Something powerful happens when a church community simply reads the Bible together. This probably sounds boring to a lot of people. No gimmicks. No outlandish sets. No fog machines. Just the true stories of some pretty stubborn people and their fiercely faithful God. But during this year’s Easter Vigil I was struck by the inevitable wonder of these stories and how they teach us the meaning of God’s faithfulness to his people, the Israelites and his church.
These stories are crazy. Bizarre. Hilarious. Even Gruesome. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I can forget that. This year, thanks to the gifts of those in our Resurrection community, I saw the sheer folly. An extended family—with issues like any family—stuck in a boat as God reboots the world. A father asked to sacrifice his son … and his obedience to actually follow through. A prophet envisioning a wonderful, yet horrific image: a pit of bones coming to life.
And the craziest part of all? These things actually happened. Like the twelve stones Joshua set up in the Jordan River, they remind us of the greatness of our God. Most importantly, they point to his victory. Why did we cheer when the Egyptians were defeated in this year’s Red Sea reading? Because God won. And through him, our people, the Israelites, won. And so we, as the church, are also victorious—in these stories, in the resurrection, and ultimately when Christ returns. God always wins.
These stories and prophecies, retold year after year, point us to Christ, the culmination of God’s faithfulness to us. Through his death and resurrection he fulfilled the themes and promises in these stories. There is no greater example of God’s love—a love that was present to his people even from creation.
Photos by Kim Johnson and Katy Carlson
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