The Epistle – April 2024

From the Word

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 

                                                                   1 Peter 1:3

 What a journey!  We have been to the manger and the fields where the shepherds first heard the Christmas Gospel.  We have journeyed to His resisting temptation, doing miracles, transfiguration, riding into Jerusalem, arrest, trial, suffering, death on the cross, and resurrection.  Now we stand at the empty tomb with a sense of exhaustion and elation. 

 Having made the journey we contemplate what we have seen as we walk away from the tomb to our everyday life.  How can this enormous vision affect my everyday walk, and how do I access the grace that comes from what Jesus did for me, and all people?  The cross and the tomb are my vision, but what is my reality.  The answer is found in the gifts Jesus gave us.  It begins in the Word, the Law that convicts us of sin, and the Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16-17).  We have the privilege of being renewed and restored in the Word on a daily basis.  We have unprecedented access to Bibles, making it commonplace.  It would be easy for us to take this constant access for granted.  But we must remember what this book is.  It is the very Word of God!  We have placed the font in the center of our sanctuary as a reminder of the wondrous gifts God gave us there.  All the blessings of Jesus’ death and resurrection came to us, by God’s grace, in the water of Baptism.  We have free and frequent access to the Sacrament of the Altar.  It would be easy for us to treat this as some obligation, or regard it as a common ritual.  But the Sacrament is the touch of God’s grace in the body and blood of Jesus, given in, with, and under the bread and wine.  It is a participation in the death of Jesus for our sins.  The miracle of the cross and empty tomb are part of our everyday life in the reception of Word and Sacrament.  Our daily journey is touched by the grace we see in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  It is the joy of that knowledge that we sing . . .

For the joy Thine advent gave me, For Thy holy, precious Word;
For Thy Baptism, which doth save me, for Thy blest communion board;
For Thy death, the bitter scorn, for Thy resurrection morn,
Lord, I thank Thee and extol Thee, and in heav’n I shall behold Thee.  Amen.

                                                                                                ~Pastor Shadday