Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 1934.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Collect for today supplies us with a list of subjects for Eastertide meditations. If we follow the lines suggested our Easter joy will deepen and our joy will fill our hearts with an unfeigned thankfulness that will not be satisfied with the mere praise of our lips, but will urge us on to show forth our praise in our lives.
The sacrifice for sin was once offered upon the Cross. It is daily continued upon the Altars of His Church.
The ensample given by Our Lord to us is the model for godly life. The directions for following it are simple and adapted to our present circumstances.
The benefit is inestimable. It brings redemption, pardon, release, peace, freedom, joy, new life and endless life with Our Lord in the places which He prepares for us on earth and in the place which He has prepared for us in Heaven.
The following in His steps guarantees progress in the way of His most holy life.
The Collect teaches us to pray for grace, for thankfulness and for perseverence.
If we follow these points through, we shall find the spirit of Eucharistic devotion for Eastertide and for all times. For the centre is the sacrifice. The ensample is Our Lord. The benefit is His Passion. The following is Communion. And thanksgiving runs through the whole transaction. We can trace this so plainly and so easily by the simplest sort of study of the Prayer of Consecration.
"All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption:" God's glory is revealed in this Gift. The glory of infinite love. The glory of measureless compassion. The glory of Divine Condescension. The glory of infinite power, which could offer the sacrifice so full, so perfect, so sufficient as to be the oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. The glory of infinite wisdom which provides the continuous memorial of that precious death and sacrifice, for all men, always, and everywhere, until His Coming again, revealing the timelessness and the universality of Calvary. The glory of the Divine redemption, which lifts the redeemed to the sublime dignity of celebrating and making before the Divine Majesty the memorial the Redeemer commanded to be made, in remembrance of His own blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured thereby. Here we see the triumph of the Cross. The sacrifice glows with Eucharistic light. It is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the only offering perfect in God's eyes, approved by the Father, pronounced finished by the Son. This sacrifice, the redeemed confidently now offer, earnestly desiring the Father to accept it, and most humbly beseeching Him to grant, by the merits and death of His Son, that they and all the whole church may obtain remission of sins, and all other benefits of the passion.
In the Breaking of the Bread, the eyes of the redeemed are opened and they know Him, their Lord and Saviour, their Master and their ensample of the life which is the pattern of holiness and the mirror of perfection.
Eagerly the redeemed press on to follow the adorable redeemer. "And here we offer and present unto thee, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice;" humbly beseeching Him that they may be filled with grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with Him, that He may dwell in them, and they in Him. Into Heaven itself the redeemed follow their Redeemer. For did He not promise that where He is, there they should be also?
To the redeemed it is given to receive the Body of the Redeemer, which makes their bodies clean, and the Blood which washes their souls. To the redeemed is given the Heavenly Food which preserves their bodies and souls unto everlasting life. Alleluia is the Easter hymn, because sin is taken away, death is destroyed, and everlasting life is restored.
Affectionately in Our Lord,