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Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 2012

This week is one of the most important in the church year. We will be remembering, mourning, and celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remembering is critical for the Christian's mind. The way we view what is in front our eyes presently is seen through glasses that are colored by the past. Our past can either fog up the lenses or make things clearer. For the Christian who sees the world through the lenses of Christ's death and resurrection, things are seen more clearly. When we observe the world around us, we do so in remembrance of Him.

Remembering the past, however, is not the only thing for the Christian. The creation and the fall, Noah's flood, the promises to the Patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the reign of David, the fall of Israel, the miraculous coming of the Messiah who died and rose again, all of this is vital for our life and salvation. It is in the past where our salvation was purchased with the blood of Jesus. So, we must remember. But, what we remember impacts us now, where we are at this moment, in our present. For the blood of Christ was shed then for you now! Christ's salvation is not bound somewhere in the past, for our crucified Lord is risen and is reigning in mercy. Jesus who saved us in the past with His work on the cross saves us in the present. But how? Our Christ who reigns comes to us through the work of the Holy Spirit in His Word and sacraments. The salvation purchased in the past is delivered in the present by means of water, bread, wine, and the attached promises spoken by the pastor or fellow Christians.

Let's take communion as an example for this. This Maundy Thursday we will likely sing the hymn, "Go to Dark Gethsemane." This is a hymn of remembrance. It reminds us of what Jesus went through as He prayed to God before His arrest. We will also receive the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine at communion. At the command of Christ, we will do this in remembrance of Him (I Corinthians 11:25). We will remember how Christ sacrificed Himself for us. But we will do more. Or, better said, more will happen to us. For we won't merely remember Christ in the past, we will receive Christ in the present. Christ will that night, as He does every Sunday, give us His very body and blood which was sacrificed on the cross and has risen from the dead. We can remember dark Gethsemane, but we cannot actually go there. But that is okay. Our dear Lord who sweat blood in that garden will come to us! Jesus will be present in the present! What a present! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

All of this is quite remarkable, but we aren't done. We remember what Christ has done in the past, we receive what He gives in the present, and in all of this we are prepared for the future! Back to communion: There we anticipate what Christ has earned and given when we gather around the altar. As St. Paul says, "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup (present), you proclaim the Lord's death (past) until he comes (future)." What an amazing moment we encounter every time we gather at the altar! The past, the present, and the future are all concentrated in that one moment. What an amazing God who calls us to that meal! The crucified and risen Christ (past) gives Himself to us to forgive our sins and strengthen our faith (present) and prepare us for His return (future)!

Please plan to join us this Holy Week (see this newsletter for service times) as we remember, receive, and prepare!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email