Lying in the grave

We start out in the dark tonight. We start from here because we have to learn to inhabit this space. We must lie in the ground, inhabit the tomb, inhabit the darkness of failure, of loss, of fear. We start in this place to embrace it. Because it is only by being united to Christ in his death, it is only in being united to the disciples feelings of failure, the women's feelings of loss where we can find the next steps. The next steps which lead us like the candle deeper into the darkness.

It is only here, in this place, where we can face all the realities of vulnerability, of love's sacrifice. Because each time we open ourselves to it we become more vulnerable, more open to receiving what is next because we seem to cycle back to these times again and again in our lives. Just look at the scriptures for tonight, if we read all nine lessons we start with the creation story. Everything out of nothing, out of darkness light. Next is the flood, division, envy, destruction, then a restart for Noah and his family. Abraham sacrifice of Isaac, the end for Isaac, and then a change of perspective a ram found and sacrifice. Then Exodus it looks as if all is lost at the Red Sea freedom will not come and then the waters part, a people delivered. Then the story repeats in a new way.

All of these bring us to darkness, despair, failure. Yet it never is the final word. Changes happen, water saves instead of drowns, things dry, and God provides. It is not found in riches and splendor though. This fact is only found in the dark, in the absence of provision, in the absence of surety and faith takes the step forward. Then the next step and the next. It is up to us to testify to those steps. What our own times in the dark have been, what they mean and what they might mean to help someone else.

God's promise of salvation is the recurring story. It is abundant, it is encountered in the darkest of times. It doesn't always work the way humans think it should. It is there through suffering, through loss, through failure. Its nothing we can make on our own. Its nothing we can force to happen. Yet the unthinkable happens and tonight we testify to it in the sacrament of baptism. Saying we don't understand all of the mysteries of it, yet acknowledging God's grace is bigger than our understanding.