Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter vigil

Easter Vigil
          Louana and Justin, I see a stream coming to a temporary stop in a pool—right here in this church.
          The stream becomes a pool of living water, bubbling up into this Baptismal font of ours
—your Baptism will make you a part of this stream of living water.
           A stream longer than we can imagine,
teaming with living things,
clear and fresh.
It has touched every shore and refreshed parched lips in every nation.
          This stream,
this stream is God’s actions for God’s people.
Let us pray

          This stream flows back so far, we almost don’t recognize its beginning.
          It gets split from the land somewhere there at the start, after God simply speaks forth creation… calling it by name—
          Instead of wrestling away control of the universe from the Formless Void,
God just calls it by name.
Both the Word, and the Spirit hover over it as a gentle dove.
Light and Order arrive,
splitting dangerous water and calling forth all that is good and very good.
And with that there is rest, and it is a holy thing, the start of this stream.
          This stream slides through the Red Sea, as God’s people shutter in fear and unbelief, crying out in despair.
          It observes the pillar of cloud and Angel of God, in all their glory and light, swinging around to confuse and stave off the Egyptians and protect the Israelites.
          The stream is split in that Sea, as Moses and his people cross over to the other side—from Slavery into Freedom.
          The violent oppressors are destroyed, the People rejoice.

          This stream goes through the Rivers of Babylon, as the people of God weep, separated from their homeland, again in slavery. Working the Babylonian lands, for the sake of their oppressors.
They labor, but are not paid,
work, but are not fed…
          And to this, a Man of God speaks of bread without price
and wine and milk and water, that satisfy.
He promises that the people will be fed.
          He speaks these promises with full confidence, because they are not his own promises, but the Word of God, which will not return empty, instead it does what God calls it to do.
          Just as at Creation, the Word creates a new situation for these weary exiles yearning for rest.

          And this stream slips into the throne room of the Pompous and Idolatrous King Nebuchadnezzar.
The stream sees the foolish satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, justices, magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces,
and the bowing of every peoples, nations, and languages.
It hears the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensembleand is not impressed.
          It evaporates at the blazing light and astounding heat of that fiery furnace, but holds out hope—knowing salvation often comes through flame… and is proved right—one like a god saves the three men who would not bend the knee and the king proclaims, “No other God delivers in this way.”
          The three men stand their ground and are found free even while enslaved in Babylon.

          This stream feeds into the garden, there with Mary.
Distraught because someone has moved her Lord. But then, called by name—
created anew by the voice of Jesus Christ—
He says, “Mary.”
And she knows! It’s him!
She goes out and proclaims that Good News to the other disciples. “I have seen the Lord!”

          This stream finds itself alongside Paul somewhere in Greece or Turkey. The stream is made to go deep into the ground,
 into the grave,
and runs through that story of slavery to Sin—of that slave master-Sin dying,
and the resurrection of Christ bringing us into freedom with God
this very stream baptizes Paul’s people into Christ’s death and then comes up again, raised with Christ!

           And here—right now—is this stream. Pausing briefly for you two’s sake. God will call you by name in a non-violent act of Creation—call you by name as Jesus did to Mary.
          You’ll be asked to resist the powers which enslave you.
          Through Water and the Word the Spirit will claim you as God’s children.
          You’ll be brought through that stream to the other side
—to freedom,
finding rest.
          You’ll receive a candle, the light that shines and is called good,
the flame between Egypt and Israel,
the blazing light within which we find one-like-a-god delivering us.
          You’ll be welcomed into this stream, as it continues forward with God.

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