Following His resurrection Jesus was here on earth for forty days before He ascended into heaven. During those days the Lord appeared to literally hundreds of people. In I Corinthians 15:1-11 St. Paul made reference to several of those eyewitnesses to the resurrection. It is most enlightening to consider the changes that took place in the lives of those men and women who saw the risen Lord. Christ has the power to transform hearts, minds, and lives.
Christ transformed unstable people. Simon Peter is a good example of such a person. It was Jesus who gave Simon the fisherman the nickname Peter or Cephas. This nickname means rock, which is rather ironic because Simon was anything but a rock. Peter was no Peter, i.e., a rock. Instead he was impulsive, boisterous, boastful, yet fearful. In a word, Peter was unstable, more like sand than a rock. This was dramatically revealed on the night of Christ’s arrest when Peter abandoned Christ and repeatedly denied that he knew Him after swearing that he would die for Christ just a few hours earlier.
But what a change is seen in Peter after he met the risen Lord. On the Day of Pentecost Peter stood and preached Christ without flinching. He was arrested and beaten, but continued to preach the Gospel of Christ. Finally, Peter was himself crucified for the faith. Christ can transform unstable people into solid rock.
We are also told that Jesus appeared to the twelve. Among them were the brothers James and John. Jesus had also given them a nickname; Boanerges, meaning sons of thunder. The Lord gave them that name after they spoke of calling down fire from heaven on a certain Samaritan village that would not welcome the Lord. James and John are also the two who asked Christ for the seats of honor on His right and left hands in His Kingdom. These brothers were quick tempered, proud, ambitious to the point of being willing to trample on others. In short, James and John were very self-centered men.
They too were transformed by the risen Lord. James became the first of the apostles to be martyred for the faith. John became known as the apostle of love.
St. Paul mentions another James in the 7th verse of I Cor. 15. This James was one of Jesus’ younger brothers. James was a skeptic who refused to believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. In fact James thought that Jesus had lost His mind and had become delusional.
After James met the risen Lord he was transformed from a skeptic to a strong believer. He became the head of the church in Jerusalem and in the Epistle of St. James he referred to himself as, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, even skeptics have been and will continue to be changed by the risen Christ.
Finally, St. Paul wrote of himself. In his earlier years Paul had hated Jesus and His followers the Christians. Paul, then called Saul, was at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He then went on a rampage arresting and imprisoning Christians. It was while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest more believers that Paul was confronted by the living Lord, Jesus Christ.
Christ transformed this hater of Christ into the great apostle St. Paul. Paul devoted the remainder of his life to traveling throughout the Roman Empire telling people about Jesus. At the end of his days this man who once persecuted Christians was executed for being one himself.
What accounts for these dramatic transformations? Thousands upon countless thousands have also been transformed. The only answer is the grace of God revealed to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As St. Paul said of himself, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” (I Cor. 15:10) Christianity is not a system of ethics and morals, or of rules and regulations. Grace is unmerited favor granted to those who have faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. And through this grace Christ continues to transform lives today.
by Rev. F. M. Levi
Annual Parish Meeting
Our Annual Parish Meeting was held after church on Sunday, March 5, 2006. The meeting was preceded by a luncheon, which all enjoyed. Thank you to Mike Acke for getting the sandwiches and salads, etc. and the ladies for making deserts. Reports by committee chairmen and department heads and treasurers were read and discussed. And elections for the year were held.
Senior Warden – Edwina Greco
Vestry 2004 – 2007
Vestry 2005 – 2008
Vestry 2006 – 2009
We thank those who prepared soup, bread and salads for the Wednesday evening suppers during Lent.
Service is in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. on April 14, 2006.
Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall
April 16, 2006. The service of Holy Communion begins at 10:30 a.m. We hope that all of you will be with us as we celebrate our Lord’s RESURRECTION!
Missionary of The Month
Rev. and Mrs. William Jerdan (Diane) and their children Stephanie, Daniel, Benjamin, Jonathan. Montpellier, France.
Renee June Hassert was baptized on Sunday, March 12, 2006. Her parents are Derrick & Sara Hassert.
April 1, 2006
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