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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Thoughts for Easter Vigil/Easter Sunrise

This idea comes from Fr. Christopher Seifferlein, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Adell, Wisconsin. He credits these thoughts to John Mason Neale's commentary on Psalm 93:1 "The Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel: the Lord hath put on His apparel, and girded Himself with strength."


Clothing is important. We dress for the occasion. We dress differently for work than we do for play. For when you see a man dressed you know his purpose.

For this reason the king at war would clothe himself according to the occasion. If victory, then crown and glorious apparel. If defeat, sackcloth and ashes. The king's apparel proclaimed and announced either victory or defeat.

And so it is that clothes aren't reserved only for the living. We dress the dead also. We put them to rest in their final clothes. But these clothes aren't those of victory but of defeat. They are a reminder of what once was and now is no more.

Christ, too, died and was buried. He was dressed in the clothes of defeat, the clothing of death, of sin. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus dress the Lord of life in the smells and spices of death. They wrap him with linen, the clothing of sin and the shroud of iniquity. Apparel that confesses defeat not victory.

But today/tonight we see our King Christ, who suffered on the cross and rested in the grave, we see Him not as one defeated, not wearing the clothing of death. We see Him in glorious apparel. For He passed through defeat and death thereby claiming victory of sin, death, and the power of the devil. He has left the clothing of defeat, the apparel of sin and death in the grave. They are folded neatly where he once lay. He has overcome them. And he adorns Himself now with victory, with glory, with strength.  And this announces to all who wear mortality and suffer from sin that death is dead, sin is atoned for, satan and hell are vanquished. For Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

But it is not merely the clothes that He wears but the clothes He dresses us in. By water and His Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, He wrapped you not in the shroud of death but in His clothing of resurrected life. For do you not know that you were therefore buried with Him through Baptism, and so it is that in Baptism, you were also united to Him in the resurrection to life immortal? Thus, you can say, "O death, where is you victory, where, O grave, is your sting?" For Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Christ is adorned in kingly vestments of victory. This is the clothing by which you have victory also. So gaze at His robes and delight in His glorious apparel. For this, too, is yours. You have put on Christ, and thus you wear not the clothing of death but the vestments of eternal life. For Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Jason Braaten1 Comment