Tree of Life

We are still in Eastertide in the Church Year.  It is a season of new life, resurrection, and hope, and as I gaze out my window at the blue bird darting among the branches of our olive tree in full leaf and flower, I wonder at the cold temperatures we are experiencing at this time of year.  Nature has a way of surprising us.

But the Church Year is certain with no surprises, the progression from Advent to Christmas, Lent to Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, the long summer and fall of Trinity, the return to Advent.  Through this liturgy of church seasons we sing of God’s love for us, his constant watching and caring.  He pulls us through our own time and into his, through his Body, the Church.  He is constant and steady, an unfailing lover.

Our Diocesan Synod met this week, and it was good to be with fellow Anglicans from other states, other parishes.  It was so good to see old friends and make new ones, to hear how God had worked miracles in their lives.  It was good to share meals, worship together in the Mass, and conduct the business of the Diocese with reports and plans for the future.  We also were nourished in soul by Father Seraphim Hicks from Nazareth House Apostolate, who spoke to us on prayer, our walk with God, our communion with God.  The Anglican Province of Christ the King has been blessed with many Godly clergy and parishioners, and this yearly meeting is a time of encouragement within the Body of Christ.

So in this cold Eastertide, we, like Mary Magdalene in the garden on that Easter morning, reach for the resurrected Christ through his body on earth. We want to touch God, to warm our hearts, and we do so through the greatest prayer of all, the Eucharist.  And it is through the Church that the Eucharist is effected, this mysterious presence of Christ in the bread and the wine.  It is through the Church that we touch Christ in the garden of his tomb.  We become like Mary Magdalene, as we meet Our Lord in the Mass. And in this meeting we know him.

As we worshiped this morning at Saint Peter’s I thought of the many I love who I saw in the last few days at the Synod.  I thought how the Eucharist wove us together, that the supper instituted by Christ on Maundy Thursday so many years ago, today continued to pull us together like those leaves on the branches outside my window.  We flowered together from the same vine, in full green leaf, like my olive tree outside, and the Holy Spirit moved among us just like the bird, encouraging us, urging us with his song.  At the solemn Pontifical Mass on Saturday, thirty robed priests, led by the thurifer, torchbearers and crucifix, processed down the red carpet of Saint Peter’s and we sang as though with one voice, “Alleluia, sing to Jesus…”  Last in line came our Archbishop with his shepherd’s staff.  Through the shepherding, through the prayers, through the action of God through his Church, we were one.

This morning we again touched Christ in the Eucharist, full flower in our sanctuary.  Then we gathered together in the fellowship hall to celebrate a baby soon to join us, a new member of our flock.  Soon there will be a baptism to sing about, and another leaf on our green tree of life growing through time and space, nourished by Christ.

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