(For the fourth year in a row, we rejoice in celebrating baptisms on this night as well! Thanks be to God!)
It is the most holy of nights. The stars are brightly shining. It’s not the night of our dear Savior’s birth, but of His bursting forth from death. It’s not the end of the week but that which brings us into a new week. It’s not even the end of Holy Week but the night which brings us to glorious resurrection into the joyful Eastertide, not a day but an entire season to be celebrated. The night in which death is ended and life is brought forth.
We entered the night with dim light. Yet there is an amazing thing with light, it doesn’t take make much for it shine forth. There is no amount of darkness that overcomes light. We entered the church tonight the way we always enter, through death.
We entered the darkness of the tomb but not to go forth into death. Rather through death. This is the Lord’s work for you. He brings Noah and his family through death in the ark, just as you are brought through death in the ark (just look up at the shape of the church, here in the nave, the boat). The precious blood of the Lamb has been given and shed poured out that death may pass over us.
We entered tonight in darkness. In the darkness of sin we know not where to go. Thus we confess as we hear the Gospel with the disciples, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words eternal life.” We live not in the darkness of our sin but enter as we did tonight, by Jesus who is the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome, who brings us through death in His resurrection.
That’s the history and story of redemption. That’s what we’ve recounted in hearing the Old Testament Scriptures. That what happened as you have been brought through His saving flood, as He buries you in baptism into death to give you the resurrection, newness of life. That’s the gift poured out and given tonight.
That all that Jesus has said and done, not only over the last three days but from the foundation of the world, is for you, for your life and salvation. Here now, in the midst of darkness of this night, that as the world rests the Lord overcomes death and the grave. That Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome stays with us through the darkness of this world, through death, and into resurrection glory.
Behold, the new day soon dawns. From the shadow of death our Lord comes. Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!
It’s the most holy of nights. The stars are brightly shining. And now our Lord springs forth from death into resurrection life, and baptized in Him brings you through with Him through death and into resurrection light.
In the name of the Father and of + the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.