The Three Days: The Vigil of Christ's Resurrection at Sunrise-April 21, 8:00 AM
This Week in Worship
Texts: Genesis 1-2, 3:6-9, Exodus 1-14, Daniel 3, Isaiah 55:1-7, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Luke 24:1-12, Luke 24:1-12
About this morning’s service: The Easter Vigil service is considered the highlight of the church’s liturgical year. It is an ancient service, dating back to at least the fourth century in Jerusalem, geared toward moving the Church from Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday. It is meant to remind us of God’s plan to redeem all creation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
From the story of the creation through the history of the children of Israel, we follow the story of God’s deliverance of His people. Most of all, we recall and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who redeemed us and freed us from our slavery to sin, offering us life eternal by the merits of the empty grave. We recognize our own death to sin and rising to new life in baptism, and we celebrate the risen Lord in our midst through the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The Vigil consists of four services: Light, Word, Water and Eucharist.
The Service of the Light symbolizes the power of Jesus’ resurrection over the darkness and hopelessness of the world.
The Service of the Word calls us to we hear the stories of God’s salvation in history. This year, it will feature a “Reverse Tenebrae” service, lighting a new candle after each story. This culminates with the reading of the resurrection story, the lighting of the seventh candle along with the whole church, complete with the ringing of bells.
Once that is done, we take time to remember that our own story of salvation in Christ is signified through the waters of baptism. As this was the night in ancient times when Christian converts were baptized, we remember our own baptism and renew our baptismal vows, before departing to share a festival breakfast.
Typically in the Easter Vigil, the service would proceed immediately to the Service of the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion). However, this year, we have done the first half of the Vigil during the sunrise service. The 10:45 a.m. service will pick up with a Thanksgiving for the resurrection, reflection on the Word, and commence with the joyful feast of Holy Communion.