O God, for our redemption You gave Your only-begotten Son to death on the cross and by His glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of the enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned through daily repentance and that day by day we may arise to live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
There are two prayers for Easter morning. This is the second one. If you attended service yesterday, you might have heard a different prayer. I wanted to reflect on this one because of the clause in the second line “you…delivered us from the power of the enemy.” Some time ago, my brother reminded me of a bit of familial lore. Our grandfather served in France in World War I. We have a picture of him and his 11 siblings which was taken just before he left. They wanted a picture in case he did not come back. It was not an unreasonable precaution. His troop transport, crammed full of men, became a cruise into terror when the Spanish Flu broke out. As they zig-zagged across the Atlantic to avoid German submarines, they were burying up to 90 men per day. My grandfather slept on the deck to avoid the cramped and disease-ridden conditions below, often huddling under a lifeboat to avoid weather and detection. He drove a truck in that conflict. Narrowly escaped death on several occasions and returned home to his family in South Dakota.
We acknowledge that God delivers us from the power of the enemy today. The enemies may change from year to year, generation to generation, but they never really go away. They are never greater than God’s deliverance. My grandfather went on to marry, have children, and farm. He lost that farm in the great depression and eventually they settled in Wisconsin where he farmed and raised his sons through another great war. His was a life filled with many enemies who wanted to do him harm but through faith God delivered him. As his middle son, my father, was on vicarage in the early 1950’s, however, the world took one more swing at him and landed a punch. He died of cancer before my father’s vicarage year was over. I never met that grandfather who had stories of deliverance to tell.
Jesus has risen from the dead. Baptized into his death and resurrection my grandfather and I will one day be delivered from that last and greatest enemy of all, death. Then perhaps we will get to hear the stories straight from him. More likely we will have better things to talk about. My father said that when he was a child the Lutheran parish which they attended always had another service on Easter Monday. We can sing again today, with angels, archangels, and with all the company of heaven, including my grandfather, because Jesus has delivered us from the power of all our enemies. Sing an Easter hymn today.