AWHEN IT COMES TO EASTER THE EASTER VIGIl SAYS IT ALL...
The earliest Christians followed the Jewish calendar, attending synagogue worship on Saturdays and gathering in people’s homes for the Eucharist on Sundays (which was a work day, so they had to start early, or finish late). The annual observance of Passover very early became the principle day for baptism. The vigil service took all night, and concluded with the First Eucharist of Easter as day was breaking.
The vigil as most Episcopalians observe it today is nowhere near as rigorous an event, but it still seeks to rehearse the entire drama of salvation through the use of light and dark, fire, water, and the First Eucharist of Easter. Some of the most significant parts of the Hebrew Scriptures are read. When the Gospel of the Resurrection is read, all the lights come on, candles are lit, the organ blasts, and “alleluia” is sung.
The Easter Vigil, and the celebrative worship of Easter morning, seek to enact and express the profound mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. These liturgies arose out of the church’s experience of the Risen Christ, and invite us to enter a place “behind” normal expectations and even beliefs, a world where death no longer has dominion over us, where disciples are transformed, and apostles sent out. “How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God.” Exsultet chant, sung to bless the Paschal Candle during the Easter Vigil.
At ST. Andrew's this year, the Easter Vigil will occur at 8:00pm on Saturday, March 26. Easter morning will be observed with Festival Eucharists at 8 and 10a.m.