And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ (Rev. 21:3-4)
During the season of Easter, we intentionally remember the time of Christ’s resurrection as well as the birth of his church. It is a springtime within the history of salvation, one that continues today. The first fruits of new life appear, thanks to the Spirit dwelling within the hearts of all those that believe. The sacraments and our shared ministry in Christ’s name prove to be means of grace with the power to build us up while changing our world. Yes, a new day dawned with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and yet, we all know that sin and death still do their dirty work. Fortunately, the resurrection is not the end of the story, only a new beginning.
As a gift to the world, God created us, Jesus called us, and the Spirit offers to nurture and guide us. Along with all of creation, we groan for the fullness of time where every tear will be wiped away (Romans 8). Yet even as we struggle with our own sin and imperfection, we are never left alone. Together, we are Christ’s body – living out God’s answer to the pain of this world. Jesus asks us in his name to wipe away tears and offer hope until there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
Our participation in the shared life of Christ’s church is never really about what we get out of it. We have been saved for a reason. We are meant to be living signs of a new life being offered to all. Through our service, fellowship and worship, God prepares for the day when all things will be made new. Through his living church, that final, perfect day is already dawning, and Jesus is calling us home to dwell with him forever. Come join us and see for yourself. Come and truly live.
The above pastoral letter was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (May 2011 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2011 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.