And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
I begin this pastoral letter with thanksgiving for you, Zion, and the bold witness you make each year to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God for the commitment of elders, ushers, altar guild, acolytes, choir and musicians, volunteers, worshipers, staff, and so many more who work together to proclaim through word, deed, and song: “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” It makes a difference for the faith of so many people, not only who gather with us at 709 Sixth Street but also who worship with us via radio, internet, and television.
Our celebration of Holy Week and Easter draws together all four areas of the Church’s mission: liturgy, outreach, catechumenate, and mercy. Throughout Holy Week, we receive the gifts (liturgy), share the gifts (outreach), learn about the gifts (catechumenate), and prepare to be the gift (mercy). This latter emphasis is our particular focus during the season of Easter.
Jesus Christ is the gift: crucified, risen, and exalted, the Bread of Life for the world, and through faith you are members of His body. Even as He gives Himself to the world for its redemption, so does the Holy Spirit equip us to be gifts to one another and our neighbors, helping and loving them in midst of life’s many challenges. That life of being for others is the life of mercy.
It may take many forms: not just feeding the hungry or visiting the sick, but also praying for creation in your daily devotion or keeping your soul watchful for the Lord’s coming on the world’s behalf. To see our whole life as something lived for others, a life given by God and coursing its way back to God, is mercy at its simplest and most intense.
Oh, Zion: your Lord is merciful, indeed! He lives for you, even as He died for you. What a privilege for you and me to keep in step with Him!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Pr. Gjerde