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Sunday, April 9, 2017

As Often

We remember Christ’s death every Eucharist so we go ever deeper into the love of God for us and the world revealed at the cross, and we find our path, the shape of our life, in that love.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen
   The Sunday of the Passion, year A
   Texts: The Passion according to Matthew (26:14 – 27:66); Philippians 2:5-11

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Whenever we gather for Eucharist we proclaim Christ’s death.

Every time we come to the Table of Christ we hold the death of Christ in our hearts and minds. We proclaim it to the world.

Every Sunday is Easter Sunday, we say, even in Lent. We gather around Word and Sacrament and are blessed with the life of the risen Christ. “Christ is risen. Christ will come again,” we proclaim each time.

But we also hear these words of Paul to the church in Corinth at every Eucharist: “As often as we eat of this bread and drink of this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” “Christ has died,” we all respond.

Every time. Every Eucharist. Every Sunday is Passion Sunday, too.

Our lives depend on it.

As often as we worship, we proclaim Christ’s death. So we see ever more deeply the love of God revealed at the cross.

This is the great witness of the Scriptures. God’s love pours out for God’s people, from the creation, when we are declared good, to Abraham and Sarah, and the choosing of a people to bless all people, to the prophets and their call to love as God loves. In Christ Jesus, God-with-us, we see the pure, astonishing grace of the love of God for all people.

When we hold the cross of Christ before us each week, we see that the essence of the Triune God, the heart of God’s image, is love. Love that is willing to set aside all power and might to show us love. Love that is willing to die to open our eyes to the truth about love.

This is mystery deeper than anything we will fully understand. But the Scriptures witness that the heart of God’s facing the cross was to show us in person the depth of God’s love for us and for the world.

We proclaim the cross whenever we worship so we never forget the cross reveals how beloved we are, reveals the true love that is God’s heart.

As often as we worship, we proclaim Christ’s death. So we also ever more deeply see the shape of our lives in Christ.

Christ Jesus has made it clear that our mission is not just to tell the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, but embody the story ourselves, make it the pattern of our lives. As Paul says today, our call is to share the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, the same self-giving love.

We know nothing about God’s love except by looking at the cross, and when we realize at the cross how much God loves us and loves the world, almost immediately we hear the call that this is our path, our life. At the cross all of Jesus’ teachings on following, giving up ourselves, loving, begin to make sense. At the cross we see a love that is willing to bear all pain and sorrow and grief in order to show us the path we must take for the healing of the world.

We proclaim the cross whenever we worship so we never forget the cross is meant to shape our lives, our love, our witness, our faith.

Do you see, Christ says? As I love, so do you.

This cross I take is your path, too. This is the love I keep describing to you and showing you.
Here at the cross, Christ says, you see the love of the prodigal father for you, the compassion of the Good Samaritan.

Here at the cross you see the encompassing love of God that is your pearl of great price, your hidden treasure.

Here at the cross you are filled with the life-giving love of God that will be a seed in you and in others that will grow to nurture the whole world.

Here at the cross you find no limits to God’s love for you, my love, Christ says, and you hear your call to love as I have loved you.

Every Eucharist. Every time.

As often as we eat of this bread and drink of this cup, as often as we gather to hear God’s Word, we proclaim Christ’s death. So we might see and know and live God’s love in us and in the world.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

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