This is the night when we sing/say/act/do/journey through the story of God's steadfast love, God's saving acts to a people. There are nine lessons tonight, we do three, some places do nine, the least you can read is two. These stories weave us together into the fabric of our own story, our own journey with God.

Tonight one of the lessons we haven't read is the story of creation. How God created all out of nothing, out of a small start, and bit by bit, piece by piece it was created and called good. It is a miracle story, a story of deep mystery, a story of first love. We all feel the weight of the story we don't read about Adam and Eve of our deep feeling of separation from God, but we have this story, the first story that reminds us what a miracle we all are, and that we are all created good, in God's own image.

We travel on to the story of the Exodus, how a small people were saved from their oppressors, the person who wanted to do them harm rather than good. How God traveled with them and made it possible for them to be free. It brings to mind every freedom story there has ever been. How we continually yearn to be a people who are free to choose, live, birth, bury die, and complain. God comes and saves us so we can be people who are free.

We hear stories of freedom from the people of Rwanda as they mark 20 years since the genocide. We hear it from International Justice Mission who helps to free people from modern slavery. We hear it in the stories of women who have escaped houses of violence. This story is still retold by those who were once slaves in this country. They are also heard at Magdalene in Nashville and soon we will hear these stories from St. Louis. 

The valley of the dry bones is a beautiful story. It is a story about a people who have fallen apart, who feel dead, deserted by God. The bones come together and have the very breath of God put into them. This was all to show that God had not forgotten His people in bondage once again. They had relied on themselves, looked at worldly power and forgotten how God had asked them to treat others.

Every time we forget how we should treat others we come back to this story. We are isolated from God because we have chosen not to see the image of God in them. We need to be remade, rebreathed into and renew our contact with God.

The thing about the story of salvation is it is all of our stories. We can see Easters dawn in all of these. We are again brought to the foot of death, the death of seeing ourselves as not good, the death of being in chains, the death of ignoring God's direction in our life. The most wonderful thing about this story is that it has lasted for ages. God never gives up, God never losses God's love for us, we are a part of this story. God's salvation never ends, alleluia, alleluia!