Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, 1930.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father." This is the word of Our Lord.
"So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was received up into Heaven." This is the witness of the New Testament.
"He ascended into Heaven." This is the witness of the Creed.
"Jesus Christ Our Lord, after His most glorious Resurrection, manifestly appeared to all His Apostles, and in their sight ascended up into Heaven." This is the record of the Liturgy.
"Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature; wherewith He ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until He return to judge all men at the last day." This is the witness of the Book of Common Prayer.
"For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven." For us men and for our salvation, He ascended into Heaven. "He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all Heavens."
In Heaven Our Lord ever liveth to make intercession for us. He is our Heavenly High Priest. "We have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God." "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace."
As Our Lord ascends as our great High Priest, "He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through Him." As our mediator He makes it possible for us to come boldly unto the throne of grace and to draw near unto God. As our Advocate He transacts our business of reconciliation. He pleads our case and obtains the verdict, by which we obtain eternal redemption by His Blood, even the Blood of the Cross. The heavenly oblation which Our Lord offers is the memorial of His death on the Cross.
On the Cross He offered, for our redemption, the one oblation of Himself, once offered, a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world. In Heaven, His appearing is the appearing of the Saving Victim of the Cross, the lamb sacrificed for our salvation, who hath taken away the sins of the world. The Sacrifice on Calvary lives on in Heaven.
The Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Our Lord on the Altars of His Church on earth is one with the Sacrifice on the Cross. It is the perpetual memory of that, His most precious death and sacrifice. The Sacrifice on Calvary lives on in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In the Eucharistic offering the priest prays "And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood we, and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. The priest at the Altar is the earthly minister of Him who is both Priest and Victim. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Therefore we say "Blessed, praised, hallowed and adored be Jesus Christ on His Throne of Glory, and in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar."
Affectionately in Our Lord,