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Let There Be Light

April 08, 2023; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
Easter Vigil. service of light.jpg

Let There Be Light


Rev. Kurt Lantz Easter Vigil Genesis 1:1-2:3

April 08, 2023 Resurrection Lutheran Church St. Catharines, ON



Dear people who have walked in darkness,


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



“Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). These are the first recorded words of the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. With them is established the antithesis of darkness and light. “God separated the light from the darkness” (1:4). The light happened at His Word, and the light was good. God decreed it so. Light is good. Darkness is to be dispelled. The darkness was penetrated by the light. And why? Because God was making man in His image, “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (1:27). It was for us and for our good that God spoke “Let there be light.”


As the Evangelist John parallels the opening verses of Genesis in the opening words of His Gospel, God had again shone light into the darkness. It was no less significant an event than the appearance of the first glow of light at His creative word. There was a recreation beginning. “The true light that enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Why? Because God wanted to enlighten man whom He created in His image, male and female. It was for us and for our good that God sent His Son into the world.


We could rush on then to life in the light of Christ. But that is not what we did tonight, is it? A vigil is about taking the time to wait in contemplation: anticipating the light, looking forward to the light, desiring the light, hoping for the light, needing the light to finally dispel the darkness. We didn’t merely march into church, speak our word of Alleluia and switch on all the lights.


We want it to be that simple, like the flick of a switch at our fingertips. We want it to be that quick, like electricity passing through copper wire to a light fixture before our finger is even off of the toggle. After all, that is the way that God did it. “’Let there be light,’ and there was light.” But dispelling the darkness of our sin took four thousand years, not because God was slow about it, dragging it out, but He did it for us, that we might anticipate His light, desire His light, and hope for His light.


So a promise of light was given to Adam and Eve when they were driven out of the Garden into the darkness of the wild. A rainbow was put in the sky after the flood, as God shone light through water droplets in the air. By the light of a pillar of fire, God led the children of Israel coming out of Egypt. Isaiah proclaimed that the Word of the LORD would accomplish the purpose for which He sends it, to enlighten every man. King Nebuchadnezzar saw, in the light of the furnace flames, one like a son of the gods, walking with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.


And so, finally, God said again, “Let there be light” and “a light to lighten the Gentiles” (Luke 2:) came into the world. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).


Jesus came but “people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19). That’s us, when we think we have the light of forgiveness and eternal life at the flick of a switch. We don’t mind walking in the darkness if we believe we can dispel it in an instant. That is, we don’t mind walking in the darkness of our sins, if we believe there is immediate forgiveness as easy as we flick our fingers in the sign of the cross. That is why we are so quick to flick the switch to turn off the light and once again indulge our dark and evil lusts and desires.


We need to remember, to rehearse, to realize that God shining His light of forgiveness and life upon us did not happen at the flick of a switch. Our rebirth and renewal in Christ is given as quickly as water pours over the font, as quickly as our father confessor can say the words in the stead of Christ, as quickly as we can swallow bread and wine, and yet it took thousands of years so that we might anticipate it, desire it, hope for it, treasure it, and walk in it.


“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45; cf. Mk 15:33; Lk 23:44). That is longer than our vigil tonight. Jesus suffered in agony on the cross. The light of the world was enveloped in the darkness of sin and slipped into the deep darkness of death. He was in the dark tomb, eyes closed in death over the span of three days. But before the light could dawn on the third day, even before His created greater light could break the line of the horizon, the tomb was empty, the light was living, the long dark night was ended.


“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (John 20:1). The sealed tomb could not contain the light once it had pierced the darkness of death. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” “In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). His life is light for us. His resurrected life is the light of forgiveness for our sins and the light of everlasting life to dispel our death.


The Evangelist John, who tells us of the life of Christ as God shining the light into the darkness, wrote to you, “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).


Do not walk in the darkness of sin as if you could flick a switch at any time and the light of forgiveness and everlasting life is at your fingertips. You are not able to flick that switch. You cannot find the switch when you are stumbling around in the darkness of sin. Remember the vigil. Remember the thousands of years until God sent the light of His Christ into the world. Remember the hours of suffering on the cross for your salvation. Remember the three days of death in the tomb. Remember and walk in the light that burst forth before dawn on the third day.


“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). His Word became flesh and it shines in your life when you hear His Word. You know that the water poured over your head in Holy Baptism so that although “at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Walk where the light shines from the altar dispensing His body and blood. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).


Do not flirt with the darkness as if you could dispel it with the flick of a switch. It requires the voice of God. It requireed His plan for your salvation from before the foundation of the world. It required the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ and His suffering, death, and resurrection. It took thousands of years of promise, so that faster than the flick of a switch the Word of God gives you His light and life. And when the light once again comes into the world, at the sound of His voice, like the flick of a switch, His light will penetrate the deep, dark graves of all His saints and raise them to live forever in the light of God.



The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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