He is risen!
So I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the nations.”
Wednesday, First Week of Easter
Father, by this Easter mystery you touch our lives with the healing power of your love. You have given us the freedom of the sons of God. May we who now celebrate your gift find joy in it for ever in heaven. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the next seven weeks, may we ponder the new realities Christ brings to the world, namely the riches of forgiveness and life and so much more. I invite you to meditate on what one of the Early Church Fathers wrote concerning the resurrection and its first fruits. Come to the feast!
If any person is devout and loves God, let him come to this radiant triumphant feast.
If any person is a wise follower, let me enter into the joy of his Lord, rejoicing…
The table is full; all of you, feast sumptuously.
The calf is fattened; let no one go away hungry.
Enjoy the feast of faith; receive the riches of God’s mercy.
Let no one bewail his poverty, for the fullness of the kingdom is revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities, for forgiveness shines forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the savior’s death has set us free.
He who was held prisoner by death has annihilated it.
By descending into death, he made death captive.
He angered it when it tasted of his flesh.
Isaiah saw this, and he cried: “Death was angered when it encountered you in the lower regions.”
It was angered, for it was defeated.
It was angered, for it was mocked.
It was angered, for it was abolished.
It was angered, for it was overthrown,
It was angered, for it was bound in chains.
It received a body and it met God face to face.
It took earth and encountered heaven.
It took that which is seen and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory?
Christ is risen and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen and the devils have fallen.
Christ is risen and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen and life reigns.
Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, and to him be glory and honor, even to eternity. Amen. (John Chrysostom (344-407))
The term “first fruits” is an ancient biblical term that describes the first and the best of the fruits of the harvest that is given as a thanksgiving offering to God.
What does this mean in reference to the resurrected Christ? It means, there is more to come–the full harvest! The rest of the harvest will be reaped at the end of time when Christ comes in glory and the resurrection of all flesh (both good and evil) will occur. Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will rise to eternal life with God forever. Those who have rejected Christ will do so at their own peril. The feast of the Resurrection we celebrate every Sunday, is only a foretaste of the feast to come! Come, Lord Jesus!
In the glorious joy of Easter!
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are healthy and safe. We are in this together. We have help available if there are needs. Please let me know.