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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Restoration and Resilience

The Rev’d Stephen E. Stults
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
First Sunday after Easter, 2020

Restoration and Resilience

A thought came to me in the early a.m., based on what we had read in our Wednesday Evening Prayer meeting.  From Isaiah 61, we read:

 4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.”

Now, these two verses from our Epistle from the First Sunday after Easter:
1 John 5:4-5 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Considering what our society has been experiencing in terms of the current plague, this is most interesting. How are these two connected, and what does it mean to us today? First, Isaiah 61 reminds us of our position as Anglicans.  As a historical and liturgical body, we hold up the remnants of the historic Church.  We preach and practice the faith once delivered to the saints, and we seek to grow closer to God the Father through our worship of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  In a post-Christian world, where Christianity is not the all-empowering force it once was (although it is still vast), we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  We impart the central message of Christianity: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. 

Aided by historic, apostolic liturgy we are linked to the very first Christians in Antioch. We say what they said, we do as they did, thus receiving the life-giving Sacrament of the Eucharist in ourselves.

Consider the Apostle John’s encouraging words in the Epistle selection for the day.  Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. We have victory over the world, which comes from our faith.  This faith comes from one central belief: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 

Beloved, we Christians are born of God in our baptisms.  The mystical washing away of sin occurs, and we become members of the household of faith.  We enter the most durable covenant possible.  As we seek to live under it, we are blessed by it, in more ways that we can mention.   For that, we proclaim victory over the World, and we have joy that cannot be quenched.

Be of good cheer.  The current plague is passing.  An Eastertide miracle is beginning. Soon, we will meet with one heart and voice, saying, “Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will to men.”

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen  .