There is a verse in this coming Sunday’s second reading that is, for me, one of the most
moving in the whole Bible:
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been
revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him,
for we will see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
Saint John speaks to us as a friend, “writing these things so that our joy may be
complete” (I John 1:4). He reminds us of the deepest reality of who we are. “We are
God's children—to which he adds now”. Right now. At this moment. And, he declares
this unconditionally, to remind us that this is true no matter what: no matter what we
may feeling or not feeling, no matter what difficulty or incredible joy has befallen us.
Indeed, this is by God’s gracious doing. Such “divine filiation” (“the deepest mystery of
the Christian vocation”, as Pope John Paul II says) is sheer gift. And “the gifts of
God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). In other words, we will never cease to God’s
children. We never need worry. We, of course, must choose to live into this vocation…
Saint John also reaffirms the promise of our future final—albeit
mysterious—transformation: “When he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will
see him as he is”. “We will see him as he is”—upon our deathbed or at the Second
Coming of Christ. And, when we do, we will be fully transformed. We traditionally speak
of such transformative vision as “beatific” (from the Latin beatificus, meaning “making
happy”). Our God is a supremely happy God, and His only intention is to make us
happy in Him. The happiness begins now and no matter what—increasingly to the
degree that we let go and let God. One day, one eternity, the happiness will be
complete. Our hope is set on this.
Sharing in God’s happiness with you,
Easter continues-let’s not turn the page too quickly! We are given an octave, eight special days and a full forty-day Easter season until Pentecost (which we celebrate on May 23). “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, Therefore, let us keep the feast,” (from first part of the Pascha Nostrum, the initial song of praise in the Anglican Rite for Easter Day in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, still in use today).
In this Sunday’s second reading (John 1:5), it is revealed that “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” Easter is all about Divine light, to which we are drawn, in which we are called to live, which we are called and empowered to share.
This Easter Sunday, April 4, we marked the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., at age 39, a seeker of the light. He famously declared that “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” Despite personal or public struggles, he did not relent, because he trusted in the never-failing presence of God, Who “is light.”
Let us, therefore, “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8), knowing that, as the Dutch theologian, Erasmus (+1536), says, if we “give light, the darkness will disappear of itself.” This requires, however, a daily choice on our part, especially in our current context of acute societal sensitivity. Let us “give light”, refraining from hasty judgment and from adding to harsh discourse. “Words which do not increase the light of Christ increase the darkness,”
Mother Teresa tells us. Let us GIVE light…
Yours in the light of Christ,
The Rev. Dominique Peridans
Members and Friends of Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes,
Blessings on this holiest of days, when, in a special way, we celebrate our Lord, Who says to each one of us, personally, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever." (Revelation 1:17-18)
Let us take the Easter journey, together, in hope. Let us not worry for a thing. The victory of divine love has been won. Let us not worry for a thing…
Hear the words of Brother Roger Schutte (+2005), of Taizé, the ecumenical monastic community in France:
"On Easter evening, Jesus went with two of his disciples as they walked to the village of Emmaus. They did not realize at the time that he was walking alongside them. We too experience times when we are unable to realize that, by the Holy Spirit, Christ remains at our side. Tirelessly he walks beside us. He illuminates our souls with unexpected light. And we discover that, even though some darkness may remain in us, in each person there is above all the mystery of his presence."
…Christ says to each person, “I love you with everlasting love. I will never leave you. By the Holy Spirit, I will be with you always.”
Blessed to be your Rector,
The Rev. Dominique Peridans