Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Great Vigil of Easter

The tomb is empty.
Christ is Risen!
Death is conquered -- we are free!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

In a very few minutes I will head over to All Saints Church to prepare for The Great Vigil of Easter. We will kindle the first fire of Easter outside in on the platform in front of the church, light the Paschal Candle, process into the darkened church to the ancient sound of the Exultet and then settle in to hear selections from scripture -- recalling our history -- along with contemporary readings -- calling us into God's future -- all leading up to the great moment when Easter will arrive ... with trumpets blaring, bells ringing and Alleluias proclaiming.

We will baptize into the Body of Christ three adults (the 17 children having been baptized at the 4:00 "Children's Vigil") and incorporate into the membership at All Saints Church 33 new members -- who have been preparing for this night for months in our Covenant I class.

The liturgy is described as follows:


The Great Vigil of Easter is the culmination of the sacred celebration of Holy Week and the beginning of the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. It is the climax of the Christian Year and unfolds the story of redemption in scripture, psalm, and sacrament. It begins in darkness and proceeds to a joyous burst of light. It begins in silence and proceeds to the glorious proclamation of the Paschal Alleluia celebrating the passing from death to life, from sin to grace.

As we baptize new Christians into the Body of Christ and incorporate new members into All Saints Church we listen to the historic record of God's saving acts in history through the scriptural stories that are our heritage. We hear from contemporary sources calling us to speak truth to power in the name of the God who calls us to walk in love with God and with each other. And we gather at the table to be fed by the bread and wine made holy -- praying that it give us strength for the journey as we go out to be the Body of Christ in the world.

Frederick Buechner famously said, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep need meet." The Great Vigil of Easter is a place where that gladness and that need meet in this liturgical celebration of our baptismal call.


And now ... off to church with me!

Alleluia, Everyone!

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