Christ Is Risen!

Greetings in Christ,

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'"  Romans 1.16-17

Christ Is Risen!  He Is Risen Indeed!

This is the witness of the Church since the first Easter, that salvation has come to all through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the central truth of the Christian faith without which we would not be the Church.  There are many things that we say and do as Christians that we could let go of and remain Christian. The death and resurrection of Jesus, the Gospel, we cannot for to do so would empty the witness of the Church of all meaning.

Throughout the history of the Church there have been folk who have sought to make Christianity into something other than this witness.  Each age has dealt with the voices that cannot bring themselves to confess Jesus as the Risen Christ as they seek to remake the Church into what they think it ought to be.  In our own time we are seeing the rise of those  in and out of the Church who are saying that the purpose of the Church is affirm people where they are in their life journey.  The rise of the 'Nones', people who claim no religious affiliation yet may hold to some sense of 'spiritual' in their lives is a product of no longer holding that the witness of the Church is the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The more we are ashamed of the Gospel, of the Good News of Jesus and salvation through Him, the more we encourage people to drift away from God.  The purpose of the Church is to not affirm people where they are so they may discover their own spiritual path.  The purpose of the Church is to give witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The whims and trends of our age will pass away and will be forgotten.  The Risen Christ will remain throughout eternity. Let us continue to witness to the One who will stand forever, long after the things of human invention have vanished

Christ Is Risen!  He Is Risen Indeed!

Pr. Hatcher

 The Easter Sermon of   John Chrysostom

Pastor of Constantinople (~400 AD)

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen! © Gary Hatcher 2013