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:
Christ is risen. Alleluia! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! This is the traditional Easter salutation. The joy of Easter is joy in Our Lord's resurrection. Easter joy is joy in Our Lord. It is inseparable from Him. Christians rejoice because Christ is risen. Christians rejoice because in Christ shall all be made alive. In Christ. These are the sustaining words of Easter. In Christ. Our own resurrection is with Him. Our joy is that we are risen with Him. With Him. These are also the sustaining words of Easter. With Him.
In Him. With Him. He in us. We in Him. He with us. We with Him.
Union with Our Lord is the secret of the joyful life after death, and it is the secret of the joyful life before death. In his Presence is the fulness of joy.
This union is not a state which can only be enjoyed by the saints. The saints have the greatest capacity for enjoying it. But we who are not saints have the capacity for enjoying within our own limitations. And we are called to be saints. As we grow in grace, our realization of our union with Our Lord deepens, and our joy increases. But all the while the union is a reality. Our Baptism made it that. For in Baptism we were made members of Christ.
Our Communions stablish and strengthen and settle that union. For by Communion He dwells in us, and we in Him.
Our life is hid with Christ in God, by virtue of our Baptism and our Communions. We are in Christ now. We are with Christ now.
The meaning of Christmas is that we have this union.
The meaning of Passion-tide is that Redemption saves this union. The meaning of Easter is that the Resurrection perpetuates it.
The meaning of the mysteries of the Incarnate Life is that sin is conquered and death is vanquished and the union is preserved. That is the joy.
Our joy today is to be in Christ. The joy of the Saints is to be in Christ. The joy of the faithful departed is to be in Christ. The union of each is the Communion of all in the joy of being in Christ. For in Him shall all be made alive.
We who are in the flesh now are in the stage of probation. We are being proved and tried and tested. Our chief business is overcoming sin. Sin is our present enemy. So all our energies are concentrated in this particular conflict. But as we struggle we are in Him. It is in this union that we have strength. In His victory we shall share. He has conquered sin. He will conquer sin, in us, through us, for us, by us, with us. His Grace is sufficient.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. There will be no uncertainty about that. But just now we are engaged in the conquering of the first enemy, which is sin. What we want now is the first victory. When the time comes for the last victory we shall have no difficulty in passing through the doors of everlasting life. Our Risen Lord has opened wide the gates.
So Easter is the day of the union that cannot be broken. We live in union with Our Lord. We live in union with the saints. We live in union with those whose union with us has been God's gift to us in the human relationship which His Providence has ordered and His Blessing has made holy and happy. And we shall live forever and forever and forever. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Affectionately in Our Lord,