2 Easter, Year One
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) // 4, 7 (evening)
1 John 1:1-10
Yesterday, I read the obituary of a man I haven’t seen in fifteen years. He died at the age of 83. When I was in college, he and I and our priest were the only regular worshipers at the 7am Eucharist on Wednesday mornings during Lent. I had a vague sense that he was behind-the-scenes famous in the film and television industry, and it turns out that he was a very well-known Canadian filmmaker and novelist.
The Eucharist that we both attended was pared down to the bare minimum of words. The only reading was the gospel. In place of a homily, we contemplated the gospel in silence. To conclude the silence, our priest repeated a phrase from the gospel . . . a phrase that always stuck with me like an arrow to the heart. The priest concluded the service with the blessing, asking “to keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God.”
Having worshiped together so early in the morning, so often, sharing silence and a few precious words that kept us in the knowledge and love of God, I have a deep and mysterious sense today of this man’s being in the presence of God. Our gospel this morning helps account for this sense: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Is eternal life really as simple as those Wednesday morning Eucharists, as simple as just knowing God in Christ? Notice that in this gospel verse, eternal life isn’t something we earn or get to somehow, but something we experience by knowing God and Jesus Christ. This Easter season, the passage of one of my closest companions in worship and in the knowledge and love of God is heightening my sense of the eternal life we enjoy here and now.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.