The Easter Vigil is probably the oldest feature of the Church’s Easter celebrations. From its earliest times the Church would keep watch through the night and meditate on the mighty works of God. Christians would pray until the earliest hours of the morning, when Christ’s resurrection was acclaimed. It was also during the Easter vigil that many new disciples would finally be baptized after a year or more of preparation and instruction.
“Dear friends in Christ, on this most holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together in vigil and prayer. This is the Passover of the Lord. We remember his death and resurrection by hearing his word and celebrating his mysteries; we are confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him for ever in God.” -The Book of Alternative Services, p.322
Eternal Giver of life and light, this holy night shines with the radiance of the risen Christ. Renew your Church with the Spirit given to us in baptism, that we may worship you in sincerity and truth, and shine as a light in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A reading from Luke 24:1-9 (NRSV):
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
‘He is not here, but has risen’.
Dwell with these words for a while.
Where is this living Lord to be found in your life?
How do you sense him now?
‘He has risen.’ For a moment, talk to the risen Lord as friends do, sharing with him whatever is in your heart and mind today.