My First Easter Vigil

Written by Joel on April 13th, 2009

This past Eastern Triduum I had the opportunity to attend my first Easter Vigil. It was remarkably beautiful.

The evening began with the service of light, unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a candle. The Christ candle processed down the center aisle and those closest to it lit their candles from it and passed it along to the fellow worshipers. By the time the Christ candle made it to the front of the worship space the entire sanctuary was full of light. It was a sign of Christ in and spread throughout the world.

Next came the liturgy of the word. It began with creation, then told the exodus story, the prophets and finally the story of Jesus’ resurrection. It was a retelling and even a reliving of all salvation history. In particular I remember the Exodus reading. Someone from the church sung it and the congregation responded. It was like being part of a divine opera.

Fifteen people were baptized that night. There was one infant with her mother, two children and eleven others. As each person received the waters of baptism the entire congregation burst into song singing “Blessed be God!” I could feel the Body of Christ get larger with the reception of each new member. Following the baptisms were confirmations on those newly baptized and those not yet confirmed.

The evening concluded with a celebration of the Eucharist. With the retelling of our salvation history and the reception of new Christians, the community gathered for the climax of the evening in Eucharist.

It was a beautiful. The choir led worship wonderfully, but they did not sing to us; it was a community event. The telling of our history was done so well and vividly.

I wonder why Protestant Christians so readily adopted the Christmas Vigil (Christmas Eve service) but not the Easter Vigil. I feel like I have been missing something significant all these years.


 

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