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Bishop Burbidge at Easter Vigil: World’s darkness is a grace, as it reminds us of the light of the Risen Christ!

03-26-2016

Recent weeks have brought much enthusiasm from across the diocese and beyond as we lifted the dome of our new cathedral and situated the cross on top of it. In addition to many positive comments, I have also heard some suggestions, including one person who said: “Bishop, the dome and crucifix are beautiful, but is it possible to have a light shine on them? It would be a powerful symbol in the midst of all the darkness around us.” I think the individual is right, and that is our plan. 

We began our Easter Vigil in darkness, symbolizing the darkness of our world of which we are sadly aware, especially in light of the recent attacks in Brussels, in the lack of reverence for all human life and the dignity for all persons. We also know the darkness of our own lives due to our sins and the chaos that surrounds us.

Acknowledging the darkness in our world, nation and lives is a moment of grace. For then, we recognize our total dependency on Christ, the Light of the World. Thus, at the beginning of this Liturgy, we blessed the fire and lit the paschal candle, symbolizing that Jesus Christ has dispelled the power of the darkness. The tomb is open; the Light is shining, and we celebrate the new life that is ours in the Risen Lord.

The power of God to make all things new has been proclaimed in our Readings tonight: The Old Testament revealed God transforming chaos to order and delivering his people from captivity to freedom. The New Testament proclaims Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise and the One who proved victorious over sin, suffering and even death.

What does that mean for us? It means that the world around us does not have to remain the same. With Christ our Light, we can transform it. It means that no sin can paralyze us. With Christ our Light, we are set free. It means that we do not have to live in chaos. With Christ our Light, we can walk in serenity and peace. And so tonight, the Church invites us to renew our baptismal promises and pledge “to live as children of the light." We do so when we consistently practice our faith; turn to the Word of God for our guidance; find our strength in the Sacraments; and love, serve and forgive one another. 

It is such witness that, no doubt, helped to inspire those who will be baptized, confirmed and received into full communion with the Church tonight. We congratulate them, their godparents, sponsors and families and thank them for the inspiration they are to all of us.

We will get that light shining on the dome and crucifix of our new cathedral. It will be a powerful symbol, but not merely as powerful as people seeing the Light of Christ shining in and through you. May you be renewed in that commitment so that in word and deed you proclaim that Jesus Christ, Risen today, is the Light who has dispelled the darkness and the One who allows us to walk in newness of life both now and forever.  Amen.