God Works in the Midst of Disruption


Saturday Easter Vigil Sermon

Grace & Peace to you, from God, our creator, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

In all of the stories we have heard this evening, disruption of various kinds occur. In the story of the flood all life as they knew it was forever disrupted as the raging waters rose and all that was left was Noah and his family and the vast cargo of animals that were brought aboard the ark. Moses disrupts the life of the Israelites as he is called by God to lead them out of the land of Egypt and across the Red Sea so that they may come to the land of milk and honey. Ezekiel surely knows something about disruption as he is placed in the midst of the Valley surrounded by bones that appear to have been there for centuries.

The stories of disruption seem to have no end. As we listened to the story of Jonah, we are made aware of the calling that he is eager to get as far away from as possible. He has no desire to take on the challenge that he is called to until his life is totally disrupted by rough waters and a big fish. We could argue about whose life got disrupted more in the story of the fiery furnace, was it Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or was it possibly that of King Nebuchadnezzar? The three had to tolerate the inconvenience of spending time in the furnace, however, it was King Nebuchadnezzar whose plans got changed.

Disruptions do not have the final word. It was in the aftermath of the flood that God made a new covenant with Noah that the earth would not be destroyed by a flood again and all God’s creature are called to go forth and be a fruitful part of creation. Even though the lives of the Israelites in Egypt were disrupted, the sign of God’s promise can be seen as they are protected and delivered through the waters of the Red Sea. In the Valley of the Dry Bones, the Spirit breathes new life back into the bones that have given up all hope.

Jonah turns to prayer as he contemplates what he ran away from and is restored to new life as he finds himself once again on dry ground, with a stronger confidence, ready to go speak to the people of Nineveh. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego carries them through the fiery furnace as they refuse to bow down to another god. God protects them and carries them through the furnace and the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar appears changed.

The disruptions that occur in these stories, as well as those that happen within our own lives, are just that, disruptions, yet God is present to see us through. It is in our own baptisms that we are brought into the life of Christ and experience the never-ending love of God. It is at the table that we are fed with the bread of life and experience God’s grace. May we rejoice in God’s promises in the waters and meal as God creates, promises, delivers, provides, and saves.

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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