god's saving deeds

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This book is a collection of teachings, discussion questions for families, groups, and individuals, and paintings from a variety of contributors at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, all focused on the Old Testament passages used at the Easter Vigil. Included is a series of ten original paintings based on each Script

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  • A Bible Study on the Readings of the Easter Vigil

  • A Bible Study on the Readings of the Easter Vigil

  • Gods Saving Deeds: A Bible Study on the Readings of the Easter Vigil 2015 Church of the Resurrection, Illinois. Editor: Trevor McMakenManaging Editor: Ellen M. RichardDesign: Devon PhillipsCopy Editing: Ashley Grace EmmertPaintings: Laura Tabbut, Janice WoodPhotography: Michael JohnsonWriters: Brandon Michael Burdette, Scott Cunningham, Chris Easley, Matthew Farrelly, Sarah Graham, Caleb Lindgren, Stephanie Petrich, John Raines

    Scripture quotations marked NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    Church of the Resurrection935 W. Union Ave Wheaton, IL 60187

    www.churchrez.org

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    5 ..................................................................Preface

    11 ............................................About the Paintings

    81 ..........................................................Afterword

    85 ..................................................... Contributors

    15 The Story of Creation

    27 The Flood

    39 Israels Deliverance at the Red Sea

    53 Salvation Offered Freely to All

    65 The Valley of Dry Bones

    21 The Fall

    33 Abrahams Sacrifice of Isaac

    47 Gods Presence in a Renewed Land

    59 A New Heart and a New Spirit

    73 The Gathering of Gods People

  • Let us hear the record of Gods saving deeds in history, how he saved his people in ages past; and let us pray that our God will bring each of us to the fullness of redemption.

    Book of Common Prayer, Easter Vigil

  • 7Preface

    The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is at the very core of our faith as Christians. Thus, the Apostle Paul teaches, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9, ESV). Likewise, Paul clearly states that If Christ ha[d] not been raised, [our faith would be] futile (1 Corinthians 15:17, ESV). For this reason, Christians from the very earliest days of the Church have gathered together on the first day of the week, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, to celebrate and proclaim the mystery of his death and resurrection.

    It was from this same resurrection perspective that Jewish Christians, who continued to celebrate the Passover each year, came to understand the deeper meaning of that ancient feast, proclaiming, Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7, ESV). Over time, even Christians who did not come from a Jewish background began to celebrate the annual

    Christian Passover we now call Easter. While the Jewish Passover (the 14th day of the month of Nissan) can fall on any day of the week, Christians chose to celebrate this annual feast on a Sunday, thereby underscoring its connection with the weekly celebration of the Lords resurrection.

    The Apostle Paul also teaches that we personally share in Christs resurrection by sharing in his saving death, stating in Romans 5:6, If

  • 8Gods savinG deeds

    we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. He goes on to explain that when were baptized into Jesus life, were also baptized into his death (Romans 6:3, ESV). It is only natural, then, that the celebration of Easter is closely associated with the celebration of the sacrament of baptism.

    Those to be baptized on Easter prayed and fasted to prepare themselves during a 40-day season we now call Lent. The culmination of this period of intense preparation was a night watch or Vigil of scripture reading and

    prayer that immediately preceded baptism and the celebration of Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday.

    This pattern is faithful to the example given to us by Jesus himself on the first Easter. Luke 24:1324

    tells us of two disciples of Jesus, traveling together to a village near Jerusalem called Emmaus. On their journey they were joined by an apparent stranger. They took this opportunity to share with their newfound companion the profound discouragement they felt at the death of their teacher just three days earlier, and their confusion at strange reports of an empty tomb and the appearance of angels. Their still-unknown companion, who was none other than the risen Lord Jesus himself, replied:

    O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    When they reached the village, they urged their companion, whom they still did not recognize, to stay with them for the night. It was only then, as they shared a meal together, that they finally recognized the risen Lord:

    The culmination of this period of intense preparation was a night watch or Vigil of Scripture reading and prayer.

  • 9When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures? (ESV)

    Easter Vigil is an invitation to experience for ourselves what those disciples experienced on the Road to Emmaus the evening of the very first Easter. Like them, we are led through a series of passages from the Old Testament, beginning with Moses (Genesis, Exodus) and continuing through the prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah), while our hearts burn within us as the veil is removed from our eyes (2 Corinthians 3:16) and we see revealed in each passage the saving work of the one who died for us and

    on the third day rose again, according to the Scriptures (Nicene Creed).

    Were also invited to recognize the presence of the risen Lord Jesus himself among us, in the breaking of the bread of Holy Eucharist.

    In the early Church, those who were to be baptized were not the only ones who prepared themselves in a special way for Easter. All the faithful joined with them in prayer and fasting as they also prepared to renew their own baptismal vows. Christians today seek to make a good Lent by prayer, fasting, and good works, often turning to their church for guidance on how to focus and direct their individual Lenten journeys.

    Church of the Resurrection created this booklet in that spirit. Weve developed a wealth of devotional, theological, and artistic material from a variety of contributors, reflecting different approaches and styles, all focused on the Old Testament passages used at the Easter Vigil. The goal is to help readers prepare themselves to enter into these readings in a whole new way at the Easter Vigil.

    Jesus himself tells us he is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13, ESV). The readings of

    Preface

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    Gods savinG deeds

    the Easter Vigil remind us that the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) has been at work since the very beginning of Creation (For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesall things were created through him and for him Colossians 1:16, ESV). Gods promise to Israel (You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, Exodus 19:6, ESV), has been gloriously fulfilled in us. We are now a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9, ESV). May the resources in this booklet help us to prepare ourselves to be faithful to that call.

    Rev. Canon Dr. Stephen J. GauthierAssisting Priest at Church of the ResurrectionCanon Theologian for the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest

  • 11

    Preface

  • 13

    Introduction to the Paintings

    As humans created in the image of God, creating visual art is our natural birthright. In the Genesis account, God models creativity for us. The imagery in Scripture is replete with narratives of creation, fall, and redemption. In our series of ten paintings created for the Easter Vigil scripture readings, Janice Wood and I discovered many of these micro-narrative structures throughout the larger story arc of the Old Testament.

    The ten paintings were developed using a collaborative approach. Each composition was created through a process of reading the passages, doing visual research, and sketching out themes. Janice and I studied each passage for strong visual images. As we composed the images from Scripture, we started drawing out ideas. Then we would hand our ideas across the table and immediately draw over each others drawings. After several rounds of drawing, our compositions would blend into complete drafts. These drafts were sketched onto canvas for the painting process.

    The pieces were painted using a grisaille painting technique; a foundation of black, white, and gray glazed with color. The grisaille allowed for a limited color palette, which unified all ten images.

    We began painting in the old ministry center on College Avenue where Church of the Resurrection rented offices. The pieces journeyed with us through the refurbishment of Resurrections new building and were brought

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    to a point of completion f