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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (April 2015)

posted Apr 2, 2015, 7:26 AM by Russell D. Hampton

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.~ John 1:5

One of my fondest memories of my youth was the Easter Sunrise liturgy at my home congregation.  The liturgy began at 5:45 a.m. shrouded in darkness – dark, because morning light had not broken through; dark, because very few lights were on in the nave; dark, because the candles had not been lighted. The minister would enter the nave to light the Paschal candle. From there, the acolyte would take the first light of Easter to light the torches and candelabra (for six years, this task fell to me as I was the pastor’s daughter and received the honor of waking up at 4:30 a.m. each Easter – waking up that early was not something I was fond of!).  An usher would then turn up the lights in the nave.  By the conclusion of the liturgy, the sun had broken over the horizon and the full light of day was upon us.  Every year, I looked forward to celebrating that death did not have the final say.  The light of Jesus’ resurrection triumphed over the forces that sought to keep God’s plan from reaching fulfillment.  The transition from dark to light reminded me that no matter what the forces of darkness, death, sin and all evil attempted to do in the lives of God’s people, the light of Christ would always shine. 

The Gospel of John begins by telling us that Jesus was, is and always will be God.  Jesus is the Word who was present at the creation and through whom all things came into being.  In the Word was life and this life is the light to all people.  The darkness of this world could never and will never overcome this light. 

On that first Easter morning, the disciples were in the depths of despair.  They perceived that the promised light had gone out when Jesus died on the cross.  What they didn’t know was that God was still at work.  In John’s Gospel, Mary goes to the tomb at dawn, covered in the shadows of darkness, to find Jesus’ body missing, but then soon encounters the risen Christ.  Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, rushed to the tomb to find the burial coverings out of place, but then gather with the remaining disciples behind locked doors.  Jesus comes to them and shows them his hands and his side.  Jesus continues to appear before the disciples to show them he is alive and to teach them before ascending into heaven.  The darkness of death that Jesus experienced and the disciples faced had transitioned to the light of his resurrection.  Jesus was alive!  Jesus is alive!  Jesus makes us alive through our baptisms into his death and resurrection! 

There are times we have faced and will face the dark trials and tribulations of this life.  Life does bring us joy, hope, celebration, happiness, contentment, light etc.  Nevertheless, life also brings suffering, despair, sorrow, anxiety, spiritual darkness, death, etc.  There may be those times when we feel that we have been swallowed up in the depths of despair with no hope of ever seeing the light.  The Easter promise to us, however, is that Christ light will always shine.  The light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.  Sometimes that light may be a glimmer, but Christ’s resurrection promises to us that it will always be present. We may enter those times of darkness, but the light of Christ will break through to our lives to bring us into hope, peace, joy, and grace of the light.  Easter promises to us light out of darkness, forgiveness out of sin, and life out of death. Sin, death, darkness, and all the forces of evil will never triumph over the light and life of God granted to this world in Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord!

In Christ ~ Pastor Maureen