Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Ephesians)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Pastor's Class 10:00 AM (Psalm 119 deep dive)
                    Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM



Easter Vigil

March 31, 2024 Pastor: Rev. Troy Neujahr

The Resurrection of Our Lord
Saturday, March 30th, 2024
Christ Lutheran Church
by: Reverend Troy Neujahr

Genesis 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

  • It is not the darkness that prevails, but the light.
  • This may not seem true, but it is.
    • It may not seem true to us as we observe the course of human history. When we view our history, we come to see that humanity’s greatest skill lies neither in philosophy nor philanthropy, but instead in continually finding better and more efficient ways to kill one another; in finding more creative ways to deprive one another of hard-won goods or money; in relentlessly and determinedly refusing to live a peaceable and quiet life and instead pursuing the “greatness” of money, influence, and power.  History shows us a humanity that thrives in the darkness.  But it is not the darkness that prevails, but the light.
    • This may not seem true as we observe the course of a human life. We have such a corrupted view of life that we come to believe that “death is a natural part of life,” and we teach our children the same.  Whether a life be but a few years or over a century, we avoid the plain reality of death, choosing polite euphemisms such as “passed away” or “crossed over” or even “in a better place”—that last regardless of whether they truly are in a better place or not.  We flee the reality of death because we know . . . we know that the darkness of death comes for us all.  We know that death’s dark shroud has either already or will eventually cover the face of everyone we know, of everyone we love.  But it is not the darkness that prevails, but the light.
    • It may not seem true as we observe ourselves. Though we often try to avoid doing so, any honest and thorough investigation into ourselves, our actions, our motives reveals that the thoughts of our hearts are only evil from our youth.  None choose the light. No one does what is good . . . no, not one.  A flippant word here, an evil thought there . . . in the morning plagued by doubt and fear and worry, in the night given to decadence and misdeeds.  The darkness of our sin, our own sin, our own most grievous sin infects every moment, every breath, every action . . . and the darkness would swallow us alive, dragging us down into the pit . . . and the truth is that, left to ourselves, we would embrace that darkness up until the point where it completely consumed us.
    • But it is not the darkness that prevails, but the light.
  • The face of God once looked upon creation and beheld a swirling, formless mass of chaos that was enveloped in darkness with no light to govern it. But at God’s word, light.  Not the greater light of the sun nor the lesser light of the moon . . . not on that first day.  But the light that God spoke into being was the light of His very self.  It was a holy, glorious, illuminating light.  It was the light of the voice of God.  It was the light of His word.
    • What did we do with that light? We cast it away.  We were not satisfied to be creations of God, you and I.  We were not satisfied to be one nation under God . . . we instead decided that we must be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil.  We decided that we must decide our destiny for ourselves.  We decided that we must occupy His throne. 
    • But when we did so, we discovered that we had indeed come to know the difference between good and evil . . . but that to our great horror we realized we had only come to know that because we had become evil, and could no longer look upon He who was truly good, but hid from Him, fled from His presence, praying to the mountains to fall down and cover us. Praying for the darkness to hide us.    
  • But by His Word God had determined that the darkness would never prevail: not the darkness of evil; not the darkness of sin; not the darkness of death.  No darkness would prevail, because God would once again speak, His Word would once again speak forth light, and that light would overcome all.
    • John 1:1–5 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
    • Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and though the darkness tried to cover Him, it could not. His light overcame evil with true good.  His light washed away the impure darkness of our sin.  The light of His life overcame the darkness of death. 
  • And though darkness might come for you time and again, though the darkness of sin may deceive you yet once more, though the darkness of death swallow you up and you are laid in the grave . . . the rapidly approaching dawn of the resurrection of our Lord means that this darkness shall not prevail . . . this darkness cannot prevail . . . for the light of Christ shines even into your darkness . . . and our resurrected Lord plucks you from the kingdom of darkness in which you now live, and brings you forever into His Kingdom of light.
  • Ephesians 5:14 (ESV) — 14 . . . Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”