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!
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.
Sadly for some, Mother’s Day does not dictate the lectionary. Yet as we wrap up our journey through Easter, we also wrap up our journey through the Revelation (note the omitted verses included, giving us the full context). In contemplating the hope of a perfect eternity, may we find ourselves not only encouraged, but ready to meet our loving Savior face to face in the company of his beloved people.
Imagining perfection can be difficult, but that’s the very vision the Apostle John invites us to envision in our selection from the Revelation that we read this week. My prayer is that in picturing and contemplating the ideal in eternity, we’ll be motivated to practice in preparation for perfection in our daily lives until then.
Gotta love when the sacramental rites of the church paint a picture of grace for us–in this instance, how marriage models the eternal love Christ has for his Church. This lovely image gets picked up on in the surprising context of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21. Read, listen, and reflect on how God demonstrates his everlasting love for us, especially as seen in the ideal of the marriage covenant.
Worship that never ends as part of grand company of purified and redeemed faithful! What a lovely picture of eternity! How can we ensure we are part of so wonderful a promise? Read, listen, and prayerfully reflect to find out.