The Great Vigil of Easter

Not only are we blessed with a wonderful congregation which we call home, we are also blessed to have a local sister congregation with whom we occasionally celebrate special services, including Epiphany, Ascension, and my favorite service of the year, the Great Vigil of Easter. I love the transition from darkness to light that this service brings, the symbolism and remembrances. It feels like an extended time of the Sacrament, when Heaven and Earth intersect.

The bulletin from the Vigil had a great explanation of the parts of which the service is made up, and I thought I’d share that here:

“The Vigil has four parts. (1) It begins with the Service of Light. The Paschal (Passover) candle is lighted from new fire. Then we light our candles from the Paschal Candle. Following a procession, the Exsultet (Proclamation) joyously sounds the theme for the evening. (2) During the second part of the Vigil, a series of Readings from the Old Testament recalls God’s saving acts for his people throughout history. These readings and the accompanying prayers, psalms, and canticles, are the “vigil” portion of the service. Vigil means patiently but expectantly waiting for a celebration. During this service we ignore time. The Vigil has no set length, it lasts as long as it lasts. (3) The third part of the Service focuses on Baptismal Remembrance. We rejoice again in the blessings God gave to us in Baptism. We confess again the faith that the Holy Spirit gave to us in Baptism. And we promise again to live faithfully as God’s baptized people. Often we have the privilege of witnessing Baptisms or Confirmations. (4) The Vigil comes to a joyous conclusion in the Service of the Lord’s Supper, which begins tonight and is completed at the Festival Divine Service on Easter morning.”

It is a great blessing to go to this service and have the chance to “peak in the tomb” before Easter Sunday’s services, and hear the Word proclaimed so completely.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

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