But praised be the LORD, who hath not given us over
for a prey unto their teeth. Our soul is escaped even as a bird out of the
snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we are delivered.
(Ps. cxxiv. 5,6)
Easter Tide is all about eschewing those things that are contrary to our profession and following all such things as are agreeable to the same. (Collect Easter III) Easter Tide teaches us that we have been admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion. (Idem) So, in this holy season, we undertake the hard labor of dying to our old selves to be formed in the new Resurrected life of Christ. We die to ourselves as we petition God to show [us] that are in error the light of [His] truth. (Idem) In Easter Tide, we pray that the Holy Ghost will not give us over as a prey unto the teeth of Satan and that Christ will give us a way to escape out of the snare of the fowler. (Idem) Satan is the fowler who intends to trap us like birds of prey in his net. But Jesus intends to invite us into His Resurrection, as He leads us from sin to righteousness, from death to life, and from Satan’s temptations to His victory over all that might separate us from our foreordained communion with God the Father forever.
Our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ invites us into a relationship that will ensure our deliverance to the Kingdom He shares with our Heavenly Father. To enter this relationship, with St. Peter, in this morning’s Epistle, we must come to discover ourselves as strangers and pilgrims (I St. Peter ii. 11) in this fallen creation. This means that we must become aliens to this world, to the creation and its spirit-killing sin. St. Peter insists that the starting point is to
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having [our] conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak evil against [us] as evil doers, they may by [our] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (Idem)
We must say no to any inordinate lust that is not of God. Isaiah the Prophet says that for the iniquity of [our] covetousness was God wroth…smote [us in times past]…and hid [Himself](Is. xviii. 17) Our sinful selves had forgotten the secret things that belong to the Lord our God (Deut. xxix. 29). But Jesus reveals to us the hidden things of God so that as born-again Christians, by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we might become strangers and pilgrims to this fallen world.
St. Peter reminds us that we must be cuttingly candid about the hidden spiritual warfare that threatens to envelop us if we forget God. David, the Psalmist, reminds us If the Lord Himself had not been on our side…when men rose up against us. They had swallowed us up alive, when they were so wrathfully displeased at us…The deep waters of the proud had gone even over our souls. (Ps. 1-4) David claims that the troubled sea…[whose] waters cast up dirt and mire, in which is…no peace, always threatens to devour and drown our souls if we forget God’s Hidden Power. When we struggle to be faithful to God we are hindered and even harassed by those who have no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom. iii. 18) We shall be assaulted by a blasphemous and brutish generation, that set their mouths against Heaven, out of [whose mouths] belch forth impieties and impurities, to dishonor God who made them, to grieve the souls of his servants, and to spread the contagion of their ungodliness. (B. Jenks: P.P., p.240) David knows that Satan and his human friends are his enemies. David flees to God’s strength in all humility. Praised be the LORD, who hath not given us over for a prey unto their teeth. Our soul is escaped even as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we are delivered. Our help standeth in the Name of the LORD, who hath made heaven and earth. (Ibid, 5-7) David believed that the hidden, Invisible God alone had the strength and love to deliver him. David believed that God alone could chase away the birds of prey that would [ensnare and] devour God’s Sacrifice in his heart. David trusted that God alone could drive out the unclean beasts that would trample down the plantation of God’s Grace in his soul. (Jenks, 224) David knew that the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Ps. lxvi. 11)Against the clear and visible threats of his earthly enemies, in the meekness of his heart, David humbled himself before God, for that continual proneness which was in him to sin against His Maker and Redeemer, that made him so unlike to God, and so contrary to what His holy laws required him to be. (Jenks)
David was a stranger and pilgrim in this world. He looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises in His Son, Jesus Christ. Christians know that the benefits of Christ’s Resurrection promise to deliver us all from our sin. But for that power to liberate us effectually, we must declare spiritual war on this world and its ship of fools. Fools trust in themselves and their own fallen reason. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. (Prov. xxviii. 26) A fool despiseth wisdom and understanding. (Prov. i. 7) Fools rejoice when they should lament and mourn when they should rejoice. Because they are at home in this world and not strangers and pilgrims in it, they trust only in what they see and perceive. Because they are earthly minded, they say to themselves that surely God doesn’t care about this or that. They are like the fool who hath said in his heart there is no God. (Psalm xiv. 1) They have forgotten that God is everywhere and cares about everything since He is the author of it all!
Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:
if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
even there shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
(Ps. cxxxix. 7-100
David mourns when he forgets the Invisible God and that he is truly a stranger and pilgrim to this world. David’s heirs, the Apostles, who witnessed Christ’s Resurrection, must trust in the promises of God’s Invisible Wisdom, Power, and Love.
We are summoned to be moved by faith from death into the fruitfulness of Christ’s Resurrection. We are being moved into goodness. But the journey does not end here. St. Thomas Aquinas writes:
Now, by His Resurrection Christ entered upon an immortal and incorruptible life. But whereas our dwelling-place is one of generation and corruption, the heavenly place is one of incorruption. And consequently it was not fitting that Christ should remain upon earth after the Resurrection, but it was fitting that He should ascend into Heaven. (Idem)
The Resurrection is all about a transition to from what is good to what is better. (Idem) In the Resurrection, the Apostles and we see the revealed and unhidden glorified state of Man on route home to Heaven. He tells us that the wise Christian will be sad for Jesus’ return to hiddenness. For, by sadness of evil, man is corrected. (Easter III: TA) Christ leaves us in the flesh for us to repent in spirit. Unless we mourn over what our sins have done to God’s Word made flesh, the Resurrected Christ cannot begin to make us better for His Kingdom. Thomas reminds us also that Christ is risen from the dead and become the first fruit of them that slept. (1 Cor. xv. 20) The movement from darkness into light is the first fruits. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. (St. John xvi. 16) Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son of the Hidden but Living God, must return to God. As the Apostles became strangers and pilgrims to this world, with them we must learn to follow Christ back to the Father, invisibly, in Spirit and in Truth. (St. John iv. 24)
Being strangers and pilgrims in this world is just the beginning for St. Peter and his friends. Abide in me, and I in you. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (St. John xv. 4, 5) Christ is preparing to ascend to the Father. If the Hidden Christ begins to be born in the hidden recesses of our believing and hoping souls, He will make us better. We must never be at home or at rest in this world. Our journey is like a woman with child. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. (Ibid, 21, 22) The expectant mother is sorrowful over what is yet hidden, that her newborn babe will be born into the world. If we wisely endure all suffering and sorrow, as strangers and pilgrims in this world, for joy that the hidden Christ is being born in our souls, we shall see Him again in Heaven forever in immortality and with incorruption.
The end that we seek is the consolation of the hidden Divine Presence. Being strangers and pilgrims, we hope for what we see not but with patience wait for it. (Romans viii, 24) What is hidden consoles us. I will see you again, and you will rejoice. (St. John xvi. 22) With St. Peter, if we wisely and joyfully embrace the Hidden Christ who ascends to the Father, we shall be occupied with well doing, [that we] may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and not using [our] liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. (Ibid, 13) Believing in Christ’s Hidden Nature, as strangers and pilgrims, here and now, our weeping and lamenting shall join the hope that our sorrow shall be turned into joy. (Ibid, 20) With well doing, Christ’s hidden victory over all our sin and suffering makes us better.! Then others shall be astonished that the hidden love of the Invisible Godin the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ is carrying us all to Heaven, no longer as strangers and pilgrims, but those who are at rest and made the best for home in His Kingdom.
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
(1 St. Peter ii. 25)
In Eastertide, we are called to become members of Jesus Christ’s Resurrected Body by remembering that we were lost sheep or sheep going astray who have been found. Of course, we have been found by Jesus Christ, the Shepherd and Bishop of [our] souls, because He is the the forgiveness of sins. Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, always longs to find us in our sins and to forgive us. The forgiveness of sins is really meant to divide us from both sin against God, others, and even ourselves. First, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, reveals God to us once again, and we discover that we have erred and strayed from God’s ways like lost sheep. (General Confession, BCP 1662) With regard to the second, we see, outwardly and visibly, how our sins have scattered God’s other sheep away from Him. With regard to the third, we find in the end how we have been lost sheep in need of being found and saved from our sins. In Eastertide we not only rejoice that we have been found by Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd but we find also what it means to live in and through our Resurrected Saviour as the forgiveness of sins takes roots in our souls and rises into love and mercy.
Yet, what is so helpful about the Church’s selection of readings in Easter Tide is that she does not pretend that this new life as the Good Shepherd’s lost and found sheep is no easy business. Of course, for many, this Good Shepherd Sunday will be lost to souls who don’t understand to what lengths the Good Shepherd goes to find, heal, and save us. Most people think that Good Shepherd Sunday ought to be about Jesus the kindly, caring, gentle herdsman and guardian of His flock. Our Prayer Book warns us against any superficial sentimentality regarding the relationship between Christ the Good Shepherd and His sheep.
Today we learn what it means to be lost and found by the Good Shepherd. What the sheep of Christ look like and what the Good Shepherd expects are illustrated in this morning’s First Epistle of St. Peter. St. Peter addresses the newly formed Church in Asia Minor, full of the lost and found. Most of its members are servants or slaves. The general impression Peter gives is that Christian slaves are having a hard time with how the the forgiveness of sins works into their spiritual lives. Not surprisingly, they are trying to remember that they were lost and are now found as they serve Masters who are treating them cruelly and disdainfully. St. Peter is keen to identify with their pain and suffering and encourage them to remember how Christ the Good Shepherd not only finds them but continues to carry them home to His Kingdom.
St. Peter’s counsel seems irrational and unjust. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. (1 St. Peter ii. 18) If he were writing to earthly-minded men, whose justice is inevitably unjust, we should judge his advice to be hard-hearted and cruel cold comfort. But St. Peter is not writing to pagans and so his chief interest in not with social and political justice but with Divine justice overcome by Christ the forgiveness of sins. He writes as a member of the Body of Christ, and so he continues, For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. (1 St. Peter ii. 21) St. Peter insists that the Good Shepherd, God’s own Son, has identified with all of our suffering and pain. Monsignor Knox reminds us, St. Peter remembers, too, how he followed in his Master’s footsteps, when Christ was led away to be crucified. (R.K.: The Epistles and Gospels, p. 125) He is only too conscious of the radical injustice done to God’s Good Shepherd and of his own powerlessness and then fear in the face of it. When he had been sitting by the fire in the cellar of the High Priest’s palace, he was surrounded by slaves, whose suffering was unjust. He too was shackled and enslaved to his own fear, cowardice, and impotence. He responded to evil by retreating into his own sin. Peter was a lost sheep. The slaves who surrounded him were lost sheep without any hope in this world. Peter was afraid of the same evil that bound the slaves. Yet, Peter was a lost sheep enslaved to own unfaithfulness and cowardice. Peter had become a slave to a far more cruel master than any earthly slaveholder. He was enslaved to the fear of imminent death by reason of association with Jesus. And because he was guilty of denying Jesus before the cock had crowed, he feared judgment. He remembered that guile was… found in his mouth, that when reviled, he reviled…again, and that when he suffered the accusation that he was one of Jesus’ friends, he threatened his accusers. (Ibid)
But now in today’s Epistle St. Peter speaks as a lost sheep who was now found by Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who became the forgiveness of sins. The Good Shepherd had forgiven him who once was a lost sheep and slave to sin and was now called into the new liberty of the Resurrection. So, Peter identifies with the slaves and exhorts them to welcome the Good Shepherd, who died as the forgiveness of sins and to forgive their earthly masters. Christ suffered for our sakes…who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (Ibid, 22- 25) St. Peter became a sinful slave to the evil of this world voluntarily. The slaves he addresses are the hapless victims of other men’s wickedness, and yet they too are tempted to allow their earthly slavery to kill the forgiveness of sins. Both Peter and his hearers were slaves, but they are now invited into true spiritual liberation through Christ who is the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection and the life. The slaves too must confess that they once were lost but now are found. With Peter, they can remember God, their sinful unforgiveness of their masters, and that they were sheep like without a shepherd. (St. Matthew ix. 36)With Peter, they can become evangelists of the forgiveness of sins and Christ’s Resurrection. What they can reveal is that they are the free sons and daughters of the living God –whose forgiveness in them can conquer all evil because while their sins were many, His mercy is more. Christ, the Good Shepherd, frees all men from the author of evil in this world and his malicious friends.
All of Christ’s lost sheep who are now found must endure grief, suffering wrongfully…take it patiently…[because] this is acceptable with God. (Ibid, 19, 20) St. Peter is inviting the slaves to see that the Saviour has suffered unjustly and has borne the burden of all men’s slavery to sin on the Cross of His Love. Like Christ, they must forgive those who are the cause of their suffering. For Christ is interested in all sinners –both slaves and free! The Good Shepherd saves and frees all men from all evil. If He – the perfect model and example of the unjustly tortured, punished, and crucified Slave, can forgive, then so too must all they who would be carried on His shoulders home to God. In fact, Jesus said, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you…if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you…. (St. John xv. 18, 20) For Christ bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. (Ibid, 24) Again, with Monsignor Knox, Christ’s wounds are healing stripes, and His death produces, of its own efficacy, a new death and the beginning of new life in us. (Idem) So the slaves and the slaveholders are invited into the new life of the Resurrection, as sheep who have been found, rescued, and saved by Jesus Christ. For ye were as sheep, going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (Ibid, 25 Christ the Good Shepherd’s transformative forgiveness is greater than all sin.
St. Peter shows us that all men are sinners who need to be incorporated into the Resurrected Life of the One who has become a Slave for us all. And this Slave is the Shepherd and Bishop of [our] souls. (idem) He calls Himself the Good Shepherd in this morning’s Gospel, for He is the Shepherd of Souls who voluntarily becomes God’s Slave because, as He says, He giveth His life for the sheep. (St. John x. 11) So the Good Shepherd can be identified with the Slave who now works freely and completely for the good of two Masters –His Father and His sheep! He even lays down His life for His sheep because He knows that only then can His Father’s Love become a true Slave to their condition, bear its burden fully, and then break its chains through the power of the forgiveness of their sins.
fBut even beyond this, Christ the Good Shepherd longs to become our Slave even now. He becomes the Father’s willing and happy Slave. Will He be our Slave also? He who is freely subservient, obedient, and docile to the Father’s longs to be our Slave and shepherd us into the Father’s embrace. The Good Shepherd cares only for our welfare and good. The Good Shepherd is the Slave whose service alone can conquer and overcome our sin. He alone is the Slave who must become our Master. He masters our sin by bringing it to death if we embrace the Spirit of His glorious passion, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Christ, the Good Shepherd comes to find His lost sheep. Will we allow Him to be our Slave and Master? Like all lost sheep enslaved to sin, we cannot pay this Slave for mastering our sin in dying for us, and forgiving us freely, without compulsion, without any force. He demands no payment. He asks only that our hearts awaken to the fact that we are lost sheep without His Shepherding Slavery. Today, in all humility and meekness, let us allow God’s Slave to Master and Shepherd us. Then, we too shall follow the blessed steps of His most holy life. (Collect, Easter II) And with St. Peter and all the Saints we shall realize that Christ the Good Shepherd and Slave alone shepherds all lost and found slaves into everlasting freedom.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. iii. 2)
Our journey through the Lenten Season to Good Friday will have been of no use if it has not been characterized by affection. Set your affections on things above, proclaims St. Paul this morning, and not on things of the earth, and if we have been conscientious, this is exactly what we have been doing. Affection is passion, desire, yearning, and longing, and loving. And throughout the Holy Season of Lent, we have prayed that the Holy Spirit might purify the thoughts of our hearts so that we can follow Jesus up to the Jerusalem of His Cross and beyond. Our affections have been set…on the things above [and] not things of the earth, things which have come down to us in the passionate heart of Jesus Christ to lift us up higher. Out of the unquenchable love of His heart, Christ desired that our affections should rise up to embrace Him in the Death He died for you and me. From there to here, on this Easter Morn, Christ now longs that our affections might rise higher still into His Resurrection Love.
Throughout our journey to Easter, we have learned that setting [our] affections on things that are above and not on the things of the earth is no easy business. And yet our distraction from it comes not from God but from us. God’s affection and desire for us have never ceased. From the Divine Depths, articulated and expressed in the incessant, loving Passion of Jesus on the Cross, the uninterrupted longing of God for our salvation has persisted. The Word has gone out. God’s desire and affection have never swerved from His Great Unseen Eternal Design. The Word of God came down from heaven to live in man’s heart. His Good Friday is but one moment in the unfolding drama of our Redemption and Salvation.
The common lot of men are always too busy for Good Friday. Their affections and desires were otherwise occupied. The mighty engine of Caesar’s Rome could not accommodate the strange Passion of a loving God whose affection was lifted high on the Cross of suffering and dying for us. Even God’s chosen people, the Jews, could not feel such love and affection conquering their Law of sin and death. Even the fear and the cowardice of those with the best of intentions were rendered equally confounded by God’s unfolding affection. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. (St. Luke xxi. 26) Human affection for God is fickle, unreliable, inconstant, and ultimately treacherous. Man’s fallenness cannot bear God’s Omnipotent Love found in the death of His own Son.
And yet, God’s Love persisted on the Cross with a Passion that longs always to redeem the affection of men in all ages, even His worst enemies. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. (St. Luke xxiii. 34) From the Cross, Christ said to the Good Thief, Come follow me. Today thou shalt be with me in paradise. (St. Luke xxiii. 43) From His Cross His loved reached out to His Mother and the blessed disciple. Come follow me. Woman behold thy son…behold thy mother. (St. John xix. 26, 27) From His Cross, His love shared the fear of the hopeless and longed to overcome their despair. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. (St. Matthew xxvii. 46) Come follow me. From the Cross, Christ cried out, I thirst. (St. John xix. 28) because His thirst for God’s love was greater than enduring unjust Death. Come follow me. From the Cross, He cried, It is finished. (St. John xix. 30) Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit. (St. Luke xxviii. 46) Come follow me even into my death, as my death that shall become yours also. On Good Friday, I pray we began to see that something Divine was still at work. Sin would not put Christ down and death could not stop Him! On Good Friday, I pray that we began to see that Christ was conquering sin and death with the Omnipotent Power and Love of His Father. Christ died, and Man died.
With pure affection, God made all things, and with the same affection He will remake all things. Christ’s love for us invites us into His Death. With sinful affection, we all desired God’s death. God in Christ suffered our sinful affection that sentenced Him to Death. God seemed dead. Christ was interred in the sepulcher, and with Him, it would seem, man’s affection for things above, which He was, was gone. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Genesis i. 2) Sin and death seemed to swallow up the Love and extinguish the Light. His Death held hope hostage in the cruel knot of confusion, fear, and despair. But, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. xv. 22)
As we move from the seventh to the first day, something strange begins to happen. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis i. 3,4) In the beginning, God lovingly made the Light to inform, define, and enliven all of creation. In the same Light now, incandescent beams of Divine Affection will open the eyes of believers’ hearts to a new creation being illuminated by that true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into world. (St. John i. 9) Darkness flees, sin is dead, death is conquered, and ignorance is overcome as the Divine Affection jumps up from Death in the heart of Jesus. The pure Affection and eternal desire of the Father of lights have transformed the Son as flesh from Death into New Life. The old Man is Dead, and the new Man has come alive.
At first only angels and nature sense the strangeness of this Light. The elements stirred, the air was parted, the fire blazed, and the earth shook and fell before the rising Light that follows the passion and affection of its Mover and Maker. The Father’s immortal, immutable, and immovable course of affection for man’s redemption is on course and thus is still at work in the heart of Jesus. Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Romans vi. 9, 10) The question and answer of the prophet Ezekiel are fulfilled.
Son of man, can these bones live? …And there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, Son of Man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them…(Ezekiel xxxvii. 1-10)
Christ fulfills Ezekiel’s prophesy. Yes, these bones can and will live. In Him the Light of God blends with rising Love in the transfigured flesh of Man. The pure affection of Man for God brings Light out of Darkness and Life out of Death. God’s Word rises, informing still the now transfigured flesh of Jesus. Christ’s uninterrupted affection for God and Man is one Light whose Love makes Death into something new. Christ is Risen from the dead…Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast…as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. xv. 20, 22; 1 Cor. v. 7)
But there is more. And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. (St. John xii. 32) At first, the affection of both the Apostles and the women is confused. On this first day of the week, Mary Magdalene is moved still by her affection and love for Jesus, to anoint the dead. She finds the stone rolled away. Her affection for the Light is not yet redeemed. They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. (St. John xx. 2) In darkness, she believes that Christ’s enemies have stolen the body. But she remembers the words of the prophet: And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have…brought you up out of your graves, And I shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live. (Ezekiel. xxxvii. 12-14) Her stirring affection for things above runs to find John and Peter. Their affection and love run to the empty tomb. As Eriugena says, John outruns Peter because contemplation completely cleansed penetrates the inner secrets of the divine workings more rapidly than action still to be purified. John represents contemplation and hope. Peter represents action and faith. The faith of Peter must enter the tomb of darkness first to then understand with John. (Hom. Gospel of St. John, 283, 285)
God’s uninterrupted affection and desire for all men’s salvation is still at work in Jesus Christ. Stirring within the hearts of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John are the affection for, faith and understanding in the Light that said, I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (St. John xiv. 18, 19) Christ is risen. Soon the Apostles will see Him and begin to Live in Him. Christ is risen. In the Resurrected Light that shines through His transfigured flesh, we must remember that we are dead and our life is hid with God in Christ. (Colossians iii. 2,3) In the Resurrected Light, let us reckon [ourselves] to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans vi. 11) In the Resurrected Light let us embrace Christ’s affection with our own –that affection and desire for becoming very members incorporate in His Risen spiritual and mystical Body, transparent, obedient to His Holy Spirit…apt and natural instruments of His will and way, (The Meaning of Man, Mouroux, p.89) reflecting His Light and Love into the hearts of all others. And with the poet let us rejoice and sing:
Then comes He!
Whose mighty Light
Made His clothes be
Like Heav’n, all bright;
The Fuller, whose pure blood did flow
To make stained man more white than snow.
And none else can
Bring bone to bone,
And rebuild man,
And by His all subduing might
Make clay ascend more quick than Light.
(Ascension Hymn: H. Vaughn)
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons: