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Lectionary Sermons: Easter

We Gather to Proclaim a Festival

By Derek Olsen

We gather this night to proclaim a festival, to remind ourselves of God's action through Jesus, his Anointed, his Christ. It is appropriate that we gather during the evening, when the night is falling and when the darkness comes upon the earth. We are people with cell phones and pagers; we have computers in our houses and some even have computers in their pockets. We ride in our cars and we shop in our supermarkets lit with bright fluorescent lights. As wonderful as technology is, sometimes it helps us forget who we are, what we are, as creatures in a larger creation. We are creatures in a larger creation. When we gather tonight it is important to remember this.

We as creatures are a part of the grand dance of all creation. We are embodied creatures enmeshed within spinning spheres within never-ending cycles of light and darkness, life and death, silence and song. This is the way that the creation is - we live in the midst of light and darkness, life and death, silence and song. We live within dualities, polarities, two halves of a seamless whole. And God, our God, has created both. God is the one who created both light and darkness; God is the one who created both life and death; God is the one who created both silence and song.

But sometimes in our lives, we see the balance go astray. We see the darkness rising; we hear death clip-clopping his pale horse through our streets; we feel the silence closing in about our throats. As our own lives move out of balance, we feel the floodwaters of chaos swirling about our ankles, rising to our waists.

We gather this night to proclaim a festival, to remind ourselves of God's action through Jesus, his Anointed, his Christ. Tonight is the night when God set the boundaries. Tonight is the night that God spoke to the darkness and said "Come no further!" He spoke to death and said: "Be not proud!" and reminded the silence that it shall be broken by song. Tonight is the night that God loved his Jesus back to life. Tonight is the night when Jesus - through humbling himself for us - embraced light and darkness, life and death, silence and song. God has spoken and acted through his Son. These things, darkness, death, silence, these things do not and never will have the last word. Darkness cannot exist without light. Death cannot exist without life. Silence is only the space between the songs.

Tonight we relight the oldest symbol of our faith, not the cross, but the Paschal light, and we remember what God has done for us, the word that God has spoken through us. He who was dead is alive; he who was silent now sings his song of joy. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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