February 18, 2015
The Bible passages from the Easter Vigil are a truly cosmic account of history, spanning from the moments before Creation to a picture of eternity. But in the midst of this sweeping scope, they are also intensely intimate. They tell the epic story of God coming to the rescue of a creation and a people he loves and gathering them around himself to live in his love forever. God never gives up on those he loves. God will never give up on you. God will never give up on me. He is a God who always comes to our rescue.
In the Nicene Creed, we read that it was, "for us and our salvation [that] he came from heaven." God is a "for us" God. He so delights in his creation, he entered into it as a member, participating in our suffering in order to bring restoration from within. That which he wonderfully created, he has even more wonderfully restored.
In these readings we meet the God who is "for us." We also meet ourselves. We are male and female, created in the image of God, made for eternity but shackled to dust. We are the hungry who cannot afford bread, the thirsty for whom there is no living stream, the ones with bound hands waiting for the knife to fall, and the skeletal remains of what could or should have been.
While we were waiting, helpless to help ourselves, the God of history brought his plan of salvation to completion in Jesus. In Christ, the shadows burst into glorious light as God's love for us, and his commitment to our rescue, are made tangible. The "for us" God comes to die our deaths, so that he might rescue us from our graves.
We, like the people of Israel, enter into the waters of death and find that in Jesus it becomes the way of resurrection. For we "were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4, NIV).
There is no response but to worship God with mind, body, soul, and strength. As our communion liturgy proclaims: "Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast!" Our deliverer has come. Rejoice! If God is for us, who can stand against us? Join in the festival with dancing, songs, and shouts of holy noise. Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb who sits on the throne in glory forever and ever! We are his people, and he is our God!
Let us give ourselves in worship to the God who gives himself for us. In giving our hearts to him, we receive him afresh, and he places within our hearts his "for others" heart. He gathers us together to become a "for others" people. He works his saving deeds through his people so that each of us can be invited into the feast.
He sends us to the hungry, the broken, the dry, and the drowning. These are the ones he came to save.
We, who have been so gloriously rescued, now tell the story of God the rescuer.
Tell it to the world. Tell it until every person has heard. Tell of God's saving deeds in your own personal salvation history and for all of our histories. He will never give up on you. He will always come to your rescue.
This was originally published as part of God's Saving Deeds: A Bible Study on the Readings from the Easter Vigil. Click here to see the full book, which includes paintings, teachings, and discussion questions.