Carolyn’s Sermon for the Vigil of Easter – 4/7/12

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Tonight is the night!

We hear stories about light and fire and water.  These elements have always been critical to human life.  Without them we cannot live. With them, God blesses us and saves us.

When scientists try to determine if there can be life like ours on other planets, they look for light and water.   Then they check the temperature.  The fire from that planet’s sun must produce enough warmth and light for the water to be in liquid form.

The Easter Vigil fire outside St. Mark's before the vigil begins.

Light and fire and water are not just critical for physical life.  They have great symbolic value for us tonight.  Through them, God blesses us and saves us.

In our first reading we hear the creation story.  Light and water are the first two elements in the creation story.  In the beginning there was darkness. And on the first day God said, “Let there be light!”  From the beginning of time, God has declared the light to be good.

On the second day, God separated the waters, and separated earth from the heavens. Throughout the rest of the creation story, God uses the light and the waters to bring forth all the life from the earth, including us.

And we are blessed to share this good and beautiful world with all God’s creatures.

In the next story, God uses water to save us.  The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt and God used Moses to rescue them and bring them out of slavery to the promised land.  God parted the sea so the Israelites could go across on dry land.  Then God was in the pillar of fire and cloud and confused the Egyptian chariot drivers so they got stuck in the mud.  Then the waters returned and covered the entire army.

And we are saved and we all dance with Miriam and her tambourine on the safe side of the sea.

In the third reading for tonight, the prophet Isaiah tells us that God gives all of us the water of life.  Water is a gift to all who thirst, a free gracious gift from God.  Just as the rain and snow come from heaven and water the earth, providing our bread, God’s word goes forth and accomplishes God’s purpose in us.

And we are nourished and saved to bring forth abundant fruit with all those who thirst for God.

The reading from Daniel is about fire.  God saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace.  They walked through the fire and were not hurt because God was with them.  They still had to go through the ordeal, but God went with them.

And we are saved and strengthened by God’s presence to endure the hardship and sorrow in our lives.

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.  She didn’t find the body. Peter and the other disciple went home, but Mary stayed and wept.

She saw Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.  Then he called her by name.  And she knew she was saved.  And she told everyone she had seen the Lord.

Tonight, Jesus calls us by name.  And we are saved.  We were buried with him by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

The Paschal Candle at St. Mark's.

Tonight we built a fire and prayed by candlelight and we will remember our baptism with water.  Through them, God blesses us and saves us.

We lit the Paschal candle, the candle of Easter, from the new fire and we shared the light of Christ.  We will use that candle for baptisms and funerals throughout the year, remembering that Christ has overcome death for us and freed us from our sin.

We are washed in the water and sent to be light for the world.

Go, share the good news!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Let us affirm our baptism in Christ Jesus our Risen Lord.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.