The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
A pantheon of 20th century martyrs surround one of the entrances to Westminster Abbey in London. Among them stands the German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed in the waning weeks of World War II for his role in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler. This April 8 marks the 67th anniversary of his execution. This April 8 also falls on the Church Calendar as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection of the God-man Jesus, almost 2,000 years ago, shot through history in either direction, changing life in this world in immeasurable ways. We live in a reality now in which the daily benediction has become that the grace of Lord Jesus might be with God’s people. This grace calls us to and from extraordinary things, just as it did with Bonhoeffer.
These words bookend the entirety of Scripture, along with Genesis 1:1, proclaiming “…in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We are presented with the platform on which God will unfold an amazing drama of redemption ending with movement of Christ throughout all of human history. His resurrection inaugurated this new creation. This is the grace of Christ, not simply that He saved souls, but that He took everything God willed and intended in the creation story, and saw that it fulfilled its purpose. No death, then, spells the end of life; no broken relationship marks the end of reconciliation; no injustice signifies the end of God’s work in the world.
On a day in which we remember the death of a martyr and celebrate the life of our savior, we are reminded of how intimately the two moments connect. From that first resurrection Sunday all Christian death falls in service to true life, all Christian life is an indication of Christ’s victory over death.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.