Filed under: Sermons, Uncategorized | Tags: bible, easter, easter vigil, salvation, this is the night, witness
This is the night!
In which we gather to hear the generations witness to God’s work among them.
In our six readings from the Old Testament, we hear their witness through stories shared throughout the ages. Their voices speak to us, our children’s hands have presented a vision for us, and through them God’s action is revealed. From creation to the valley of dry bones, God gives life. From the Red Sea to the fiery furnace, God saves and protects. From the promise of the rainbow to the covenant of David, God makes promises and fulfills them.
If these stories weren’t enough to prove God’s love and life-giving power, we welcome the central story of our faith, the story of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. Jesus died in faithfulness to God’s mission to bring life to the world. Jesus died to destroy the power of death over you. Jesus rose so that you may live in wholeness.
All the stories of salvation find their center in Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb. This is the central event in which God declares that nothing will stand in the way of God’s work to bring you life, wholeness, and healing. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, God makes Godself known as the one goes to any depths to find you and has the power to raise you up to life.
God is active in our world and in our lives. Today, God gives life. Today, God saves and protects, today God fulfills promise for you. Your witness joins the stories of the generations who have known the power of God. What would be your story of God’s work for you? When have you known God’s power in your life?
The Sacraments, baptism and communion, are events in which God is present and active, at work for you, through simple elements of water, wine, and bread. With humble and broken hands and voices, we offer these gifts to each other. When we celebrate, God works through us.
God became powerfully present for me one autumn morning at Trinity. I had just been told by the council that some people didn’t want anyone but the pastor serving communion. I kept the elements behind the altar rail. But then I realized that although I had tried to present this gift of God in the way some thought was right, I had not thought of how this gift might also be given to me. Would I be forgotten? Tom Cameron was the last one to receive communion that morning. Noticing that no one else had stayed near the rail, no one else had through about my own need to experience God’s grace, Tom reached out his hand and gave to me these gifts of life. Through Tom’s hands and voice, God spoke to me: reminding me that these gifts of God are not just for me to talk about, to distribute to others, but are truly for me.
In baptism, we are drawn up into the community who has known God’s work among them. The stories of the generations who have met God become our stories of meeting God. The love letter God wrote for them become God’s love letter for us. In their witness, our hearts and eyes are opened to recognize how God has worked in our own lives in similar ways. God has both the desire and the power to give you life, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. Jesus died, but God has raised Jesus from the dead. And so, this night we proclaim:
Alleluia! Christ is Risen. Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia.
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