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19 April 2014

Sermon: The Vigil of Easter

The Resurrection of Our Lord
19 April AD 2014

Title: On the Seventh Day God Rested (MP3 Audio)

Christ's Rest in the Tomb Summary: On the Seventh Day, after God made the heavens and the earth and saw that they were “very good, (Genesis 1:31)” He rested from His creative tasks and thus hallowed a day of rest for mankind. Similarly, after Jesus completed His tasks in establishing the New Creation, He also took a Sabbath rest in a donated tomb.

While God first rested after the efforts of making and then rested again after remaking a Creation that He could call very good, He never withdrew from that which He’d made. He continued sustaining and preserving what He made that life might go on.

In the beginning, that first Sabbath rolled into the first day of earth’s second week. As the Sabbath of Holy Week ended, not only did the next week’s first day dawn — Christ also ushered in the Eighth Day, the Day of Resurrection and Everlasting Life. As we continue living in time, we also, by faith, live in that Eighth Day, trusting that even if we rest in the grave for many years, Christ will call us forth into everlasting life.

The Church’s funeral rite includes a collect appropriate for remembering Jesus’ brief Sabbath in the tomb before His glorious resurrection. As we pause in this time between death and life, may we also remember the One who leads us out of death to life:

Almighty God, by the death of Your Son Jesus Christ You destroyed death, by His rest in the tomb You sanctified the graves of Your saints, and by His bodily resurrection You brought life and immortality to light so that all who die in Him abide in peace and hope. Receive our thanks for the victory over death and the grave that He won for us. Keep us in everlasting communion with all who wait for Him on earth and with all in heaven who are with Him, for He is the Resurrection and the Life, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Text: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:1-3

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of On the Seventh Day God Rested.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:3; Genesis 7:1-9:13; Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:10-15:1; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Daniel 3:1-30; Mark 16:1-8

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