Easter Vigil 2015

Easter Vigil
4 April 2015

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Yesterday, the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, stretched His arms out on the cross and embraced death. Today death lets Him loose.

Yesterday the stone was rolled in front of His corpse and sealed Him to proclaim to the world that He was dead. Today the stone is rolled back to show all the universe that He is alive.

Yesterday the sun was blotted out and it was as night in the middle of the day. Today, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light and though it is night the light shines in our hearts and the Spirit enlightens us with His Gospel.

Yesterday the Lamb was slain and Egypt mourned for her firstborn. The Lamb’s Blood was poured out for us and marked us as His own. Though we knew a night of terror, the angel of death passed over us. Today, however, we are fully rescued from Egypt. We have come through the waters of Holy Baptism to the promised land of freedom at last.

Yesterday, not only was Christ crucified, but we were crucified with Him. Today, we live. A new man arises in us, yet not we ourselves, but Christ lives in us and the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, who is risen, who loved us, and gave Himself for us.

Yesterday we re-lived the agony and shame of our weakness. We recognized anew that our sins, our selfishness and rebellion, were the very cause of His sorrow. Today we rejoice that He counted us worthy of the cost and holds no grudge, that He comes in peace and mercy.

Yesterday, Christ became like us. In our flesh, He became sin and a curse. He was counted guilty by His Father. He was forsaken to Hell to pay for our sins. Today, we become like Him, in whose likeness we were made, and whose likeness has been restored in us through grace.

That we would be exalted, He was lowered; that we would become rich, He became poor; that we would become masters, He was enslaved; and that we would rise, victorious and innocent, vindicated before Satan our accuser, He condescended to be a worm and no man, to die in our place.

He is our Lord, our Christ. That we would overcome temptation, He was tempted; that we would receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism, He received the Holy Spirit in Baptism; and that we would come through death and live again after worms have destroyed these bodies, He rose from the dead.

But most mysterious of all, He became a Man for us, that what Adam sought to steal in envy and pride would be bestowed in grace. He took Adam’s curse and punishment in order to bestow Himself and His nature on us. In the Resurrection of Jesus Christ we become not only the children of God, the brothers of God, the sons of God, and  the Bride of God,  but we become like Him, united to the Godhead, Temples of the Holy Spirit, and indeed, in a sense, gods like He who is a Man. Jesus calls those to whom the Word of God came “gods.” And if He was not blaspheming when He claimed to be the Son of God, then He is not blaspheming now, when risen from the dead as a Man, He calls us to whom He has come “gods.”

Yesterday, He paid the price for ours sins, as a Lamb to the slaughter. Today He pronounces His pleasure and joy to have His as His own. He speaks anew the peace of His Father and the absolution of His Spirit and opens the place from which flowed His Blood that we might feast upon Him so that we hunger and thirst no more.

Today and forever, Jesus lives. He dies no more. Neither do we for we, by grace, have become like Him.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed, Alleluia.

 

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