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April 11, 2020

Easter Vigil

Many liturgical/sacramental churches begin the vigil on Saturday evening about 11 p.m.; Easter "dawns" at midnight - the vigil could actually last all night, with a sunrise Eucharist.

This is the night of salvation! At the Vigil of Easter, we gather around fire, word, water, bread, and wine, proclaiming through story and song that ours is a God who continuously brings life out of death. On this night we experience again the heart of God's baptismal promise and the center of our faith: we are claimed and cleansed, renewed in the death and resurrection of Christ. We gather with all the saints of every time and place to celebrate the good news. Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! *

The Liturgy of the Easter Vigil Consists of four parts: The Service of Light (lighting of the Paschal fire); The Service of Readings (as many as twelve Old Testament readings can be included); The Service of Holy Baptism (baptisms and/or baptismal renewal); The Service of the Holy Communion (which this year we will miss). Each selection can be seen as imaging God, Christ's resurrection, and the baptismal life. *

To read the scriptures that are too long to be included on this page, please click on them to be taken to a site where you will find the Lessons.

Creation: Genesis 1:1-5 (Light)

New Creation: John 1:1-9 (Christ our Light)

Almighty God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and yet more wonderfully restored it. In your mercy, let us share the divine life of the one who came to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. *


Completing the Three Days is the resurrection gospel according to John. John's account shares some details with the synoptic tradition, for example the empty tomb, a role for Mary Magdalene, and the disbelief of the disciples. Yet over the decades, details of the story of Easter have accumulated, and as we expect, John's gospel used the story to proclaim the divine identity of Jesus, who is going to God the Father. In accord with the tradition of translation, English Bibles have Mary first addressing the man as "Sir" (v. 15), and finally testifying that he is Lord (v. 18), thus granting him the divine title. *

The Holy Gospel According to St. John

Glory to you, O Lord!

John 20:1-18: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

Covenant: Exodus 14 (water of the sea)

New Covenant: Romans 6:2-11 (water of Baptism)

O God, whose wonderful deeds of old shine forth even to our own day: By the power of your mighty arm you once delivered your chosen people from slavery under Pharaoh, a sign for us of the salvation offered to everyone by the water of baptism. Grant that all the peoples of earth may partake in the salvation of the Israelites and together dance on the safe side of the sea, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. *

* Sundays and Seasons, Year A 2020, Augsburg Fortress, pgs. 133-135