April, 2013 – A Seminarian’s Letters Home

To the membership of Circle of Faith Parish:

Greetings to you all from Pennsylvania! Welcome to what is known in Christianity as the Great Fifty Days. From Easter to Pentecost, we live in the season of Easter. Alleluias are everywhere, as is the joyful music of resurrection. White and gold adorn our altars, our vestments, and our churches. The paschal candle burns every Sunday throughout this time. We have followed Christ through the wilderness and have come out of the tomb with him into the dawn of new life and freedom. Finally, Easter is here!

Early Christians did not have the practice of celebrating Easter sunrise as we do now. That tradition came about in the 16th century, a gift from our brothers and sisters in the Moravian Church. The Moravians taught us to rejoice as the sun was rising, as the light was spreading throughout the world and the shadows were fleeing. The way ahead was not yet fully clear, but hope and new life had come about, and things were getting better by the minute. So, too, we as Circle of Faith are not yet fully what God intends us to be. But we are on the way. Christ is bringing new life, new zeal and new hope to birth all around us, and will lead us onward to fulfill the promises of Easter. Alleluia, Christ is risen! And Christ will come again.

Journeying forward into the great fifty days of Easter, let us pray for God’s blessing, using these words:

Almighty God, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. Give us also the joys of life in your service, and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. [ELW, The Resurrection of our Lord]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Your fellow member and pilgrim,
Carl P. Rabbe
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia