Home
Christ Church
Worship
Sermons
Children's Ministries
Spiritual Formation
Music
Ministries
Mission and Outreach
Giving
Ways to Serve
Worship Times

Sundays
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
(spoken service)

10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
(with full choir, hymns)

Wednesdays
7:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist with Healing Prayer


Directions to
Christ Church


handicap_sign
Our church, restrooms and meeting space are handicap accessible.

calendar button_72

"You are alive in Christ" - Homily for Easter Vigil
A homily preached by the Rev. Jen Vath at the Easter Vigil on April 20, 2019

You are alive in Christ
Easter Vigil Homily Year C
April 20, 2019 8:00 pm
Christ Church Andover

 

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

In the name of God, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

To all you who love our tradition, this is the night.
We are here. The People of God gathered and called as Christ Church. 
Celebrating this first Service of Easter.
A symphony of sound, sight, and sacrament.

The Great Vigil of Easter starts as a spark in a holy flame.
Across the ages and spanning the seas, a small flame ignites the new fire, powerfully piercing through the darkness of night.
Carried forward it burns ever more brightly.
And we are summoned from this deep darkness into the fullness of light.
This is our Passover from death to life.

The fire illuminates our sacred history.
The hymns, psalms, and stories are gifts that have been handed down to us.
Tonight they are ours to receive and inhabit.

Because stories empower us and help us remember.  
We remember from where we have come.
We remember to whom we belong.
We remember the promises of God made long ago.

The stories enliven our future.
They give us hope in times of trouble, loss, war, illness.
They carry us through the deserts of doubt and despair just as they did for our ancestors. They claim us, and we claim them.

        Abraham trusted in God to provide, and we are blessed.

        Moses stretched out his hands over the sea, and we are made free.

        Jerusalem was sheltered from storms and rain, and our refuge is in God.

        Ezekiel prophesied to a valley of dry bones, and we receive the breath of life.

And now, through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has birthed us as Easter people.

Easter people are Children of God who as St. Paul says walk in love; who walk in newness of life.

Easter people are children of God who live in the light. We see the world through the lens of God’s unlimited love.

Easter people are Children of God who worship, who give thanks and praise to God.

Easter people are Children of God who serve God and God’s people in unity, constancy and peace.

This is the night to remember.

In a few minutes we will renew the vows made at our Baptism.

We remember that we have been buried with Christ into his death and are raised with him to newness of life.
We remember that we are reconciled to God; marked and claimed as Christ’s own forever.
We are alive in Christ.

No longer are we defined by our failures, 
nor imprisoned by fear or doubt,
nor defeated by the storms of life.
Death is not the ending.
We are alive in Christ.

No matter what others may tell us,
no matter the wrongs done to us,
and no matter our own wrongdoings,
We are alive in Christ. 

And yet this truth, this reality,

Can be hard to remember and challenging to accept.

It may be easier to walk in darkness with our heads down, terrified of all the things that are wrong in the world. Fearful of the future. Discouraged. Defeated.

St. Luke tells us in our Gospel reading that Jesus was dead. His body was placed in a tomb.

The women who arrive at the tomb--they’re perplexed. Their heads are down. They are looking, and do not see a body.

They are terrified to discover the body of Jesus, the One they came to anoint, is missing. It’s not where they expected it to be. It's not there at all.

Two men in dazzling clothes ask a question.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Remember how he told you that the Son of Man would be crucified and on the third day rise again?”

Remember?

Do we remember what is important? Do we remember what God has said to us? I will put my spirit in you and you will live? That I will be with you always?

I don’t know about you, but I think remembering can be hard when death or sorrow or pain surround us. I imagine that was true for the women at the tomb. Perhaps true also for Peter who is left wondering and amazed at what had happened.

How startling, shocking, stunning for Peter to realize Jesus was not there. What would he remember?

How could something so wonderful be true?

They remembered and told the others. 
What I love most about this story is the fact that it didn’t matter to the women if they were believed at first. Because their own stories, their own memory of Jesus was enough, they trusted it and shared what they knew. The story of unfailing love and grace would win. And it was enough to transform history. 

On this night,
We are nourished by God’s grace through word and sacrament,
We remember and claim these ancient stories of God as our stories.
And we remember how wide and long, and high, and deep is the love of God. 

We do not look for the living among the dead.
We lift our heads and look for the living God, who is here,
with us, in us, shining light into the deepest darkest places of death and despair,
and making us alive in Christ.

How blessed is this night, how blessed is this Easter.

Amen.

Last Published: April 30, 2019 3:51 PM