Saturday, 7 April 2007
A Short Easter Vigil Sermon
Ladies and gentlemen, this holy night I present to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, hero of every story we heard from the Bible tonight, risen from the dead.
Our first reading was about the creation of the heavens and the earth. Jesus was there. All those things were made through Jesus, John’s gospel tells us. We were all made through him, too. This building and this congregation exist because of Him.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this holy night I present to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The new fire we lit earlier symbolizes that fire. The Paschal candle we followed into the church represents Jesus, Light of the World, and also the pillar of fire leading the Israelites to their liberation from slavery in Egypt. Jesus was there.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, of Romans 6, because of whom we get to walk in newness of life, alive to God.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, no-longer in any tomb (or in one of James Cameron’s bone-boxes), but Risen and Exalted.
Jesus is the one who delivered us from sin and death and is about to do the same for Cole and Kashawnra.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this holy night we’re presenting Cole and Kashawnra to God the Father, asking him to adopt them into His family, the church, which is the body of Christ Jesus.
These children are about to be baptized because Jesus was, and we follow Jesus. They are about to be baptized because Jesus also commanded us to baptize people and to make them into disciples. Billy, Marsha, Wendy and you sponsors, this is the easy part. After tonight your responsibilities as disciple-makers begin in earnest so that, one day, Lord willing, Cole and Kashawnra will be presented to a Bishop for Confirmation when they will make their own public confession of faith in Jesus. This is what you are promising to do, with God’s help, this holy night.
To make Cole and Kashawnra into his disciples you must learn about Jesus, love Jesus, worship Jesus, teach them about Jesus, pray to Jesus, confess your sins to Jesus, walk with Jesus, live like Jesus. If you are not doing that now, I would suggest you seriously consider starting—soon. There is no other way. And there is no place that can be done properly other than Jesus’ body, the Church.
O yes, it is possible to encounter Jesus on golf courses (rarely, I would suggest), in your garden, as you watch beautiful sunsets, but those encounters only happen as he tries to get your attention and direct you here (or some other Christian church).
This is where Jesus is to be found…in the Sacred Scriptures read out loud and explained, in the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist, in the community of the saints who gather here—brothers and sisters all—and in the Holy Spirit who hovers and broods and swirls around us as we worship.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, these little candidates for Holy Baptism will now be presented…
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