Messages from Pastor Raddatz
April 12, 2020 Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston, TX Easter Sunday
Dear People of Mount Olive,
Who ever thought we would not be in church on Easter? Due to the COVID-19 virus we worship Christ in our homes. We want to follow all the safety precautions to stop the spread of the virus, but we do not want to stop the spread of the Angel’s message: “HE HAS RISEN! HE IS NOT HERE…He is going ahead of you!”
We proclaim CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!
I write this letter to you to give you the message of the Angel. The Angel was a witness to the power of the risen Christ over death and the grave. The word “angel” means messenger.
Mark 16:1-16 is the passage that guides us. Jesus was crucified on Friday and his body was hastily buried due to the beginning of the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath began on Friday at Sundown. It was a time when the Jewish believers were to rest from their work. God calls us to rest from our work, specially during this season. He calls us to turn away from our own power and turn to God. This is repentance.
Where do we see Christ risen today? We hear the risen Jesus in his word. As our eyes read the words in the Bible, we rejoice that these are the words of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, in the NIV reads, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. Scripture means the Bible. The Epistle (Letter) reading for this Easter Sunday tells us what happened to us since Christ arose, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
We also see Christ in art and music that draw us to the cross. What is it about the cross? Why do we hear Pastoral messengers talk about the cross so frequently? It is because the cross must always be the center of our theology, the focal point of our life. A God who has not been crucified on your behalf would do you no good. Look through the angel’s eyes and see that Jesus is the Crucified One, put to death for your sins.
Of course, the resurrection is essential too! You and I need to see through the angel’s eyes that Jesus was raised for our justification. Though Jesus remains hidden from our physical sight, He has continued to send us angels (messengers) ever since His resurrection to testify to His presence among us.
At his resurrection Jesus sent out His Apostles to be His messengers, to preach he Gospel to all creation. No, nobody will probably call you “ANGEL EYES” but we carry his message where we go, we can share it, but it is best to LIVE IT. I like the way the Apostle Paul put it in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (ESV).
“Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words” -St. Francis of Assisi. Right now, during this pandemic, the kindest thing we can do for others, may be to be apart. Remember, nothing will ever separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:39)!
May our lives be a living witness to God’s goodness,
Pastor John Raddatz, Vacancy Pastor
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