St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist 2003

St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist
1 John 1:1-10

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Love of the Father is shown to us in the Father’s Beloved. The Love of the Father is that Person of the Holy Trinity who took the form of a dove when He anointed the eternal Son for the Sacrifice that makes Him the Messiah in whom alone Love is known. That Love of God toward us was manifested, was shown, in God sending his only begotten Son into the world. The virgin was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. She gave birth to a Son. He is God and Man, God with, and for, us, as one of us. He is the One by whom all things were made and He became Flesh, was made in Mary’s womb our Brother, and dwelt among us to purify, cleanse, and reclaim us, to love us. He is Life, Love, and Light. He has loved us by laying down His life, by being overcome by darkness, by being a guilt-offering for our sin. We, then, who have been baptized into Him, who by Grace confess not just our sin but also Him, who have been cleansed by His Blood, in Him, we are alive. In Him, we are beloved of the Father and the Son and the Spirit. In Him, we have fellowship, live in the Light, with, and by and for and in, that most Holy Trinity.

That is John’s message. It is the message of Christmas and Easter as well. It is the message of the Church, of the Reformation, of the Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs. It is proclaimed to you too would have this fellowship, this holy communion, with the Father and the Son in the Spirit. In that holy fellowship you are united also to John, and to Peter and Paul, and to one another. Communion means: ‘at one with.’

This is impossible Love. It changes everything. It turns brawny, unruly fisherman, even the Sons of Thunder, and conniving tax-collectors into preachers and missionaries, martyrs and prophets. It dissolves ethnic barriers, distinctions of class and sex. For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female. It removes not just the eternal consequence of sin but sin itself. It turns erstwhile sinners into saints and even gives them good works to perform for the benefit of their neighbors.

God became Man to be your Brother. The Father rejected the Son on the cross in order to adopt you into His household. The Holy Spirit has made your heart His temple and your mouth His witness. And if that wasn’t enough, He bids you come, bask in His grace. Hear His life-giving, life-changing words. Feast upon the Bread of Life that bestows and sustains life. Be joined again to Him, be in communion with Him and with one another, for the Word made Flesh makes common bread into that same Flesh. He places Himself in Body and Blood into your frail body for your eternal good. Thus your eyes see the Word of Life. Your hands, or at least your tongues, touch it. And thus has St. John written and your joy is full.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Rev’d David H. Petersen

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