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Victorious God of deliverance & life: An Easter Vigil reflection
April 23, 2011, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Sermons | Tags: , , ,

Genesis 1:1—2:4a  Creation

Genesis 7:1–5, 11–18; 8:6–18; 9:8–13  Flood

Exodus 14:10–31; 15:20–21  Deliverance at the Red Sea

Isaiah 55:1–11  Salvation freely offered to all

Jonah 1:1—2:1  The deliverance of Jonah

Daniel 3:1–29  Deliverance from the fiery furnace

 

NEW TESTAMENT READING  Romans 6:3-11

GOSPEL  John 20:1-18

This is the night! This is the night! Tonight, in symbol and story, we declare God’s power and victory for us! We gathered in darkness, remembering the darkness into which Jesus entered. Jesus suffered abandonment and death, and was buried and swallowed up into hell. In the midst of this darkness came new light. This new light spread and grew in strength as we heard the witnesses of the ages declare God’s work throughout history, and finally in the most decisive victory in the risen Jesus. Tonight’s readings from the Old Testament witness to a God who is victorious in providing deliverance and life even in the most dire circumstances. In Genesis, God creates all that is out of nothing. When creation goes astray, God begins again from a portion of what was first created. In Exodus, God leads the people out of slavery in Egypt, fighting for the freed slaves so that they are victorious over the well-trained and equipped army of the Pharoah. In Jonah, God saves the prophet from death in the sea and recalls Jonah to his work, providing the people of Nineveh an opportunity for repentance. In Isaiah, God declares the gift of life that is offered to all people, without price. In Daniel, God protects the faithful Jews from the deadly heat of the fiery furnace. Our God is a worker of deliverance and salvation! Tonight, we hear the great story of God’s work to bring life and salvation to all of creation. This history finds its center and clearest revelation in Jesus’ death and resurrection for us. Jesus, who was betrayed, arrested, humiliated, killed, and buried, is raised from death into life. God gives life even to those who have already died! Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! We are wrapped up into this great story through our baptism. In baptism, you are claimed as one of God’s chosen people, one of those for whom God works miracles of deliverance and salvation. In baptism, you are united with Jesus in that great moment of transition from death into life. Your story becomes that of the generations before, who have experienced the power of God to bring life in the face of death. In fire and candles, water and word, bread and wine, we declare the great history of salvation. God continues to work today among us. God is the victorious granter of life and salvation for the whole world. Sign, story, and sacrament are here for you, so that you might know and experience the salvation God is giving to you.

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