Easter Vigil 2020

Easter Vigil 2020

Theme: Easter Vigil
Series: Easter 2020

Easter Saturday. The Great Vigil of Easter.


Dear friends, On this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer. And that is what we do tonight – we gathered together, and by prayer and hearing God’s Word, we share in Jesus victory over death.

The first Easter Saturday would have been a weird day because literally nothing happened.

Sabbath ran from Sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday and the Sabbath rules restricted any activity that looked like work.  All that they would have done was to stay at home and wait for it to be over.  (Sounding rather familiar)

So if you think about the timing … Jesus died at 3pm in the afternoon, they barely would have had time to take Jesus from the cross and bury him in the borrow tomb before night came

The gospels hint that the disciples – after scattering on Thursday night –  somehow regathered at someone’s place on the Saturday (as they were together on Sunday morning).  They had a whole day where all they could do was to sit together in their grief and loss.  To share the heart break of their broken dreams and hopes and wait until the Sabbath was over.

When Jesus and the disciples gathered on the Thursday night for the Passover meal, they would have retold the story of the Exodus … how God brought the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.

In the resurrection story of the Walk to Emmaus, as they three companions walked along the road we are told that Jesus … And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

There is something important about hearing again the biblical story.  And that is where the tradition of the Great Vigil of Easter came from.  To set aside some time on Easter Saturday to hear again the great story of God’s love and salvation.

This is the most amount of speaking that I am going to do in this service, but instead we are going to be ministered to by God’s Word.  We are going to hear seven chunks of scripture and I will simply pray a short prayer after each one.

At the end of these seven reading we will have an opportunity to reaffirm the faith that we declared in our baptism

Ministry of the Word

Let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history, how he saved his people in ages past; and let us pray that our God will bring each of us to the fullness of redemption.

Reading #1 – The Story of Creation                                                   Genesis 1:1-2:2

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #2 – Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea           Exodus 14:10-15:1

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, whose wonderful deeds of old shine forth even to our own day, you once delivered by the power of your mighty arm your chosen people from slavery under Pharaoh, to be a sign for us of the salvation of all nations by the water of Baptism: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may be numbered among the offspring of Abraham, and rejoice in the inheritance of Israel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #3 – God’s Presence in a renewed Israel                       Isaiah 4:2-6

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you led your ancient people by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night: Grant that we, who serve you now on earth, may come to the joy of that heavenly Jerusalem, where all tears are wiped away and where your saints for ever sing your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #4 – Salvation offered freely to all                                 Isaiah 55:1-11

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you have created all things by the power of your Word, and you renew the earth by your Spirit: Give now the water of life to those who thirst for you, that they may bring forth abundant fruit in your glorious kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #5 – A new heart and a new spirit                      Ezekiel 36:24-28

Let us pray. (Silence)

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who are reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #6 – The gathering of God’s people              Zephaniah 3:12-20

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favourably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation: let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading #7 – Baptised with Christ in his death                   Romans 6:3-11

Through the Paschal mystery, dear friends, we are buried with Christ by Baptism into his death, and raised with him to newness of life. I call upon you, therefore, at this the end of Lent, to renew the solemn promises and vows of Holy Baptism, by which we have turned away from sin and turned to Jesus, and promised to serve God faithfully in his holy Church.

The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus?

I do.

Do you believe in God the Father?

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven,

 and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the worldwide Church,

the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.   Amen

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help.

You may like to come forward to receive the sign of the cross

May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Final Prayers

Almighty God,

We cannot thank you enough, that for our redemption, you gave your only- begotten Son to the death of the cross so that we might be delivered from the power of our enemy, and as we will celebrate tomorrow … by his glorious resurrection we can find life. 

Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live for Jesus our saviour;, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.