Beloved in Christ,
During the season of Easter the Church invites us to consider the means of our sanctification. That is to say, how God makes us holy. The readings that we hear each Sunday in Easter are instructive, of course, but so is the liturgy. Particularly the Collects, the short prayers that we say at the beginning of each liturgy. Consider, for example, the Collect for Easter Day:
Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: We humbly beseech thee, that as by thy special grace thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect…
This short prayer illumines the wonderful reality of Easter. Namely, that Christ has “over come death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life.” During Easter we think about how it is we enter through that gate and walk in newness of life.
It is, of course, only as we cooperate with the grace of God which both causes us to desire the good and gives the strength to do it. Again, the Collect for the Second Sunday after Easter is instructive:
Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life…
In other words, salvation is at once a gift and an invitation. On the one hand the sin that drives us from God is dealt with for good. On the other hand we are invited to follow Christ’s example by daily walking in “the blessed steps of his most holy life” according to the measure of God’s grace that we have received.
One day this past winter after a huge snowfall we dressed the children up and sent them into the backyard to play. Charlotte, Grace, and Joseph took off bounding through the snow but little Samuel, being two, struggled to keep up. His tiny legs disappeared in the snow, it was just too deep for him!
So, I put on my snow gear and headed outside. And I went before him, trudging through the snow. And then I watched him very carefully placing foot after foot into the prints that I had set for him, following a trail that I had already broken in.
By his death and resurrection Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and death for life with God. And as we follow in his footsteps, walking the trail that he has already broken in for us, his grace is at work in us making us more like him. This Easter, stay near to Jesus and allow the power of his resurrection to make you new, bit by bit.
Yours in Christ,