A digital version of this week’s bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

All gather in silence around the new fire and receive a candle.

Greeting                                                 

PROCESSION

EASTER PROCLAMATION

Prayer of the Day

Word

FIRST READING:  Genesis 1:1-2:4a

FIRST PRAYER

SECOND READING:  Exodus 14:10–31; 15:20-21

SECOND Prayer

THIRD Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11

THIRD Prayer

fourth Reading: Daniel 3:1–29

fourth Prayer

gospel acclamation               Canticle of PRAISE           red book page 187 (set 8)

Gospel: John 20:1–18

HOMILY                                                                                                Pastor Chris Halverson

Easter Vigil: While it was still Dark

 

 

Look out the window for a second

At 7:16pm today, the sun set…

It has set the mood…

 

With this darkness, we are placed where we find Mary,

where Jesus finds Mary.

More than that,

where God most often finds God’s people,

where God most often acts on our behalf—either literally or metaphorically…

From the beginning this is where God acts…

God acts, “While it was still dark.”

While it was still dark.

 

Prayer

 

While it was still dark

—Formless and void

—chaos shaded in gray, waiting impatiently.

In the darkness of the first morning, between nothing and chaos—God acts!

God moves nothing into something and neutrality into goodness.

While it was still dark.

God transforms the formless and trains up chaos!

Light, Sky, Sea, Fecundity, Time, Life, Species, People, Rest…

Look out that windowWhile it was still dark, God acted.

 

While it was still dark, there on the bank of the sea.

People afraid, crying out as the Egyptians pressed forward,

people prepared to die.

On the banks there, a strange darkness

—God a fearful sight, horrific the Angel of the Lord

—a pillar of cloud and lightening

—a thunderous thing standing between God’s people and those who would endanger them.

While it was still dark, a darkness lit from the inside,

God’s powerful presence

—fire and cloud, bringing his people across the sea on the dry ground.

God saving them from the Egyptians…

Look out that windowWhile it was still dark, God acted.

 

While it was still dark

In the poverty of Babylon,

doing work that would not be paid for,

being strangers in a strange land,

hungering and thirsting for freedom, and for home.

While it was still dark, those who felt forsaken and captured, were found by God.

Were offered free bread,

free wine,

free milk,

free water,

freedom!

Offered words of

return,

redemption,

release

Look out that windowWhile it was still dark, God acted.

 

While it was still dark

—the darkest of times emblazed by the violent light of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, three men, faithful, and for their faithfulness punishment.

All the over the top power of Nebuchadnezzar

—his royal court over-stuffed with Satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, justices, magistrates, and provincial officials,

overshadowing the faithfulness of these men,

the band… horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum and everything else,

dampening the promises of God

the wideness of his empire, peoples, nations, and languages,

strangling the hopes of God’s people

While it was still dark, God enters into the flame, protecting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the face of brightest, hottest, deadliest flame, four men unbound, unhurt, walk in the middle of the fire…

Look out that windowWhile it was still dark, God acted.

 

While it was still dark, Mary goes to the tomb of Jesus her Teacher and friend. The disciples come, they are befuddled by it all—an empty tomb.

And then there she is, alone again, outside the tomb.

Alone and wondering what it all means.

Alone, and then,

then the strange stuff of dawn appear, angels dressed in white, and a gardener, all telling her to stop crying.

Stop crying?

Don’t they know, what she’s lost?

who she’s lost!

While it was still dark, he answers her righteous, wounded, question.

Answers her by name, and there he is.

Her teacher,

her friend,

her Lord!

There, while it was still dark, God acts!

Look out that windowWhile it was still dark, God acted.

 

While it was still dark—important words to hold onto.

It can be dark, metaphorically and literally.

Dusks and dawns, empty times… chaotic times.

If you think you live a life without them, you probably are in a shadow so deep you don’t realize you’re in it.

Yet, the resurrection itself, happened then, happens there!

Creation, crossing the Red Sea, Babylon stymied, saved from exile!

 

Our story, our witness, our reality…

Look out that window,

While it was still dark, God acted

Again! Look out that window,

While it is still dark, God acts!

 

HYMN of the DAY            “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia!”            red book # 369

Thanksgiving for Baptism

NICENE Creed

Prayers of Intercession

Peace

Meal

Offering

OFFERTORY ANTHEM                           “Resurrection Alleluias”                     Tom Fettke

One License # A715274

GREAT THANKSGIVING

Lord’s Prayer

Communion Song

COMMUNION HYMNS                                      “Come, Let Us Eat ”                  red book # 491

“At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”                red book # 362

 Sending

Blessing

Sending Song             “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds”             red book # 367

Dismissal

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