Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 1941
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Collect for today directs our prayer to Our Lord as a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life. The Collect teaches us to pray that we may always most thankfully receive the benefit of the sacrifice, and also daily endeavor ourselves to follow the blessed steps of the example.
The forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting are inseparably bound together. Together they contain the fulness of the Gospel, the good news of Easter. This is the message which rings out through Eastertide.
The second Collect for Easter Day translates the message into prayer. "0 God, Who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by His glorious Resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily from sin, that we may evermore live with Him in the joy of His Resurrection."
The Collect for the First Sunday after Easter continues the Eastertide supplication. "Almighty Father, Who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord."
The regular use of the Eastertide Collects throughout the Forty Days of the Festival will enable us to celebrate with reverence the Paschal feast, that we may be found worthy to attain to everlasting life. Eastertide does not end with Easter Day. On the contrary, our devotion should daily deepen and increase as we approach the climax which we reach on Ascension Day.
It is vitally important that one should observe the whole Christian Year if one would know the whole Christian Religion. Sacraments, prayer, devotion are not only the expressions of the Christian Faith. They are the means, the inspirations and the guides which enable us to attain to the knowledge of the Christian Faith.
Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Spiritual discernment must be cultivated by the exercise of the spiritual faculties. This is the requirement for the attainment of progress in knowledge. One must really live, with all the heart, with all the soul and with all the mind, if one would become proficient in any science or any art. One must love the science or the art which seems worth while.
If it is really worth while, then one must love it sufficiently to make any sacrifice for it. One must be ready to deny one's self the secondary things if one would make the first thing first.
Religion offers a reward that no other science, no other art does or can offer. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
It is a fact that the faith and practise of the Christian religion does liberate all our faculties for attaining the best things that we can imagine or desire. Religion does give inspiration and power to give the best that we have for the best that we know, and the best that we can do for the best that we can attempt. Religion makes every vocation religious.
There are varieties of vocations, there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit works in all and gives dignity to each. One man may be sweeping a street; another may be writing a book. One man may be driving a cab; another may be directing a corporation. One man may be performing a routine duty, unknown and unrecognized; another may be performing a public duty and acclaimed with public praise.
To each man life is worth living, because the same God has put into his mind good desires, and by continual help is enabling him to bring the same to good effect.
Affectionately in Our Lord,