Paschal Message from Father Tom

Icon of the Crucifixion, Stroganov School Arkangelsk Late 16thcent.jpg

“…God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

 Dear friends,

        “God is love,” St John says elsewhere.  Father, Son, and Spirit abide in a tri-unity of love from all eternity and forever.  From all eternity, God has desired to share His everlasting life with humanity.  But from the dawn of time, humanity has turned away; we’ve lost our way, lost the ability to see and know and accept God’s love.  But God then wills to become one of us so that we can experience His love in a visible, tangible way – in the flesh He shares with us in His perfect Word.  He speaks His perfect Word directly to  us, as the Paschal Gospel tells us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  We have beheld His glory…” – the glory of His inconceivable and limitless love.  (John 1:14)

        And what is this divine love we see?  We see the Father giving His dearly beloved, only-begotten Son to us, to share the harshest and most traumatic aspects of our life, including death by torture as an abandoned, falsely condemned, utterly humiliated man.  The suffering Christ is the express image and expression (logos) of the Father’s love, beyond expression in rational terms.  This is the love the Son and Word of God expresses to us, not out of doleful obedience but in self-giving freedom.  He accepts this sacrifice not to fulfill some ghastly juridical calculus of atonement, but to carry us with him through pain and death to life.  The eternal, unlimited life of divine love.

       What should be our response? Of course, thanksgiving; but, even more basic, a resolve not to squander God’s self-giving love.  We should accept it, embrace, live in it.  How?  Firstly, by being present to the Word of God as He comes to us anew in the great mysteries of Passion Week and Pascha.  By letting time stop as we enter into the mystery of eternal life.  Secondly, we should offer support to our little church where this Gospel of divine love is preached and taught and emphasized in our services relentlessly.  Where everything we do – our worship, preaching, care and outreach, our witness – flows from an affirmation of the mystery of God’s compassionate mercy.  We don’t spend our income on gold, silver, and bejeweled objects, on creating a lavish temple in an upscale neighborhood.  We spend as much as we can on care for people, trying to witness to God’s mercy.  Please, dear friends, join us in prayer and in renewing the support you continuously offer our little urban parish so graciously.  God bless you.

In Christ Who comes to suffer with us and rise again. 

Fr Thomas Mueller