Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Gospel for Easter 4 is the heart of our Lord's farewell discourse, and at it's center is the analogy of the woman in the pangs of child birth. This puts the picture of giving birth at the center of our Lord's teaching on the Holy Spirit. But really is it any surprise?
In John 1:12-13, those who receive the light, those who see and are enlightened, are given the right to become children of God, born "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
In John 1:32-34, the He who has the Holy Spirit remaining with Him is He who is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is associated with being a son of God. As John the Baptist proclaims: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
In John 3, our Lord says that only those who are born again/from above, born of water and the Spirit, will see the kingdom of God. And this leads into a discussion with the Samaritan woman about the true children of God will worship God in Spirit and Truth. If you take the word and epexegetically, you get something like unto John 14 and 16, where the Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit that is Truth, who will be made available and give life through the Word of God, through the Words of Jesus (John 6:53). And that Spirit of Truth will teach the sons of God and cause them to remember all the Jesus has spoken to them, his Words (John 14:26). Thus, the Spirit who remained with Jesus while He was with the Disciples (John 1:32-34), now makes Jesus to remain with the Disciples while He is with the Father (John 19:25-27; John 20).
In John 8, the Jews question Jesus about His Father, his genealogy. Our Lord flips this on the Jews and questions whether they are in fact the offspring of Abraham. For if they were truly the offspring of Abraham, they would do what Abraham did, which is rejoice to see Jesus' day. Abraham rejoiced and saw that day when the Father gave the word of promise to provide THE lamb for the burnt offering. Abraham kept the Word, which is Spirit and life (John 6:53). Thus whoever keeps Jesus' Word will never see death (8:50).
In John 9, the man born blind truly sees the Son of Man when he washes in the pool of Siloam.
In John 19, just before our Lord hands down the Spirit, he makes the beloved disciple the son of Mary the mother of Jesus (John 19:25-27).
All of this is to fulfill the Scriptures. For after the fall into sin, even though the woman's pain in childbearing would increase, God would give the seed born of the woman to crush the head of the serpent (the word for pain in Genesis 3 of the LXX is the same as John 16). Then in Genesis 4, Eve gives birth to Cain and says "I have gotten a man (ἄνθρωπον διὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, LXX) through the Lord." And as the hour of our Lord's glorification comes, the Roman governor proclaims "Behold, the man" (ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρωπος; John 19:5). In other words: Look, see, this is the man promised to Eve.
The Holy Spirit then is pictured, in John at least, as the one who gives birth to Christians. The Holy Spirit is pictured as our mother.
And so, I think this changes the way we should understand John 16:5-15, especially the words παράκλητος and ἐλέγχω. I don't think they carry the judicial overtones of advocate and conviction, but rather more personal, so that what the Paraclete will do for the disciples and all Christians is what a mother does for her children. Mothers do more for her children than anyone else. Whatever the need, she can always be called upon to answer the need. For that is what the paraclete means: answering calls and needs when called upon. In giving birth, mothers feed, console, comfort, exhort, help, plead, and defend whenever called upon to do so. This is the picture John gives us of the Holy Spirit. It is also a picture that Paul gives:
"For our appeal (παράκλησις) does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
"For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted (παρακαλοῦντες) each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory." (1 Thess 2:3-13)
The word παράκλητος in John doesn't carry a judicial connotation, Neither, therefore, does the word ἐλέγχω. It should be understood in the same what it is used in Matthew 18:15 and Leviticus 19:17, which has the aim of showing fault with a view toward understanding, enlightenment, reconciliation. It is the act of a friend, of a brother, not a judge. It is what a mother does for her children. She studies her children to find out how she may effectively correct their faults and improve their character. She doesn't try to convict her children. She tries to make her children see so that they'll convict themselves, so that she can guide them nurture them into all the truth.
The nurture of the Spirit is not a grievance it has against the world, but a gift it is giving to the world. He enlightens, He shows the world with regard to sin inasmuch as unbelief in Jesus is the root of all sin. That is to say, the Spirit, the Paraclete is called upon to help and comfort and encourage when our conscience cries out "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." With regard to righteousness, inasmuch as we no longer see Jesus because He went to the Father. That is to say, the Spirit, the Paraclete is called upon to help, comfort, and encourage by showing us the righteousness of Christ, which is declared to be ours because of His death, resurrection, and ascension. For where the Spirit is there is the Son of God, where the Spirit is there is the Word of God (John 6:53). With regard to judgment, inasmuch as the prince of this world has been judged. That is to say, the Spirit, the Paraclete is called upon to help, comfort, encourage by giving us freedom from the accuser to love our neighbor because God has first loved us. The Paraclete is called upon to help, encourage, and comfort by taking what belongs to our Lord and declaring it to us, making it ours. As a mother does for her children.
And all of this gives birth in us the life of the Spirit, the life of faith, the life of prayer. For we are no longer born children from this world, but born from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Ask, therefore, call upon the one who helps in times of need. And you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The date is next Tuesday, May 1 and full conference information is here.
Emma wrote: "These kinds of things always make me thankful for how high-functioning John (John is our youngest son, 15) is and how wonderful St. Paul's (John attended elementary school at St. Paul's in Ft. Wayne, and yes, they were wonderful to us and to him) has been. But I think this video is going to go viral soon and people will be aware of the kinds of abuse that can happen in the classroom, especially one in which the children can't communicate to their parents.
Here is my response:
Yes, this is very sad. Fortunately for us and for John, this could never happen to
him. He is vulnerable to other things, but not this. Thank God for that.
The school made a serious, but certainly well-intentioned, tactical error in creating a classroom with all autistic children who couldn't communicate. The teacher and aides discovered they wasn't any accountability for insults and inappropriate remarks.. One virtuous, no, make that one normal, decent," adult would have put a stop to it. But instead, the adults, free of accountability, fell victim to their baser desires - like guards at Auschwitz.
In some ways I am actually sympathetic to the adults. I can imagine that it was a very difficult environment. 20 kids like Aiken would exhaust a teacher and aide. These kids are demanding. They don't respond in appropriate ways. They don't say thanks. They don't seem to make any progress. The parents are probably mostly a mess and also demanding. These two adults probably had high ideals and wanted to help the children. Btu they got thrown into this classroom and came to resent their students. The constant crying,
hitting, the lack of affection, and so forth overcame them. Then one of them lashed out, verbally, at a kid. The other one was shocked for a second then laughed and they both realized that there would not be any consequences. They could do and say most anything because the kids couldn't tell anyone. They just had to keep up appearances. So they lashed out more and more. The dad had it exactly right: they didn't respect their students. They treated them like furniture. I expect that they felt hurt by the kids - by the crying, the complaining, and the lack of affection - so they try to hurt the kids with words and the fact that it probably didn't always work probably made it worse, or when they could get a rise, our of a kid like Aiken, they might have poured it on all the more.
Don't get me wrong. This is evil. It breaks my heart to think of those kids enduring this. I believe that they did hurt Aiken and others even though Aiken and the others couldn't express it. Words have power. They hurt. They should be fired, absolutely. But I can understand how they fell, how easy it would be. And in the
editted audio there were a few glimpses that indicated they were trying some. We heard some stuff about what day it is and an attempt to be excited and to communicate with difficult children.Similar incidents have been recorded in nursing homes and with coma patients.
The error, it seems to me, was to create a classroom of all autistics. I don't know but I'd be surprised if the teacher and aide didn't have a fair amount of training and experience. Once again, we see that education doesn't overcome evil. But I don't think this would have happened in a class room of Down Syndrome
children. Because Down Syndrome kids are sweet. They hug, they smile,etc. It was particularly foolish to put all autistics into one room.
The question always comes up regarding the concentration camps. Howcould this happen? How could men do this to one another? I think the answer is this: it always happens when we think we can get away with
it. The guards so no consequences to their inhumanity. They were in power and there was no threat to the power anywhere. So they fell to their baser desires, they became what we all are in our fallen hearts.
This is why we need the first use of the Law and why the Law is good for us. We need the threat of punishment and shame to keep us from acting out our baser desires. God spare us from every being students in that classroom, in a nursing home without someone looking out after us, to be prisoners, or, worst of all, to be the guards/teachers/aides who do those things.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
"What happens to the sheep who has the Lord as its Shepherd is that once it has been led from green pastures through dark valleys, it is guided, eventually, up to the house of the Lord. And we all know why sheep go to the house of the Lord. Now it might be a sheep's highest ambition to end up as a holocaust on the sacrificial altar rather than lamb chops in the butcher's shop. But nothing like that is in the sheep's mind when it pronounces 'the Lord is my Shepherd'" (D.J.A Clines, "Varieties of Textual Indeterminacy," Semeia, 71:1995, p.19).When we think of the Lord as our Shepherd, when we imagine Jesus as the Good Shepherd, it's almost a universally good and comforting thought. But should it be? Only if it is the Shepherd who puts on sheep's clothing to catch the wolf seeking to devour the flock.
But he does that willingly. He doesn't have to. He chooses to do it. He wants to do it. He does it so that He can protect and reclaim what is rightfully His. They are His sheep. They are His fold. They belong to Him. But what is His is in jeopardy. Thus, the Good Shepherd takes back what is His so that His good name and reputation aren't tarnished. He does it not because of them, but because of Who He is. They aren't just sheep. They are His sheep. To do otherwise is not to be the Lord. What is at stake is the Lord's holy Name, His reputation. "It is not for your sake, O Israel, that I am about to do this, but for the sake of my holy name" (Ezek 34:36).
The Lord takes back His flock as its rightful owner from the hired hands because the hired hands have misappropriated the Lord's property. The bad shepherds are the kings of Judah, who led the people astray through their incompetence and greed, for polluting the house of the Lord with idols and injustice (Ezek 22:1-12).
Thus, God takes back His property. He intervenes to gather all those scattered back together in His fold under His care. "I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them for all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness" (Ezek 34:12).
The Good Shepherd discourse takes place just after the controversy over who is Abraham's offspring during the Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrates God gathering His people to Himself of the rededication of the Temple after Exile (John 7-8). But it also follows the controversy surrounding the healing of the man born blind and his excommunication from the synagogue, a clear usurpation of authority by the Pharisees (John 9). Taken together, this makes a perfect place to speak of the rescue of His people from the places to which they have been scattered (see also Gen 11) from those who have misappropriated the Lord's property for their own gain. (For the Pharisees, it is the law of Moses. What is it for us?)
So, in order to call them back, He laid down His life. For when He was lifted up from the earth, when the sun had failed and darkness covered the land, He drew all to Himself (John 12:32; Matt 27:45). The scattered are back together. There is one Shepherd. He became the Lamb of God so that there would be one flock gathered together in Him and under Him.
And so the sheep are bought with a price. They are not their own. They belong to the Lord. And He will shepherd them according to and for the sake of His holy Name. It's who He is.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
So we've just begun to use Setting One again this year. With daily Divine Service throughout the Octave of the Resurrection, we've sung all or most of that setting half a dozen times already. It offers a refreshing contour in the rhythm of the Church Year, while retaining the integrity of the Mass.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
We’re afraid of being disappointments, of letting our bosses, our loved ones, ourselves down. And so we either work ourselves to death or we never venture out to do anything for fear of failure.
We’re afraid to be alone, but we’re also afraid to be rejected. We’re afraid someone to see us for who we really are, who we are at our core, with no shiny veneer to hide behind. And we’re afraid that they wouldn’t stick around if they did.
We worry about our status among others. We’re afraid of what they might think if, what he would say, what she would do if . . . . And so we lie. We lie about who we are. We lie to impress them, to hide from them, to make them think that we’re someone other than who we really are.
Because of fear, we live for the approval, the affection, the attention, the love of others. And this drives us. It drives us to do outrageous things, to go to extreme lengths to get and to keep what we’re afraid of losing or to avoid that which we fear will ruin us.
- the kingship of Israel as the LORD Himself in terms of shepherding (Ezek 34);
- the land (Ezek 35:1-36:15)
- the whole nation will be resurrected (Ezek 37)
Monday, April 9, 2012
In this vein, Father Petersen recently mentioned that country music is more poetic and imaginative than rock or pop music. Country music also has much more religion in it. That is because country music - especially the forms of it that have not been pushed closer and closer to corporatist pop music - is a variation or outgrowth of the folk music of the Scots-Irish culture of the American South. As a real folk music, it has the religion of the people embedded in it. Remember how shocked pop stations were at the success of [that hideous song] "I can only imagine"? As much as I don't like that particular song, it is precisely the radio on which it should be played, not the chancel. People want a real culture - and every real culture the world has ever known has a good does of religion in it. People want religion on the radio. But in our culture, everything is pieced out: religion here, but not there; religion on this station, but not that. When a secular pop station in Dallas accidentally played that song, they tapped into a market which they had forgotten even existed.
This is one of the hidden problems of bringing the culture into the church - or "contextualization" of the Church as some say: it ironically impedes the bringing of the Church into the culture. Church music should be Church music - but, filled with the dignified, heartfelt, reverent music of the Church, the people's heart will overflow, the thoughts and pieties learned in the idiom of the Church will influence the popular music of a Christian people. But if the popular music influenced by the Church is ghettoized in the Church on Sunday morning (by driving out the Church's own music), what need is there to have it anywhere else? Country music is a shard of the Protestant South's folk music and, as the the music of a Volk, it runs the gamut of that folk's experience: songs of adultery, unrequited love, coal mine disasters, and imaginings of what spending eternity with Jesus will be like. The farther you get from country - Elvis-->Buddy Holly-->Beatles-->Rolling Stones - the less religion you get.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Seven Stanzas at Easter
by John Updike
Make no mistake; if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was nor as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
In truth, that is the legacy that you have inherited from your father Adam and your mother Eve, and if you have any children of your own, it is the legacy that you have handed over to them in turn. Perhaps you have already had to bury your children. Or perhaps you have had no spouse or child at all, which may spare you some sorrow of loss, but maybe it has also left you feeling lonely and alone to begin with. If you do not bequeath the legacy of sin to anyone after you, neither are you any further ahead than those who do.
There still remains death to contend with: in yourself, and in all your loved ones, whatever their relationship to you may be. In Adam, all men die, because all men sin, and so it is with all the children of men. Each and all return to the dust of the ground, as surely as the serpent must crawl across the ground on his belly and eat dust as he goes.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is not spared this pain and sorrow, but she too is cut to the quick and pierced through the heart by the death of her dear Son, just as St. Simeon had prophesied several decades previous. Do not suppose that it was easier for her, or any less painful, just because she knew (or should have known) that it was coming. For every mother who has ever had to mourn the fruit of her own womb, there is a special kinship here to be found in the Mother of God, who stood at the foot of the Cross and watched her Jesus die.
He had been her little Boy, like any mother’s son, whom she had carried and delivered, nursed and diapered, and taught so many things over the years, as He grew and learned. What little games had they played? What smiles had He given her? What bedtime stories and naptime cuddles had they shared? And shall He now be so cruelly put to death before her very eyes, without touching her heart and soul at their core?
Not for nothing does He die, although this Seed of the Woman is the one Man who did not have to perish, the one Son of Adam who was not conceived and born in sin, and who had no sin of His own. For He is the Son of God from all eternity, and He was conceived of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Thus, it was not out of necessity, but solely out of divine and holy love, that He was born of the Woman under the Law, in order to redeem those who were under the Law.
Not only did He become flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood, but He voluntarily took upon Himself the curse and consequences of sin. He became, not only human, but mortal, and He bore all the sins of the whole world in His own Body to the Cross. He dies, then, not for any sins of His own — for He has none — but for the sins of all His mortal fathers and mothers, and for all their sinful mortal children, for all His brothers and sisters in the flesh.
He dies for you and for your sins. And so St. Mary grieves her Son.
What is one to do with grief like that?
You may be tempted to say or suggest that, for the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is surely no big deal. After all, her Jesus doesn’t even stay dead for very long, but He rises again on the Third Day. It all turns out okay, and really much better than “okay,” and everything is fine. All of which is true, but of course it is no less true for you than it is for St. Mary. The joy and hope of her Son’s Resurrection is also for you and for your children. Everything hinges on His death and on His Resurrection from the dead, which are fully accomplished, once and for all, without any iffiness.
Therefore, just as St. Mary shares the same grief as so many other parents before her and after, so do you share the same hope and promise in her Son.
Learn, then, to live in that hope and confidence of Christ Jesus. Not as though death were to be taken lightly or laughed off. Neither Jesus nor His dear Mother laugh at death, which is no joke, nor is it funny, but it is a gross intrusion upon the Lord’s good creation. It is the fruit of sin, and it is vile. But for all of that, it does not get to have the last word, because it has been defeated by this death of Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh and blood.
So, where and how do you now live? Are you still trying to make a life for yourself in this mortal world, even though you are constantly confronted with its futility? Are you attempting to invest yourself in earthly empires, even though you should know that all such enterprises will collapse and fail. Are you hoping to establish a dynasty for yourself and all your sons and daughters of death, despite the fact that none of you will survive this present age?
Where is the house in which you can actually be safe and sound? Where are you truly at home, able to rest in peace? To what household and family do you really belong?
You can go looking and searching for all of these things on your own — and to some extent, that is what all of your restless seeking is after — but you’ll not find it apart from Christ and His Word. Your “destiny” apart from Him is death and the grave, the place of the skull, the dust of the ground, and what is worse, to be cast out and cut off from the presence of God forever.
Sadly, the same legacy of sin that is putting you to death, also turns you away from the Lord your God, even now; away from His tender mercy and His gracious promises.
Adam and Eve took hold of the one thing He had not given, the one thing He had forbidden them, in the hopes of finding something better for themselves than the life they already had in Him. And when they had thus fallen into sin, they tried to run away and hide from Him, and to cover their naked shame with leaves. Cast out of the garden, but given the promise of the Gospel — of the Woman’s Seed who would crush and defeat the serpent and reconcile the world to God — the first man and his bride learned to hope in the Lord and to call upon His Name. But see, already, what their sin has wrought: the Woman brings forth her firstborn son, and she is so optimistic at first, but then he kills his little brother in a jealous rage, and the woman is bereft of her son.
Standing over the hole in the ground where the body of your son or daughter has been laid to rest, and standing at the foot of the Cross with Mother Mary, you are tempted to despair, to anger and bitterness, confusion and fear. You are tempted to cast about for some explanation that will make it make sense, or you are driven to run away and hide. And yet you can’t escape. You’re left with empty hands, an aching heart, a lonely house with too many chairs anymore, and the naked shame of your own sin and your own death.
But the Lord who loves you, dear one, does not willingly grieve the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. He takes no pleasure in death, nor is He nonchalant about your pain. He has subjected His own good creation to such futility in the hope of His own redemption, in the eager anticipation of His gracious adoption of many sons and many daughters, the many brethren of His only-begotten Son, Christ Jesus.
Here, then, is another Seth in place of Abel; a new and better Lamb in the place of Isaac, and in the place of all the firstborn sons of Israel; and a greater Son than Solomon, in place of the week-old little boy of David and Uriah’s wife. Here is the beloved and well-pleasing Son of God, who, as the Son of Mary also, is given and poured out by His Father for all the children of sin and death.
Behold, His garments are removed to clothe and cover you, and in His nakedness He bears your shame. He does not run away and hide, nor does He turn His eyes away from you, but He willingly bears the curse and consequence of sin and lays down His own life in love.
He does not grasp or seize or take, but He receives and eats the bread of affliction from His Father’s hand, so that He Himself becomes your Bread of Life: His Body the Fruit of a better Tree, His Blood the Fruit of this true Vine. Take, and eat, He says. He does not forbid you. Drink, He says. Taste and see. By this Food, freely given by God, for you, for the forgiveness of all your sins, you shall not die, but live.
The Son cares for His Mother, and He entrusts her to a good man who provides for her a house and home. The Lord gives her another son in this man, the beloved disciple, and he shall honor her as a Mother in Christ Jesus. The same Lord Jesus provides for you, as well, in your bereavement and mourning. He does care for the widow and the orphan in distress. He also hears your cries, and He shall not leave you forsaken. He has given Himself for you, and He shall not withhold His goodness from you.
Look around you, even here. These are your mothers and your sons, your sisters and daughters, your fathers and brothers in Christ. Should you not love them, and shall they not love you, in the mercy and compassion of your dear Lord Jesus? You are not helpless or alone. You are not without a home and family. And if you find no need in yourself, then behold the needs of your neighbors, round about you here and elsewhere, and help them.
Who among you has had a miscarriage and now mourns in silent sorrow? Whose parents are ill and dying? Whose job is in danger? Who is overwhelmed and struggling to manage, to get by? Who is drowning in depression and despair?
Who among you stands at the foot of the Cross, waiting upon the Word of the Lord, and wondering (if not worrying) whatever shall become of you now?
Take heart, dear child of God. He has not forgotten you. For you are the disciple whom Jesus loves — He loves you dearly; yes, even you. And not only has He given you to comfort and care for your brothers and sisters in His Name, and for widows and orphans in their distress, but He has also laid you upon the bosom of His Church, to find in her your Mother.
From her font, by the Word and Spirit of God, you have been conceived and born again as a son of God in Christ. And at her festal board, the Son of Mary is still given in the same flesh and blood, like yours, in which He was born for you, and lived and died for you; in which He has risen from the dead for you, and lives and reigns forever at the right hand of His God and Father.
As He has made you a member of His Bride, the Church, the Mother of all the living, and as He has given you a place here in the home of all His beloved disciples, so is your place, your house and home, with Him in heaven.
From “the place of the skull,” you know that He is taken to be laid to rest in the garden. And now, it is right that you should mourn His death, on this day in particular. But not as those who have no hope. For His rest in the tomb is not the end, but a genuine Sabbath Rest, by which He has sanctified the graves of all His saints, including your grave and your children’s.
His departure is not from life into death, but from this vale of tears into Paradise, into the gracious and glorious presence of God. And as He has called you to be His own, and He loves you, so does He bring you with Himself through death into life, and back to an even better garden than your first parents were cast out of.
Even now, you are not found naked, but you are clothed with Christ and His righteousness, so that you have nothing to be ashamed of and no need to be afraid.
Even now, you are fed from the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden, so that, in the midst of mortal life, in the face of death and the grave, though you are dying, yet, behold, you live.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.