Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Vigil of Easter

This is the night.  This is the night we remember God bringing the children of Israel, out of bondage and leading them through the Red Sea on dry land.

This is the night.  This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and restored to grace and holiness of life.

This is the night.  This is the night, when Christ breaks the bonds of death and hell, and rises victorious from the grave.

This is the night.  This is the holy night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away.  This is the night innocence is restored to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. 

This is the night that casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.

This is the most blessed night, when earth and heaven are joined and we are reconciled to God.

We have heard the record of God's saving deeds in history, how he saved his people in ages past; and will bring each of us to the fullness of redemption.

Later this night, will later hear more words of the salvation story, our story.  Our love story with God.  Later this night we will renew our baptismal vows.  Later this night, we will remember anew that we can do all things with God’s help.

This is the night we will hear that Christ is risen.  This is the night we shout with joy the Lord is risen indeed.  This is the night Alleluia’s will be sung joyfully.  This is the night we leave the desert behind and enter with tears of thankfulness into the courtyards of praise.

This is the night we break bread together in remembrance of the gift we are given.  The gift given to free us from the bondage of sin and death.  This is the night we celebrate a love beyond measure.

This is the night.  The night when we hear, remember, and learn yet again about love.  We have heard and will hear again about God’s story with us.  God’s love story with us.  This is the night we learn that we are loved.  We are loved with a love that is timeless, endless, boundless.  A love that can only come from above.  We learn of the love of the One who loved us first. 

This is the night we hear words that tell us of the unbounded love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

This is the night we are reminded about a love beyond our comprehension.  A love that thankfully, is not like a pie with only so much to go around. There is more than enough for each of us. We don’t miss out because we are not perfect.   God’s love is boundless. And that love grows as we each open our hearts and minds to it.  There is enough for ALL OF US.

We do not have to do anything to earn God’s love. It is ours for the taking. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And especially on this night.  It is ours. Unearned. Undeserved. Ours. Endlessly.

And yet we find ourselves putting limits on God.  Boundaries on a love we can never truly grasp. We try to be good enough, smart enough, or what ever enough. But the good news is, there is nothing we can do, except to embrace it.  We are loved beyond measure by a God whose love knows no limits. Fully, completely, forever. And nothing, nothing we can do will end that love.

We do not know how to handle this God that loves us so fully. In our futile attempts to understand it, we put conditions on it. Try to make rules to earn it. Rather than accept the gift and embrace it, we push it away and in trying to understand it, decide we need to find ways to earn it. 

This is the night to lay those conditions down.  This is the night to accept with joy the gift given so freely.

This is the night, you are asked to respond, body, heart, and soul.  This is the night you learn, you are loved.  Fully, completely, forever. YOU ARE A BELOVED CHILD OF GOD and nothing you can do, nothing, will keep you from that love.

May you open your arms to the love of God that knows no limits on this most holy of nights.

This is the night.

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