A hand holding a lit candle

This Is The Night – Easter Vigil Worship Saturday, April 8th

This is the night, the Easter Vigil liturgy proclaims. This is the night in which God brought an end to the
power of sin, death, and evil; this is the night we are renewed in grace, restored to holiness, and heaven
and earth joined. In the early church, Easter Vigil was foremost of all church festivals. Typically, on
Easter Vigil, the worship would last three hours and conclude at the stroke of midnight. After beginning
worship with a newly lit fire, the worshipers would gather in the worship space with their lit candles and
read 12 Old Testament readings, what I call the “Greatest Hits of the Bible,” plus one reading from
Romans and the Easter story from the Gospel of John. Each reading would be followed by a psalm or
other scripture reading, silence, and a prayer. All those who had been preparing to be baptized
throughout the season of Lent would be baptized together on Easter Vigil. Finally, worshipers would
come together to the table to receive Christ’s body and blood.

While in the United States we celebrate Christmas with gusto, in the church, Easter and especially Easter
Vigil are the moments of unspeakable joy. This is the night that changes everything.

For we may come to believe that death and sin and evil will have the last word. We may wonder if we
will ever come back from grief and hurt and betrayal. We may resign ourselves to hopelessness, but at
Easter Vigil, this is the night we discover God’s response to evil: by breaking the power of it and raising

Jesus from the dead. And in the same way, God will raise us up every time and in every way we are
bowed down. This is the night when our deepest fear and our deepest joy collide. In the bareness and
desolation of Good Friday and the long wait of Holy Saturday, we suddenly hear the inexplicable good
news: Christ is risen!

We gather for Easter Vigil worship on Saturday, April 8 at 7 pm. We will not read all of the Greatest Hits
of the Bible, so our celebration should be no longer than an hour and a half. So, I hope you will come to
light a candle and hear the stories of the ancients and affirm your baptism and share Christ’s