Sat, 29 April 2017
(Acts 2:14,22-33; Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11; 1Pt.1:17-21; Lk.24:13-35)
“God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.”
Peter stands up “with the Eleven” and proclaims to all the Resurrection of the Christ, that He who was crucified has been released “from the throes of death.” David “foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was He abandoned to the netherworld nor did His flesh see corruption.” The women who went to His empty tomb early Easter morning saw “a vision of angels who announced that He was alive”; this they declared to His apostles. And as for the two sojourning to Emmaus, “He was made known to them in the breaking of bread,” whereupon they “returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, ‘The Lord has been raised and has appeared to Simon!’” All reports converge. The earth cries out of the presence of the living God. He is risen!
“As you see and hear,” you who “invoke as Father Him who judges impartially,” “exalted at the right hand of God, [Jesus] received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured Him forth.” This truth is evident in all the words of Scripture, in all His holy witnesses, and in this bread and wine made the Body and Blood of our Lord. Do you not see? Do you not hear? Do you not know that “you were ransomed from your futile conduct… with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb”? Is it not you “who through Him believe in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory”? Is it not so that “your faith and hope are in God”? Do you not see? Do you not hear? Do you not know Him even as these witnesses? And do you witness with them?
Let us cry out with the words of our psalm, “O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot,” even as we approach His altar today. As we receive Him, let our eyes be opened to recognize His presence. Our hearts should burn as He speaks to us and with His witnesses “open[s] the Scriptures to us,” and in His breaking of the bread we should see Him. And then we should go forth, inspired as Peter, inspired as the women, inspired as the two disciples and all those gathered in His name, to proclaim that He is risen, that He is with us – that we see Him and know Him. Let all hear and understand that “He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time” for the sake of all. Yes, “the Lord has truly been raised.”
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "What Do You Think?/Open, No Horizon" (second part) from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, truly has your Son been raised from the dead,
and we with Him.
YHWH, open our eyes and ears to see and hear of your glory, of the resurrection of your divine Son. In the Scriptures and in the breaking of the Bread, in the preaching of your apostles let us come to believe in you and in your presence here among us even this day. How slow of heart we are to believe! Open our hearts and minds to your Word.
The Christ shall not know death and its corruption; He shall rise from the grave. This is declared to us by your prophets and kings, and is realized by all of faith. And our souls, too, shall not be abandoned to the nether world, if we but believe in Him whom you have sent, if we but live in the Spirit He pours upon us. O LORD, let us abound in joy forever in your presence.
Walk with us, O God, and speak to us along the way. Reveal your presence in the Sacrament of the altar. You are our portion and cup. In hope of your glory we dwell this day.
Sat, 22 April 2017
(Acts 2:42-47; Ps.118:1-4,13-15,22-24; 1Pt.1:3-9; Jn.20:19-31)
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Jesus comes to the disciples, repeatedly appearing to them after His Resurrection, to make certain there is absolutely no doubt in them: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” He invites them even to put their fingers in His hands and their hands into His side. To Thomas He speaks, yes, but them all He teaches. For He is commissioning them to go forth in His name in word and sacrament to bring forth life to souls who are dying, to preach the salvation from sin by His resurrection from the dead. “Peace be with you,” He says to His Twelve. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And so He breathes on them the Holy Spirit, giving them power even to forgive men’s sins. Now, those to whom they shall proclaim that God “in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” will not have had the benefit of seeing the Lord. And so, how can one expect them to believe just by the word of another if the speaker of that word is not completely convinced of its truth? Their witness, their commitment, must extend even to the grave – as it shall – if it is to go beyond the grave.
And the strength of the apostles’ witness and the fruit it has borne – which, in turn, becomes a faithful witness unto others – is greatly evident in our reading from Acts. Here we are told the first disciples “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” Sharing all in common, their lives were centered on daily prayer and the Eucharistic meal, the feast of thanksgiving. And “with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people,” they lived their lives in truth, they lived their lives in faith. What Peter ascribes to the disciples of Christ we find in these: “Although you have not seen Him you love Him; even though you do not see Him now… you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” How effective his and the other apostles’ witness has been.
Brothers and sisters, “His mercy endures forever.” The apostles’ words reach down to us this day and the sacraments of their hands are still in our midst. And so “the joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just” we too should know. We too should sing, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior.” Though the Church has been made to suffer persecution and been dispersed to the ends of the earth, this is but to bring the Word forth, and through all suffering to make it perfect within us. For ultimately the kingdom is not in this place; heaven we cannot completely see. Only faith will lead us to the Lord’s risen presence.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "What Do You Think?/Open, No Horizon" (first part) from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, let us make our home in
the nail marks of your hands and the wound in your side
that we might rise to new life.
YHWH, how great is your mercy toward us! How great the wonders that come upon us through your Son, our Lord. For He reveals your ineffable presence to us, taking from us all hardness of heart come from doubt and sin that our eyes might be opened to your glory, that we might enter into your joy.
He has been rejected that we might be accepted. His hands and feet and side have been pierced and He has died that we might rise with Him from the grave. All our sin He would take from us, and so He leaves this power with His apostles and with the descendents of His apostles, who, though they have not seen Him yet have His Spirit breathing upon them to accomplish His merciful will in our midst, to reveal your merciful love to us, O LORD and God.
O let us fall at His feet! Let us proclaim His divinity. Let us join as one in prayer and in the breaking of the Bread in His Name. O LORD, let us be your blessed disciples and so know your salvation of our souls. Alleluia!