John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived therefor. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour. And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

Christ is risen, and thou art cast down. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life flourisheth. Christ is risen, and there is none dead in the tombs.

For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of them that have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I am behind in my blogging and had originally written this quote from John Chrysostom for Easter, it seems to me to be appropriate to post it tonight before the weekly Resurrection day, Sunday. Read and celebrate the Resurrection tomorrow and rejoice that our souls have a true anchor.

A day to remember

I have really been meaning to get back to my blog. It has not been out of a lack of a desire but trying to work with a new schedule, a new job, really a new way of life. Last week I was in New York City from Wed to Sat working five jobs. We were staying out side the city in the area of The Meadowlands and had to drive out of the city each day and back in each morning, The week before that I was in Boston for 3 days (1 day off to see my friend and fellow pastor Rick Downs and to fulfill one of my all time wishes to see a game at Fenway. Turned out to be the Sox and the Yankees the only trouble is that the Yankees won which is bad news no matter what Gary Collier, Rod Culbertson and Resseguie say. The story of my ticket and the people I sat with is a blog entry in itself. Maybe one day I will post it.

Today is a good day to restart because today marks the beginning of the 37th year that Debbie and I have been married. Today is our 36th wedding anniversary. As I reflect back it has been a wonderful 36 years. Debbie and I from time to time have looked back and noted the good year and the difficult years. There is no doubt that the good ones out number the difficult one. God has given us three wonderful children, all three have presented their own joy, sorrows, challenges and adventures. We have had the privilege of serving 4 congregations (including our first with RUF at USC) over our 30 years in ministry.

For me, however, my main thoughts today are on my wonderful wife. Though it was almost 40 years ago I remember seeing her for the first time. Beautiful red hair, with a wonderful smile wearing a red shirt that said “Young Life Tonight, Bring Your Own Life”. I cannot begin to tell the number to times our Father has used this wonderful woman to rescue me in so many ways. There are so many memories with her that can bring a smile, a laugh or tears if I think of them long enough.

In looking at our good years and our difficult years, it is easy to say that the past year has been one of the most difficult. Those who have been asked to leave a ministry will understand that. It has been  a year of multiple questions, emotions, arguments, embraces and I know that throughout this year God’s great gift to me in working through it has been with beautiful red-headed girl.

As we look to the next year, the future is not all that clear. Often times we think that it is but God really has a way of getting us to trust him and to finally admit there is very little in our lives that we control. Our only hope is in relinquishing all that control to him. But I know that he has given me this wonderful woman to help me in coping when things seem out of control.

The writer of Proverbs says: “Rejoice in the wife of your youth”. We are no longer young (though certainly not old!), but I still rejoice in her. What a precious gift.