Brothers and sisters of Zion, grace, mercy and peace be upon you from our Risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Well that certainly was something wasn’t it!? The journey from Lent towards the cross, the Passion, and rejoicing in the feast of His Resurrection was absolutely full! But as full as we are now God keeps on pouring it on! That’s the thing about the Resurrection, it does not leave you simply filled to the brim, but in the grace and mercy which comes from our Living Lord, our cups overflow as it says in Psalm 23:5.
As Pastor Gjerde told us this Easter Sunday, The Resurrection…well it’s not meant to be small. It’s not meant to leave you looking back with only a sigh of remembrance, but in real heavenly food—given even now!—it’s meant to be big! It’s meant to pour over you, continuously drowning out your sin, your doubt, and unbelief until you are running over, and your heart of faith becomes as a spring of living water welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14).
Here at Zion we believe that the Resurrection of our Lord is so big, that even today you can still see such springs of water nourishing what was once parched, dry land. It produces a peculiar fruit called mercy, which flows from the heart of God. The more we zero in on the significance of this good news, of forgiveness and new life in our Risen Lord Jesus— the more we are fed by it—the more the Holy Spirit keeps on producing this sweet fruit as it takes hold in us.
Mercy is more virulent then raspberries! And it’s comes from the church! Throughout history, the mercy which governs our very lives has drawn some serious attention. In the 2nd-3rd Century A.D., a great Christian writer and theologian summarized how people often reacted when they came into contact with Christians.
“Look” they say, “how they love one another…and how they are ready to die for each other.”
And who could really refute that, when the early church grew leaps and bounds, from the blood of martyrs? Even as they were tormented and persecuted—not just in Rome, but all over the world—their faith had created a sensational fire storm! It was early Christians who built the first hospitals and orphanages. So successful were these institutions that many who feared this radically gracious new religion, actually thought that they were eating all the children! But the truth of their witness, could not help but gather all into the mercy of God. So, the early Church, like our Lord, gathered all children into her embrace like a mother hen gathering chicks.
Such mercy, which comes only from our Risen Lord, has been a witness throughout millennia in the countless hospitals, orphanages, and other charitable institutions the church throughout the world has set up. We see signs of it in our own community, and certainly in our own homes! As the faith and church become something more unfamiliar to many Americans it is in the mercy of God lived out in each of you that this new generation—and many to come—will see you and say; “see how they love one another.”
Fides ex Auditu