Sermon-EASTER Vigil.2013

Easter Vigil (Joint-Parish Service)
preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

On this holiest of nights. Rejoice!

Beloved in the Lord, you have passed from Darkness into Light.

This is the message we have heard from [the Lord] and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn 1.5) And this “is true in him and [even] in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” (1 Jn 2.8) “For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4.6) “And God saw that the Light was good. And God separated the Light from the Darkness.” (Gen 1.4) For “what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6.14) This is what Jesus Himself said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (Jn 12.46) In other words, “The light shines in the darkness, / but / the darkness has not overcome it,” (Jn 1.5) so that even “the people who walked in darkness have seen [this] great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has [this] Light shone.” (Is 9.2)

Dear friends, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” (Rom 13.12) Rejoice!
Or, perhaps you think that you are not part of these “enLightened ones”. That somehow God's Light, His gracious gift of Christ, has not or cannot shine in you. Perhaps you think you are so darkened by sin / or you are living in such evil darkness that no light, no matter how divine, can possibly penetrate it, and reach you.

O you of little faith, here the Word of the Lord, which David sung to the Lord when He experienced those same doubts:
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall
cover me,
    and the light about me / be night,” //
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Rejoice / all you doubters. Rejoice / all you sinners. Rejoice all you ignorant and wise alike. / Rejoice all you choirs of angels. Rejoice all you saints, you heavenly host.
Enter into the same House,
sing of the same grace.
Gather about the same altar,
worship the same King.

For this night / is no night. For this night is the holiest of nights in which the Light of the world came beaming out of the darkened tomb, shattering the three hour darkness, setting the captives free, damning the demons, and “entering once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9.12) for all whom He has created.

Rejoice. He has created you. He has redeemed you. He has even come this holy night, to this holy place, to sanctify you wholly. Rejoice.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, / to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3.20-21)

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