Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Easter Vigil

The big service on Saturday takes place in the evening, and everyone is highly encouraged to participate.
And yes, if you come to the Vigil on Saturday at 8pm you can also come to the Sunday 10am Service to be a part of the excitement of the Festivities with the full Choir and Brass Ensemble.

From Holy Week Explained.....
We take for granted coming to Christmas Services on Christmas Eve, but the more ancient practice is to come to Easter Services on Easter Eve! We will celebrate this ancient liturgy in the Chapel.
The liturgy has several parts. The service begins in darkness. Then a fire is lit and the Paschal (large Easter Candle) is blessed and lit, symbolizing Jesus as the Light of the World. Hand-candles are lit for participants. Then is sung the Exsultet, a recounting of the saving acts of God in history.
Next, several Old Testament readings and Psalms makeup the Liturgy of the Word, reminding us of God’s faithful promises to the people of Israel.
Then water and the baptismal font are blessed, and baptisms (if any are scheduled) are done. It is also an opportunity for us to start off the Easter Season right by renewing our own baptismal vows.
After the Litany of the Saints is chanted, the lights are turned on and the Easter Proclamation is announced - “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” To which all respond - “The Lord is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!” The first celebration of the Holy Communion for Easter then commences.
It is a very rich, symbolic ancient liturgy. Since the ancient days of the Church it has been one of the most beloved of liturgies!
Although this service has been attended by a faithful few over the years we have been celebrating it at St. John's, I am sure that if more people participated in it, they would be amazed by the rich liturgical symbolism surrounding the first Communion Service of Easter!