The Episcopal Churches of the Blue Hill Peninsula celebrated the Great Vigil of Easter together
St. Francis by the Sea
St. Brendan the Navigator
Trinity Episcopal Church
Saturday, April 16, 2022, 7:00 pm
The Great Vigil of Easter
The Lighting of the Paschal Candle
The Rev. Jenny Reece, presiding
The Rev. Regina Christianson, homily
In the darkness, fire was kindled outside in a cold drizzle and not caught on camera. The Celebrant says:
Dear friends in Christ: 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.
For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which, by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share in his victory over death.
The history of the Easter Vigil can be seen below the videos.
Please click below for Bishop Thomas Brown’s Easter message for 2022. Click here for a transcript of his message. Happy Easter!
The Great Vigil of Easter, held sometime between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter, is the ancient service that celebrates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Beautiful and soul-stirring, the service involves our whole being – sights, smells, sounds, stories, dark, light, … and waiting. By the end of the fourth century, the Easter Vigil had the four parts, and in the order, we follow today: Service of Light; Service of Lessons; Baptism or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows; and Holy Eucharist.
Service of Light: We begin in darkness, outside. A new fire is lit. From it the Paschal Candle is lit and then our own candles. We process behind the lighted Paschal Candle, the light of Christ, into the darkened church; the light of Christ breaking the darkness of sin and death. Then we hear the Exsultet. Exsultet, Rejoice – the opening word of the Easter Proclamation, an ancient song sung over the Paschal candle. The Exsultet recounts the saving events of the Old Testament and New Testament.
Service of Lessons: Keeping vigil is a time of prayerful waiting, prayerful being present with one another. When we keep vigil, we tell stories – often family stories. So it is during Easter Vigil. We tell the stories passed on to us by our faith ancestors. Stories of our faith family history, old, old stories that recall how God loved and saved his people throughout history. Each story, a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, is followed by a psalm or hymn, and prayer.
Baptism or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows: In the early church, Easter was the main time for baptisms. Over the centuries, the tradition has become that if there are no baptisms, we renew our Baptismal vows. The words of the Celebrant remind us that, “Through the Paschal mystery, dear friends, we are buried with Christ by Baptism into his death, and raised with him to newness of life.” Following our renewal, the Celebrant asperges us. As we delight in being sprinkled with water, a reminder of our baptism, we join the Celebrant in the Easter Proclamation: Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia. All at once, bells ring, lights go on, altar candles are lit, and music fills the air.
Holy Eucharist – Easter Communion: Our celebration reaches its high point in the Easter Eucharist. We have come from darkness into light, from prayerful waiting to joyful thanksgiving. We are a people made new; we are an Easter people given new life in Jesus Christ.