The mystery of the Holy Trinity is beyond our comprehension. Yet it is proclaimed in Scripture and believed by Spirit-wrought hearts of faith. We believe in the one true God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The height, depth, and breadth of our God gives us peace as we travel towards eternity.
The fifty days have passed and the promised Holy Spirit is poured out upon the Bride of Christ. The once-hidden gospel is no longer the possession of a chosen few. For the Spirit enables the message of salvation to enflame hearts for bearing witness to the ends of the earth.
There are certain events that stick in one’s mind. Events that when they occur, change everything. You remember not only everything that happened, but how that event changed the rest of your life.
Now as then, our risen and ascended Lord Jesus prays for Spirit-inspired unity between the Father and his church. We too pray that we may have unity, that we may be one, as brothers and sisters who live in harmony, as servants gathered to worship Him, as disciples who follow Him always. Then, with much anticipation, we look for the coming of the Holy Spirit, confidently living a new life of faith in our ascended Lord.
Love for Christ shows itself in obedience to his teaching and trust in his peace.
The risen Lord prepares his followers for his visible departure by giving a new command: Love one another.
There are certain events that stick in one’s mind. Events that when they occur, change everything. You remember not only everything that happened, but how that event changed the rest of your life. One of those big, life-changing events is the death of a friend or loved one. Suddenly, many things in life change.
Easter too is one of those events. As we have heard since Easter, it is an event that changed everything. The very nature of Easter changes even how we view and face death. Today, on Good Shepherd Sunday God’s Word shows us our Shepherd, Jesus, who leads his flock to safe pastures and his eternal fold. We see how our Savior’s victory over death changes how we face death.
There are certain events that stick in one’s mind. Events that when they occur, change everything. You remember not only everything that happened, but how that event changed the rest of your life. One of those big, life-changing events is the birth of a child. Suddenly, diapers aren’t the only things being changed—priorities change, schedules changes, family life changes.
Easter too is one of those events. As we have heard on Easter, it is an event that changed everything. Today, we watch as the risen Lord appears in power to Saul on the road to Damascus. The risen Lord changes Saul’s heart in such a profound way that Saul turns from persecutor of the church to its greatest missionary. In the same way the light of our Risen Savior has shined in the darkness of our sin-filled hearts. Though we still feebly struggle with sin and are not "worthy" to even approach God’s presence, Christ gathers us to constantly receive the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus’ Easter victory changes us, our hearts, our lives—so much so that it changes our priorities in life, it changes what we see as important, it changes how we live life.
Final preparation to be the risen Christ’s witnesses begins with sight. The apostles were blessed with visibly seeing the risen Lord. Overcoming their doubts by the power of the Spirit, they would boldly proclaim the new life to be found in the Living One. Blessed to see through eyes of faith, the vision of the First and the Last fills our hearts with this confidence: “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.”
There are certain events that stick in one’s mind. Events that when they occur, change everything. You remember not only everything that happened, but how that event changed the rest of your life. The birth of a child, the dream job offer, the death of a loved one. Easter is one of those events. It is so much more than chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs. It is an event that changed everything.
Connected by grace, through faith, to our risen Lord, we rejoice in the victory of the resurrection and in full confidence of our own resurrection from the dead.
As the middle service of the Triduum, Good Friday is prepared for by Holy Thursday. In turn, it leads into the Easter Vigil. The absence of a benediction the previous evening and again on Good Friday underscores the connectedness of the Triduum services. Good Friday is not a “funeral” for Jesus, but an austere celebration of the Lamb and his sacrifice. The bare altar, symbolic of Christ, is the focus along with a large, rough-finished wood cross that is placed before it. The Service of the Cross consists of two parts: (I) the Word and (II) the Meditation on the Cross. The service is highly meditative in nature and is celebrated simply and not hurried.
All of human history hinges on this day. Humbling himself before the will of the Father and the blood-thirst of men, the Son of God is slaughtered. Even worse than an ignomible death, the Father must reject his own Son since he bears the sin of the world. But all this served God’s saving purpose, and so we call this Friday…Good.
As part of our Holy Week worship life, we observe, in part, an ancient custom of the early Christian Church. Beginning with the evening worship on Holy Thursday and continuing through Holy Saturday's Easter Vigil, these services were considered to be one service and called the Triduum (The Three Days). Even though people go home to rest and carry out their necessary responsibilities, they are encouraged to remember that at least in spirit, they are still "worshiping" and remembering the events of Holy Week. No benediction concludes this service as an indication that the service continues for two more days.
Tonight, we remember the first Passover meal and celebrate the meal that was given to us when Jesus celebrated Passover---on the night when He was betrayed. Blood paints the way to salvation. Yet “not all the blood beasts” (Christian Worship #128) could for sin atone. Fulfilling the Old, the Lamb of God establishes the New Covenant in his own body and blood.
Here is the culmination of our Lenten journey of repentance and renewal. Here is final preparation for the celebration of the our Savior’s victory. The journey of Lent has prepared our hearts to ponder anew the Passion of our Lord and his glorious triumph over death and grave. With repentant hearts we join our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, confident in his everlasting rule, hailing him as our Eternal King. At the same time, we are mindful that he is our King because he is the Messiah, the promised Son of David sent as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!