The theme for today is bearing fruit. In John 15 Jesus speaks to his disciples saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” He tells them that if they want to bring forth fruit–by which he means new disciples, they must abide in him, and let his word abide in them. Jesus says that those that abide in him and bear fruit will be pruned by his Father the vinegrower so that they will bear even more fruit. Continue reading →
This world described in John 10 is made up of people playing one of three roles.
The vast majority of people are sheep. The is so for two reasons: 1) Most people like most sheep are followers, not leaders. They follow the flock or herd. 2) Sheep need looking after. 1) People follow the herd because they are afraid to think for themselves, or wander too far from the well-worn paths trodden by the others who are important to them. Today, many children rebel against their parents, but many more follow doggedly in their parent’s footsteps, repeating their successes and mistakes, generation after generation. Racism is a good example of repeating a mistake, for it is a learned behavior. 2) People need looking after because they are fearful of making decisions on their own. In his book, “Escape from Freedom,” Eric Fromm says it was because of the average German’s desire to “escape from freedom” that they followed bold preachers like Luther and outrageous political leaders like Hitler and the Nazis. As Christians, we wish we were always right, but this is not so. Luther once opined that he who burns down a Jewish synagogue serves God. Of course, Luther would be the first to remind us that man can be a saint and a sinner at the same time! Continue reading →
In the Moravian Church, we worship the God of the cross, for it is on the cross that the God who created and sustains the cosmos offered his son for the sins of the world and took death into Himself.
St. John tells us that Mary Magdalene first greeted her Risen Lord in the garden where his empty tomb was located. St. John also tells us that, a week later, the Risen Lord invited Thomas to look closely at his hands, where the mark of the nails could still be seen, and to put his hand into his side, which had been so recently pierced by a Roman spear. Moravians are not alone is worshiping the God of the Cross. In an Article published in “The New York Times,” Peter Wehner, a Presbyterian, declares: “The risen but scarred body of Christ is the ultimate signifier of Divine empathy.”
This morning we celebrate the Resurrection of the Crucified One. His cross is the bridge that unites sin-sick humanity, with the grace and forgiveness of God. His resurrection is the massive sign that God has not abandoned us in our little world of time and space, but penetrated it, shattered it, and begun its transformation. Because he lives, we know that we shall live also. As the apostle has written: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that Day.” (Note: That is straight out of the King James Version. You may recognize it as lyrics from a hymn by Fanny Crosby.)
This small service stands in the bright shadow of Easter’s past, but it is sign of a better time to come. I am grateful that we are all here. I pray that the Crucified and Risen Lord may hold you and yours against that better time that looms before us, almost close enough to touch.
Important information about the Friday evening service: The Friday evening online service will be a virtual Tenebrae service, including readings from the Passion story and special music. Keeping with the solemnity of this service, all worshipers will be muted upon entering the Zoom meeting. Please keep your microphones muted throughout the service as we worship together. There will not be a fellowship or announcement time before or after this service. The Zoom meeting will open ten minutes prior to the service, which will begin with a prelude at 7:00 p.m.
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