How Did You Get Here?
Easter Vigil 2016
Bonnie A. Perry
How did you get here? How did you arrive here? By this I’m not so much inquiring after your mode of transportation, but rather, more in that David Byrne, Talking Heads kind of way: Well—how did I get here?
What in your life, lead you at this time and in this place to be here on this most Holy Night? For you know—this is the night.. This is the night when God acted and God will act again. This is the night, when God said, “I’m Lonely” and acted.
This is the night when Rachel said, “That brother, the brother from whom you stole an inheritance and blessing…that brother, that’s the one with whom you wish to reconcile?” And Jacob acted…This is the night, “Pharoah said, “Go. Go and get the hell out of here and leave what’s left of my people in peace.”
This is the night, Ezekiel said, “Only you know Lord, if these bones can live.”
This is the night Jonah replied, “Nineveh—Lord, you want me to go to Ninevah…”
This is that same very night—and I return again to my question—how did you get here?
This is the night when we will baptize, Olivia Claire Fergus-Brummer, or who I casually and typically refer to as Gabriel. For a young person can only embody the role of God’s spokesperson in our Christmas pageant for so long—before it takes hold.
How did Olivia get here? Here is a story—another story—a story of happiness, grief, sadness and community.
We are baptizing Olivia tonight, because 13 years ago we baptized Grant Garland. Ten years ago, we buried his father Scott Garland. We are baptizing Olivia, because her mom, Mary Fergus, was then a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and Mary was covering Scott’s tragic, untimely death, in a single engine plane crash. Mary came to Scott’s funeral as a reporter. It might be fair to say, she left that funeral as a seeker, a believer, as a person whose faith had been pricked, touched, a bit rekindled.
Mary and her husband David and their daughter Olivia came back, once, twice, over and over again—and the next thing you know, Olivia is Gabriel two years in a row, and that—that is a part of the story as to how Olivia came to be here—this night. Just a part …
How did you come to be here? How did you get to this part of your life? How did any of us get here..
Perhaps you’re married 14 years, two kids and here you are.
You moved for your spouse, that relationship went South, and here you are, starting again;
You moved for a job, a job everyone said would be great, that turned out to be way harder, and not so much fun
Your new boyfriend was cute —he asked you to church—what could you say?
Maybe, You’ve been here awhile, blinked your eyes and suddenly it's 24 years…
Well how did you get here—on this most holy night? On this most holy night, when we remember that God acts and has acted and will act again in our world and our lives.
We are here this night together, and I am convinced it is no mistake, no happenstance, but rather a call by God to all of us, to be the people who tell the story, who live the story of God saving lives. We live this story, tell this story to ourselves and each other, because we cannot do what God is asking us to do on our own. Even God couldn’t do it on God’s own.
God was lonely, God needed, Rachel and Isaac, and Moses and Pharoah, and Ezekiel, and Jonah and Olivia, and Scott, Mary and David, and each of us to tell the story, and live the hope of God’s call to us.
This is the night Christ passes over from death unto life, this is the night, that we pass from fear to life, from pain to hope, from dry bones to breathing souls.
On this most Holy Night.
Thanks be to God.
Copyright 2016 Bonnie A. Perry