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The Great Vigil of Easter

Saturday, April 15 at 7:30pm

The Great Vigil of Easter —

Bring your bells!

The Great Vigil of Easter is traditionally the main service of Easter and is a celebration of the Resurrection. The Vigil starts in darkness (where Good Friday left us) and the service begins with the lighting of a “new fire” which is a deeply symbolic action of renewal and the beginning of all things new. The Paschal candle is then lit from the new fire which represents the light of Christ coming into the world (“Paschal” from the Hebrew which means “Passover”). The congregation then lights their candles from the Paschal candle—this action ushers in our participation in Christ’s Passover from death into life as we continue our pilgrimage deeper into the paschal mystery. 

The Liturgy of the Word is a tour through God’s salvation history as the stories of creation, the Exodus and the promise of new things proclaimed by the prophets guide us toward the ceremonies of baptism and confirmation. This is a time where everyone participates in a re-commitment to the light of Christ which we all carry and embrace. When the celebrant announces that Christ has risen, all the lights in the church come on, bells ring (don’t forget to bring bells!), and alleluias are once again proclaimed. On this night we celebrate the joy of not only the Resurrection itself but our oneness with Christ by the very nature of our baptism.

The Easter Vigil is ancient, timeless, dramatic and an essential stop on a pilgrimage toward the center of our faith as Christians: Participation in the dying and rising of Jesus Christ. The Easter Vigil is the fullest proclamation of this participation in the paschal mystery, which is the saving mystery of God.

The Rev. Jenifer Chatfield+