Yesterday, I presided at the funeral of Franklin “Bud” Edmunds, a long time member of St Francis in the Fields. The lessons were Isaiah 61:1-3, Psalm 23 (KJV), 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15, & John 6:37-40. May we all walk this pilgrim life in the hope of the resurrection.
As we conclude our exploration of the Life of Christ icon, we come to the central image, the pantokrator (Ruler of All). Our lessons (Psalm 93; Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; & John 18:33-37) remind us that – in following Jesus – that he has much to teach us, that he’s in control no matter the circumstance, and that he will spare no effort to rescue us from the destruction sin leaves in its wake.
The next vignette in our journey through the Life of Christ icon is our Lord’s appearance to Thomas in his moment of doubt about the Resurrection. Our lessons (Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, & John 20:24-29) open the eyes of our faith so we might trust in the promise we have yet to see and rejoice in the power Christ has already demonstrated over sin and death.
The vignette from the Life of Christ icon about Lazarus picks up on the event of his being raised from the dead, foreshadowing what is just about to come for Jesus a week from this event. The story in John’s Gospel pops up in the lectionary during Lent (Year C – Week 5) and on the Feast of All Saints (Year B). I chose an abridged form of the latter readings (Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6, & John 11:38-44) as they captured the promise of the physical resurrection we anticipate, even as we are spiritually risen with Christ by faith now. I hope you find these readings an encouragement to a deeper life of trust in our Lord!
As we progress through the Life of Christ icon, we come across the readings from the Second Sunday in Epiphany, Year C, to guide our ruminations. Psalm 36:5-10, Isaiah 62:1-5, and John 2:1-11, each help us appreciate the love of God and how the covenant of marriage models Christ’s love for his Church and how honoring marriage inspires us to pursue a deeper connection with the Triune God whose love for us is unfathomable.
One theme that pops up in our readings today is how Christ is glorified in his people. Of course, that ties in with the larger summons to seek and serve Christ is all people – as we promised in our baptismal covenant. So we need to do our part to look for Jesus in everyone, plus show that same same Jesus to everyone.
Also, take a moment to reflect on how Jesus fulfills God’s promises in his Ascension back to heaven, both in what he does for us and what he does in us.