Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Light of Christ
( One example of a very animated Easter Vigil)
Last night we extinguished all of the candles. The Light was gone. Today we do nothing. Suspended between where we were and where, this side of the empty tomb, we know we will be. Tonight we will celebrate Easter Vigil. We begin out side with a fire burning made from greens from Christmas. We will light the Paschal candle and begin a walk into the church. "The Light of Christ" is what I will chant as we move from the darkness and cold into the warmth of the nave. But the nave is dark, except for the persistent light of the Paschal candle. "The Light of Christ"
Tonight we will hear stories starting with creation as the tale of mankind is woven from God's perspective- why we needed The Light of Christ.
And we will break the darkness. And we will celebrate new life, including the new life of baptisms- three tonight. One of whom is D, Lutheran Chick #2's friend, our spare teen. D who has become an integral part of our church family and our family because we are the shelter from the storm. Whose parents are divorced, and for whom their new lives have moved on without her. We are the haven when there is fighting, drinking and when she has been locked out. "The Light of Christ"
Our youth group is becoming a haven for other teens like this, as some of our kids are reaching out to those they see who are at risk. LC#1 has such a friend. A, whose mom and step Dad are fighting. They are both recovering from substance abuse, which is why A's mom has no drivers license. She could get it back now if the fees were paid, but there never seems to be money for that. So when they fight, he strands A and her mom who have no way to get places. This is how he controls them, A says. Now he has had a court date for charges from a couple of years ago. A is scared it will not go well and the anger will surface. He was charged with .. dealing drugs. So A has been here more lately. Whatever spare money the family had will now go to "deal" with this. Come for dinner- relax just a little. "The Light of Christ"
Then there is K. Her mom is divorced and is trying really hard not to drink. When she succeeds, she smokes incessantly and has extreme anxiety- she does not leave the house. K is in charge. But she too has been enveloped by the youth group, and maybe, her mom will come to church some time with her. I have seen K become more like a teen and less like a functional adult. She smiles more and she is getting baptized later this spring. "The Light of Christ."
And this is how I imagine Jesus' ministry, and that of the early church. One by one pulling the oppressed, the confused, the stressed and the messy, out of the darkness and into the light. And Jesus calls us still to take these risks, get our hands dirty.
The first disciples were terrified. And confused. And probably convinced that after Friday it really had been too good to be true. It was back to the darkness. We know what they learned, we, an Easter people. And we are commissioned to carry that light into a darkened weary world, to be "The Light of Christ" - one soul at a time.
So tonight- Rejoice! Shout that repressed Alleluia that has been stifled these weeks! Jesus Christ is risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia! And let our light- The Light of Christ- burst forth into the world proclaiming the Good News by living it for the sake of all the weary souls!