What is the Easter Vigil Anyway?
This evening (Saturday evening) we will celebrate the Easter Vigil. If you have never heard of this you are not alone. Although it has been around since the early days of Christianity it has fallen out of use in many Christian denominations.
It starts with reading passaged from the Bible - a lot of passages - which remind us of the stories which surround God's creation and protection of the people of Israel in the Old Testament. These stories are told, rather like stories are told at a family gathering, reminding us of where things started - not always because they were good things, but because it is important to understand and own our history and heritage.
Then we light a fire outside. From it a special candle is lit, called the Paschal Candle (Paschal just means Easter). Think of it a bit like the story of a phoenix who bursts into flame and from that flame comes new life. Everyone lights their own candle and the Paschal Candle is carried into Church and an ancient hymn called the "Exsultat" is sung.
Then we celebrate the Eucharist (Holy Communion) with lots of music and Alleluias.
At Redeemer we know that the readings plus the Eucharistic part of the service are just too long for some folk - the readings take about an hour and the next part a little over an hour - so we offer the option to turn up at seven for the readings and at 8 for the rest of the service. We might start a little after 8, depending on how long the readings take.
Curious? Come along and see.