Old Testament Readings
Vigil of the Resurrection of Our Lord
7 April 2012
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Darkness descends on the land, and yet, it does not overwhelm. The world surrounds you with death and despair, but they cannot latch onto you. The shadows lengthen, and yet, Jesus Christ is the Light of the World; the Light no darkness can overcome.
“In the beginning” the Lord God simply said, “Let there be light,” and there was. At that same time, He worked with the waters He created.
The evil, God-hating world was condemned and destroyed by the raging waters of the Flood, while the Lord God “preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all.” The terrifying violence of the flood surrounded them, yet the Lord was rescuing and keeping and saving His Church. And at the end of this tribulation, He “cast the bright beams of [His] Light upon” them. “Salvation unto [them] had come.” God had brought their new life out of the waters of death.
The venomous hatred of Pharaoh spewed out on his Hebrew slaves. Demonically he focused on recapturing them and enslaving them again. With his hardened heart, Pharaoh delighted in pursuing these people whom he viewed as his rightful property. But the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, delivered His children out of bondage with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. He led Pharaoh and his army into the midst of the sea, collapsing the water on them. While he drowned in the darkness of overwhelming water, the children of Israel, the Old Testament Church, were kept in the light of day. The Lord had brought them through the sea on dry ground. And they were saved.
The three young men stood firm in their resolve. The Holy Spirit kept them firm in refusing to deny God and worship the idol of the king. Thrown into the fiery furnace, the intensity of the heat and light would be unimaginable. But then came the true Light! The Son of God came to them, protecting them from a torturous live cremation. He rescued them, and turned it into a moment to preach to the eyes of the king that the Lord of Israel is the Lord of Life and the only true God.
You live in a world surrounded by darkness, death, and destruction. But your dear Lord has redeemed you, purchased and won you from all that. And after His brief rest in His tomb, Christ Jesus, who lay in death’s strong bands, has passed over from death to life. He overcame death and the grave, and has burst forth. He is the Light of the world, and that Light radiates from the holy sepulcher, shining forth for you and the world to see.
In the sacred waters of Holy Baptism, Jesus joins Himself to you. You have been united by Him to Him, so that His death becomes yours; His resurrection, yours as well. Your Savior has pulled you into the waters of Holy Baptism, and drawn you from them, so that Old Adam is drowned and the New Creature is born. You are His, safe and secure in the Ark of His Church, until He brings you to Himself. Someday, He will bring you out of your grave, where He will bring out your Baptized self and bask you in His Light, glorifying your resurrected body and gathering you into His eternal kingdom.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!