Grace, mercy and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
April was the month that winter did not want to let go. Reminds me of the 2nd verse of the hymn “Come you Faithful”.
'Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days' sleep in death
as a sun hath risen;
all the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.
It was written by John of Damascus (c. 675-749 CE). He had an unusual childhood for someone who would be remembered for writing Christian hymns. John’s father was a Christian who served as the chief financial adviser to the Caliph Abd-el-Melik, the man who built the magnificent Jerusalem mosque, the Dome of the Rock. John grew up in a wealthy household and, when his father died, assumed his father’s role as advisor to the Caliph.
However, John felt a spiritual call that led him to renounce his wealth and retire to Mar Saba, a Greek Orthodox monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley near Jerusalem. He spent the rest of his life there, and became famous for his writings, preaching, and hymns. This hymn begins with a celebration of the Exodus—the great miracle that freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. It speaks of God bringing “Israel into joy from sadness” and recounts Israel’s journey through the Red Sea to freedom. It then moves to a celebration of Christ’s resurrection—the freedom that he achieved from his tomb of death. It then calls us to sing “Alleluia” in praise of Christ, “our King immortal,” God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
For 6 Sundays we have heard stories of appearances, and Jesus’ claims of being the Easter shepherd and the Easter vine. On the 40th Day – Ascension (which by the way always falls on a Thursday) Jesus is seated at the right of the Father and is judge of the living and the dead. On the 50th Day – Pentecost, May 20, the community of Christ celebrates the fulfillment of the promise of Christ to send to us the power which raised him up from death to life – the Holy Spirit. On that day we will be blessed with the presence of the Tarnished Brass whose ministry is one of music to the church.
On Memorial Day Weekend, May 27, we celebrate – not a doctrine of the Church – but a relationship: God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit -bound in love, binding us together in the mystery of that love.
“All the winter of our sins” has gone and we welcome the loving embrace of our Lord and God in Word and Sacrament.