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!
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.
The vignette of Jesus blessing the children reminds us of those Scriptures (Psalm 147, Deuteronomy, St Luke) that emphasize the importance children have in God’s plan of salvation, as well as how their guileless trust is a model for how we should approach God in faith.
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.
This Summer, we are taking a look at the life of Jesus as inspired by the Life of Christ Icon. It has a central pantokrator (Ruler of All) surrounded by vignettes from our Savior’s redemptive life. Today we see consider how Jesus models humility in his incarnation, as we read Psalm 96, Isaiah 9:2-7, and the famous Christmas story from Luke 2:1-14.
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.
Progressing through Eastertide, our Gospel lesson brings us face to face with Jesus with a couple disciples heading to Emmaus, who then discover our Risen Lord in Scripture and the Breaking of Bread. May we find Jesus in the Bible, his table, and our own tables as well.
Every Holy Week, Episcopal clergy typical renew their vows from when they were ordained. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, we share that service with our fellow clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This year, the Lutherans hosted and their bishop presided, while Bp. Dorsey McConnell preached. He preached on the texts from Isaiah 61, Revelation 1, and Luke 4. May we each come to appreciate the weighty call places upon all his baptized family to spread the Good News in word, deed, and sacrament.
As we walk the penitential path with Jesus this Lent, our lectionary readings help us compare and contrast Adam and Jesus so we might better appreciate the great salvation our Lord has worked out for all who believe.