downhill from there. They were indeed showing uncommon valor, and I was mostly reduced to the role of a spectator, not least since I had not the gleam of an idea of the solution either. But I surely resembled the Disciples on that long-ago weekend. As  Rev. Brian Hamer says in his sermon for tomorrow:

On the evening of the first Easter Sunday, the disciples were locked in the upper room for fear of the Jews. They were filled with fear, doubt, and dread over their past, their present, and their future. Yes, the disciples were scared to death. But it was in the midst of their fear and doubt that Jesus came and stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace be with you.” Even in the original language, Jesus’ first word to them is “peace.” See how this word is loaded with rich Gospel! Peace for Peter, who denied the Lord. Peace for Peter, James, and John, who slept in Jesus’ moment of need in the garden. Peace for the ten disciples who fled from the cross. And Jesus gave them the proof of God’s peace by showing them His hands and His side, the marks and proof of the crucifixion. This is the Man who was wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquities. The disciples were filled with joy as the reality of Jesus’ resurrection gradually dawned upon them. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

And so, as I sat here, and worried, and fretted, and tried to find a solution, for my friend, and yes for myself, I mostly missed the glory of Easter, due to my earthly concerns.

And yet God works in miraculous ways, and at the end of Sunday, my friend was extricated from the situation and was able to bring another friend of ours out as well, simply because God gave them, as he did St. Thomas, a view of His grievous wounds, allowing them to see the truth, and then He gave them the courage to take control of the situation. The Epistle for tomorrow in the historic one year Lutheran Lectionary is 1 John 5 4-10.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

And so it has proved, in fact, God has even found my friends a new church, in a new city, a new job, and another person worthy of their love. Truly a new Easter for them. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer reminds us:

O, ALMIGHTY God, who art a strong tower of defence unto thy servants against the face of their enemies; We yield thee praise and thanksgiving for our deliverance from those great and apparent dangers wherewith we were compassed. We acknowledge it thy goodness that we were not delivered over as a prey unto them; beseeching thee still to continue such thy mercies towards us, that all the world may know that thou art our Saviour and mighty Deliverer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

He is Risen

That’s the importance of the day. Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead.

A few words on some of the symbolism, The term Easter comes from the old Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, although the only real mention is from the Venerable Bede. The egg being proscribed during Lent was offered in abundance at Easter and is an obvious metaphor for rebirth. There is some evidence for a hare hunt being traditional on Good Friday but, it’s a fairly obvious sign of “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” anyway.

We have often spoken about Jesus the leader, and his unflinching dedication to the death to his mission. On Easter, this mission is revealed. It finally becomes obvious that His mission (at this time, anyway) is not of the Earth and it’s princelings. It is instead a Kingdom of souls.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And so we come to the crux of the matter. The triumph over original sin and death itself. For if you believe in the Christ and his message you will have eternal life. This is what sets Christianity apart, the doctrine of grace. For if you truly repent of your sins, and attempt to live properly, you will be saved. Not by your works, especially not by your wars and killing on behalf of your faith, valid  and just though they may be,  but by your faith and your faith alone. For you serve the King of Kings.

And as we know, the Christ is still leading the mission to save the souls of all God‘s children. It is up to us to follow the greatest leader in history or not as we choose. We would do well to remember that our God is a fearsome God but, he is also a just God. We shall be judged entirely on our merits as earthly things fall away from us. But our God is also a merciful God. So be of good cheer for the Father never burdens his people with burdens they cannot, with his help, bear.

As we celebrate the first sunrise after the defeat of darkness, Hail the King Triumphant for this is the day of His victory.

 

He is Risen indeed!

And hath appeared unto Simon!

Even Simon, the coward disciple who denied him thrice

“Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!”

to Simon Peter the favoured Apostle, on whom the Church is built

Toward Easter

fig tree

We’ve  had a quick detox dealing with old films and great stars, and we’re ready now, perhaps, to turn to the thing our secular-minded society finds it all too easy to avoid – Easter.

Today, in the UK, the Queen will distribute Maundy Money where the Queen gives a gift of money to pensioners in imitation of Jesus washing to feet of his disciples – whilst it is nice to have your feet washed, the money is more helpful. The ceremony is a reminder that with wealth and position comes responsibility – a very Christian message. We see the same with the Pope washing the feet of the poor – a more direct copy of what Christ did. It’s a shame it seems to provoke some controversy with some Catholics – the gesture of humility is what is important – Jesus said that in his kingdom service was what matters, and those who would be great in it had to serve.

That evening in the upper room, Jesus prepared for what he knew would be an ordeal, and we know in the Garden he prayed that if it were possible, the cup should pass him by; but that was not possible, and he let himself follow the course mapped out for him. Others also followed a course that night. Judas went off and betrayed his master, Peter hung round the High Priest’s house and denied his master; Peter felt shame and persevered; Judas felt shame and hanged himself: there’s a moral there for us.

We can only imagine how it was that night for the followers of Jesus; their world suddenly collapsed. It had been only a few days earlier that their leader had been feted by the people of Jerusalem – and now he was arrested, and they were wanted men and women. We can’t know what they felt, but we do know that by the Saturday night they were in hiding; the events of Good Friday were terrible ones, and their hopes and dreams were all gone. It was the end of all their aspirations. Not one of them knew what Jesus had meant about the Temple being knocked down and restored after three days. They had spent so much time with Jesus and they saw so little.

One of the ways you just know you can trust Scripture is this sort of thing – it is from the NT that we get all these stories which show the Apostles in a pretty poor light, arguing over which of them would be greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, not understanding the parables, boasting they’d stand with him and then running away – you’d have to ask who, if they were making stuff up, would ever put this into their story. No, these guys came to realise, after the Resurrection, everything Jesus had meant, and their honesty compelled them to acknowledge their own shortcomings.

I don’t know about you, but I find that very cheering as I approach Easter. I could spend an awful long time recounting my sins to a priest and still probably not get it all in – so I take it to the Lord, who knows all things, and I tell him he knows what needs to be forgiven and healed. Over the next few days, we can all do that.

Christ is Risen

That’s the importance of the day. Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead.

A few words on some of the symbolism, The term Easter comes from the old Anglo Saxon goddess of spring, although the only real mention is from the Venerable Bede. The egg being proscribed during Lent was offered in abundance at Easter and is an obvious metaphor for rebirth. There is some evidence for a hare hunt being traditional on Good Friday but, it’s a fairly obvious sign of “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” anyway.

We have been talking this week about Jesus the leader, and his unflinching dedication to the death to his mission. On Easter this mission is revealed. It finally becomes obvious that His mission (at this time, anyway) is not of the Earth and it’s princelings. It is instead a Kingdom of souls.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And so we come to the crux of the matter. The triumph over original sin and death itself. For if you believe in the Christ and his message you will have eternal life. This is what set Christianity apart, the doctrine of grace. For if you truly repent of your sins, and attempt to live properly, you will be saved. Not by your works, especially not by your wars and killing on behalf of your faith, valid  and just though they may be,  but by your faith and your faith alone. For you serve the King of Kings.

And as we know, the Christ is still leading the mission to save the souls of all God‘s children. It is up to us to follow the greatest leader in history or not as we choose. We would do well to remember that our God is a fearsome God but, he is also a just God. We shall be judged entirely on our merits as earthly things fall away from us. So be of good cheer for the Father never burdens his people with burdens they cannot, with his help, bear.

As we celebrate the first sunrise after the defeat of darkness, Hail the King Triumphant for this is the day of His victory.

The Peace of the Lord be with you all.

 

[First published on  31 March 2013]

Holy Week Reading List

Jess on the benchThis is nearly a duplicate of the post I have up at All Along the Watchtower, and it’s here for the same reason. it’s here to give you a bit of insight as to the posts that follow for Holy Week

I was thinking about what I would write for Easter this year, and I came to the conclusion that I had little new to say. It’s the most important series of events in Christianity but, still, we’ve been writing and talking about it for around two thousand  years. We’ve explored it pretty thoroughly.

But as I was looking around in the archives here, and All Around the Watchtower, I realized something. Two years ago, both blogs were immensely productive, mostly because of Jessica herself. From Thursday right on to Sunday, she published at least one post on each blog every day.

If you don’t know, this blog and AATW have often worked together with articles and occasionally whole series that jumped back and forth between the two blogs. I think it was good for both, and I miss it.

If any of you haven’t visited, the Watchtower, it is the blog that my dearest friend and Editor here, Jessica founded nearly three years ago. It is one of the most friendly and ecumenical Christian blogs that I have known. It is my second home, and yes, I am a contributor there as well.

So after speaking with Chalcedon, and asking Jess if it was OK, I have decided to share with them, four of Jessica’s posts from our blog. A few of you may remember them but, to most they will be new. They are specific to the day, and they showcase her voice exceptionally well. I think they also showcase her distinct viewpoint which often (for me, anyway) yields a different lesson than what others have written. they will be exactly as she wrote them, with merely a note that they were first published on NEO.

I’ll also note that  here, I am running my companion articles from that week here. I think it remarkable that we were both writing an article for NEO, and Jess was writing one for AATW as well, and often more than one.

This was one of the high points for our blogs, before in Chesterton’s words:

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
`No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.’ 

And those skies grew dark indeed, as the seas rose, and in time we came so very close to losing Jessica for ever and despair was very close for all of us. But in the end, God’s grace sustained us and God restored her to life and perhaps some wondrous day she will return to us. As GKC said:

The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

And so, starting tomorrow, All Along the Watchtower, will again feature posts by its Foundress, and Chatelaine, and my dearest friend,and Editor of NEO, Jessica.

You will note that there is a live RSS feed for the Watchtower in my sidebar, and so you will easily be able find her posts. They are some of her best.

Enjoy!

 

 

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