Saturday, March 22, 2008


Holy Saturday ends the fast of Lent, which has been a fast with a purpose. Many people may not understand fasting, since it’s not making a statement like a hunger strike does. It’s devotional. It focuses one’s consciousness and makes one mindful. The purpose of the Lenten fast is to prepare to welcome Christ as king once again, to acknowledge that we continue to fail at our duty but that we are grateful for God’s mercy. Rejoice! The bells and the hallelujahs sound. Death in all its forms is not lasting.

I am, it turns out, too tired to develop this theme further tonight. Let me, then, share part of tonight’s Easter Vigil service. The Book of Common Prayer leads the congregation, with the pastor, through the following vows:

Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
I do.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
I will, with God's help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
I will, with God's help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
I will, with God's help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
I will, with God's help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
I will, with God's help.

Simple questions. The answer is harder—“with God’s help.” If we learn anything from Lent, it should be this: that is the only way to say “I will,” the only way we can do anything. Yet we must strive to do it all, persevering, loving, and respecting.

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