Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

April 2010: Easter vigil

april 2010 grace flyer

This is the second time we collaborated with St. Mary's on an Easter Vigil. Last year we took the lead. This time, the liturgy was shaped more by St. Mary's.

Service of the Light

Small, unlit candles are distributed to members of the congregation in the café shortly before the service begins. These will be lit from the Paschal Candle during the Service of Light outside.The service begins outside the church, where we will gather around a brazier.

Listen all of you What is happening? Tonight there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness. There is a deep longing where hope has vanished, and all that is left is the dull aching throb of loss and longing. Where is hope? Where is light? Where is God?

Holy Saturday is about emptiness. ‘The cross is empty now, and still.’ Where is the Lord? They are saying he is dead. The Christ, the God, the source, the creator, the everlasting light of the world …is dead. The heavens and the earth cry out with longing for the sinless one who is not to be found. We wait, like mourners beside a grave, unsettled, ill at ease, almost not knowing what to do with ourselves.

But he lives in light, bathed in beauty, ever creating, ever living – he could never come back… to here. But we are gathered, as Christians have gathered from the earliest times, through the night of Easter, to recall the story of God’s saving work, from creation through to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Paschal Candle is lit from the fire

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.
The candles held by the congregation are lit from the Paschal Candle.
For every person the following is said:

The light of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Gill introduces the walk around the church and what will take place.

We walk around the church three times following the Paschal candle. Once the laps have been completed, Mike enters the building, followed by the congregation, and they pause just inside the entrance. The Candle is lifted up and Gill says:

The light of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

The procession continues to the centre of the building and stops once more. The Paschal Candle is placed in the centre. People stand in the central space.

The Exultet

The Exultet is led by Gill standing by the Candle. The words are presented on the screens. There is a track playing.

Choirs of angels, stars and planets:
all God’s people sing and dance.

All creation, Church of God:
all God’s people sing and dance.

We praise you Lord of life and death: we glorify your name:
all God’s people sing and dance.

This is the night you set us free, bringing us home in love; holy night, when you led your people through the fearsome sea:
all God’s people sing and dance.

This is the night you brought your Son through the doors of death; O holy night, when death takes flight and hope is born again:
all God’s people sing and dance.

This is the night our tears of sadness turn to shouts of joy; holy night, when the choirs of earth sing the songs of heaven:
all God’s people sing and dance.

This is the night when Christ our Light makes the darkness bright:
all God’s people sing and dance.

Christ is the life that knows no end. Christ is the love that burns within. Christ is the peace that floods the world. Christ is the Lord who reigns on high.
All God’s people sing and dance. Amen.

The Vigil

Something Visual – grave cloths?? – have it as the modern equivalent of the epi-taphios? A disused hospital gown? – ask flatmate re: hosp scrubs.

Saturday is the day that God rested from the work of creation. Tonight is Great and Holy Saturday, when Christ rests in the tomb from his great work of salvation.

We pray together the words in bold:

O God, Creator of heaven and earth, as the body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, help us await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to new life; Amen

All Sing: Kyrie Eleison

(as we sing, we place our candles in the trays provided around the Paschal Candle.)

Please take a seat (People sit down). We will have some readings, with pauses for reflection or for activity. If there is a gap, and nothing seems to be happening, don’t get anxious. Embrace the silence.

Reading 1 Gen Ch1:v31- Ch 2:v3 + Gen Ch3: v 1-13

Silence 30 seconds

Please come, take a picture from the box, and tear it as a symbol of the wreckage of our world. You can leave the pieces by the grave-clothes.

Reading 2 Exodus Ch12: v21-23, 29-31 & Exodus Ch14: v10-31& Ch15 :1a

Something visual – was thinking of Brick testament pictures on slides? Or something a bit less irreverent.

Silence 45 seconds

Reading 3 Mark 14: 3-8 (Mary and the jar of Nard)

SPRAY SOMETHING THAT SMELLS NICE. Activity – invite people to pray silently for the people on either side of them – that God would bless them with the same extravagant love that Mary showed to Jesus.

Silence 1 minute

Reading 4 Isaiah 53: v1-6:

Silence 30 minutes

Ask people to make Nail-crosses to hold, as a stimulus to silent prayer. After the nails have been handed out and there is a general end of shuffling, another 1 minute silence.

(prayer on Slide) Jesus the desolate

You share the pain of humanity. We are crying out, But you are near us. We put ourselves and all who walk the journey of pain Into your hands.

We go to the tomb. We wait for the dawn. Lord, call us back to life. Lord, call whatever is dead in us Back to life.

Silence 30 minutes

All Sing: Kyrie Eleison

Acclamations: All stand. Lights come up during acclamations.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
He has defeated the powers of death.
Jesus turns our sorrow into dancing.
He has the words of eternal life.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Reading 5 Gospel; Mark 16:1-8. Read by Steve P

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Service of Initiation

Dean invites the congregation to proceed out of the south door. Following Paschal candle, procession enters the church and gathers around the font in the vestibule.

Renewal of baptismal vows

Dean invites people to make the sign of the cross with baptismal water and return to the body of the church. Justin gathers people in the centre of the church for the peace.

The Peace

A Seated Night starts here

The Eucharist

Prayer after Communion

Easter Acclamation

The Gloria


The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect in every good work and work in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you now and always. Amen.

The Dismissal

He is not here. He is risen. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the name of Christ. Amen. Alleluia, alleluia.