I experienced breathtaking imagery of Jesus' death and resurrection a year ago at Saint Martin in the Fields at 5:15 AM. On a cold and quiet London morning, I entered a church which was in total darkness and was handed an unlit candle. As the service commenced, the Gospel unfolded beautifully through the metaphor of darkness and light.
Before God intervened in creation, there was darkness. The earth was without form. But God spoke, and there was light. Before Christ intervenes in our lives, there is darkness. Ephesians 5:8 tells us that "at one time you were darkness." Immersed in literal darkness, I was confronted with my sin, my own darkness, which I cannot dispel through my power alone. The beauty of creation, marred by the fall of man, led us to the crucifixion, for Christ came to die for our sins, offering salvation to all of mankind.
Christ, fully God and fully man, is born to a virgin; He is the Son of God, the Light of the World, and the salvation for mankind. To achieve atonement for our sins, there must be a sacrifice, traditionally a "clean" animal in the Old Testament, but on the day of Jesus' crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice was made. Christ, God's son, laid down His life for us, taking the punishment for our sins, for "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)
At this point in the service, we were all invited outside to light the New Fire, a symbol of Christ's renewing power in our lives. From this fire, a candle was lit, and we all filed back inside and gathered together. One by one our candles were lit, and this was read:
With the Resurrection account read, the lights were turned on, and everyone with a bell, triangle, or cymbal began creating music to celebrate the resurrection of our Redeemer. What a powerful moment this was to be literally brought from darkness to light in a moment. This is what happens when we ask for salvation. This is what happened when Christ rose from the grave. The darkness in the world was overcome by the Light.
As Christians, we have no reason to fear death, for Christ has overcome. The darkness has disappeared and replaced with light. Rejoice in the beauty of the Gospel this weekend.