April 20, 2019 at 6:30 PM
This is the night of nights. The service is the most ancient and dramatic of all Christian liturgies. Though it lasts longer than most Sunday worships there is a sense that time stops and we enter eternity. There will be fire and candles; word and silence; processions; water, bread and wine; spring flowers in abundance, special art installations; choir, and organ. You will not want to miss it! It is both a celebration and a renewal of your faith!
This liturgy is the heart of our celebration of the Three Days and the pinnacle of the church's year. The resurrection of Christ isproclaimed in word and sign, and we gather around a pillar of fire, hearancient stories of our faith, welcome new sisters and brothers at the font,and share the food and drink of the promised land. Raised with Christ, we go forth into the world, aflame with the good news of the resurrection.
The Easter Vigil is among the oldest and richest of Christian liturgies. Before the church year developed, early Christians annually celebrated theunitive event of Jesus’ death and resurrection as their Passover observance.The early Christians saw the death and resurrection of Christ as their “passover” from death to life, from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom. The Easter Vigil developed as a Night Watch in which the faithful would gather in churches on the night of Easter, to baptize those who hadbeen prepared during Lent, and to await the hour when Christ arose from the tomb. Just as Israel spent Passover night waiting for the coming of the Messiah, Christians also wait for the return of the Lord. The faithful are invited to the table when the Lord comes, whether that be in the glory of his Second Coming or in the mystery of the Eucharist. This dramatic liturgy is not so much a commemoration of past events, as it is our participation inthe saving events that make present the mystery of our faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!
Four movements make up the Easter Vigil liturgy. We gather outside on 22nd Street as the light stars to fade and light a new fire and follow the Paschal Candle into the darkened Fellowship Hall. The Easter Proclamation,an ancient hymn bringing together all the themes of the Vigil, is sung. The word is at the core of the Vigil. We listen to the narratives of God’s mighty acts in history and how God continues to save God’s people. These stories are not read as ancient history, but in the sense that what happened once in the past is happening again through our participation in the paschal mystery. Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil since through baptism we are joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Those of us already baptized renew our baptismal vows and deepen our commitment to our baptismal calling. Then we move to the sanctuary and enter the climax of the Vigil, the meal. At the Lord’s table we feast upon the food of the promised land and celebrate the presence of our risen Lord at the great banquet table.
This year we are honored and thrilled to welcome The Rev. Kevin L. Strickland, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop, Executive for Worship at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to preach and preside during the Three-Days. We too would be honored and thrilled to welcome you and your communities of faith to join us as we celebrate our unity in Christ.
Join us at 6:30 PM on April 20, 2019