from Peter Poppleton on April 16, 2014
At the Convocation in February, we began our 30th year of Covenant Life in City of the Lord by “Celebrating Our Life, Our History, Our Future.” We’ve continued to celebrate our Life in many ways, including a fantastic retreat for our teens in March and the kids 3rd-6th grade retreat coming up in just a few weeks. And of course we all look forward to the 25th Anniversary of Camp Powell the end of June. The new Community Council has been busy with plans for our Future, developing a leadership conference for each of our branches, and the men’s and women’s retreats this fall.
Although we are very aware that “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the peoples” as we are warned in Isaiah 60, we know that as God’s people we are called to “Arise! Shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Plans for our Future include discerning how the Holy Spirit wants to use us to spread the light of the gospel to those desperately in need of encountering the Lord and experiencing His glory.
In his first Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis encourages us all to believe in the powerful witness of a joyful life, even in the midst of difficult times, which flows from an encounter with the Risen Lord. He opens his exhortation with these words: “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come” (#1)
What better time than Holy Week and Easter to strengthen our resolve to share with others the Joy of the Gospel, through our joyful witness of experiencing God’s saving mercy in our own lives. Focusing on our weakness, or our failure to observe a “good Lent” can rob us of our joy. To help avoid that temptation, you may find these words of wisdom from St. John Chrysostom’s Resurrection Homily a real source of freedom:
“Let all pious men and lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast. Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first, and you the last – receive your reward. You rich and you poor – dance together. You sober and you weaklings – celebrate the day. You who have kept the fast, and you who have not – rejoice today! All of you, enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you, receive the riches of His goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free!”
A Blessed Easter to you all,