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My dear family in Christ,

 

Can you believe we are already to the 6th Sunday of Easter?  This Easter has been a truly wonderful time, not least because we are now beginning to emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic.  That does not mean, of course, that we are throwing caution to the wind and living recklessly.  It does mean that we are experiencing a renewal of freedom, and we always use that freedom in a manner informed and constrained by the law of love.  Our collect and readings, each in their own way refer to the love of God and our response to that love.

During the season of Easter, we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In our collect, we petition God to increase our love for Him, loving Him in all things and above all things.  We pray this prayer to God who has prepared good things for those who love Him, good things that surpass our understanding.  We, as the children of God, are able by God’s grace to love.  God sheds forth His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  We are only able to love God as we should by God’s enablement.  It is almost as if we are musical reeds making a rapturous melody because it is the breath of God that animates our song.

This love of God is all pervasive.  The Father loves the Son with an infinite, perfect love.  Because we have been incorporated into the body of Christ, the Father now loves and accepts us the same way He loves the Son.  We love the Son because the Son died to save us, and because we love the Son, we also love the Father because the Father sent the Son for us.  We all love one another because we are all embraced by the Son.  We demonstrate our love for God by loving one another.  In fact, to love one another is to love God.

Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry puts it this way:  The Way of Jesus is the Way of Love; and the Way of Love changes the world.  Love is our response to God’s intervention on our behalf.  Love is both an unmerited gift from God and an expression, performance, and action from our whole person, enabled by grace.

Divine love is not merely a private mystical experience disengaged from real life in the world;  real love is expressed in concrete actions, in labor, in laughter, and tears.  Christian mission is the Love of God made tangible in those we love.  Some of the ways we demonstrate this love at Christ Church is in catechizing and mentoring our children and youth, offering pastoral care through our clergy or Stephen Ministry, providing opportunities for fellowship and socialization through our ministries of hospitality, reaching out to those who are hungry and poor through our Thrift Shop and Lord’s pantry, and by worshiping God and edifying one another in our common worship.  These are only a few of the ways that we demonstrate God’s love and I pray that we as a community will always be open to creativity and embrace new ways to love one another.

Let us always be ready to walk in love as Christ walked in love.

Grace and Peace,

Robert +

Useful Links:

Lectionary page for 2020:

https://www.lectionarypage.net/CalndrsIndexes/Calendar2021.html

The Online Book of Common Prayer:

https://www.bcponline.org

State of Florida COVID-19 page:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseasesandconditions/COVID-19/

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page:

http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html/

Diocesan of Southwest Florida Covid-19 Page:

http://episcopalswfl.org/covid.html/