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 final surrounding vignette in the Life of Christ icon depicts when our Lord ascended back on high. The readings – Psalm 47, Acts 1:1-11, and Luke 24:44-53 – give us the anticipated messianic enthronement hoped for, the event of the Ascension itself, and the promise of the Holy Spirit after the ascension respectively. In reflecting on this amazing event, we bask in the knowledge that Jesus is indeed in control, and shares the fruits of reign by interceding for us and granting his very Spirit to all who trust him. Let us rejoice, our Ascended Savior reigns! Good News this is indeed!
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.
Today’s vignette from the Life of Christ icon brings us to our Lord’s resurrection. And our readings (Psalm 114, 1 Corinthians 15:19-28, & Luke 24:1-12) remind us because of his rescue, like the children of Israel from Egypt, we have victory over death – no longer bound by false hope.
Been preaching, but not posting, in order to assemble a collection of sermons that cover the icon vignettes in the Life of Christ Icon that span Holy Week – the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion. Listen and reflect along with the readings as you consider those mighty acts by which our Savior brought us from sin and death into holiness and life eternal.
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 see the various people Jesus heals in the icon vignette for today, and as we consider our readings (Psalm 103:1-5, Acts 10:34-43, and Luke 3:15-17, 21-22), we are reminded of how healing is part of God’s plan for his people, as a foretaste of eternity, how Jesus heals the whole person, plus how we are instrumental in God’s plan to bring healing to others as Christ’s kingdom advances.
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.
Continuing through our Lord’s life depicted in the Life of Christ icon, we arrive at his baptism in the Jordan by the John the Baptist. The Psalmist, Prophet Isaiah, and St Luke each reinforce this remarkable moment in Jesus’ life in their own way. And Christ’s very own faithfulness on our behalf opens the way for all baptized persons to take hold resurrection life and our Father’s love by faith.
As we continue our study of the biblical background informing the Life of Christ icon, we come to the story of Christ’s being presented in the temple. Psalm 8, Galatians 4, and St Luke’s Gospel all reinforce how Jesus fulfills the our mission to care for creation, as well as God’s mission to bring us into his family and rescue us Jew and Gentile alike from sin and death. As part of Christ’s body may we all grow in our stewardship, gratitude, and trust in our Lord’s great salvation.