Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

April 2009: Easter Vigil

april 2009 grace flyer

The Easter Vigil was a joint service run in collaboration with St. Mary's Church. The evening began at 9:15pm on Easter Saturday with a cafe serving coffee, soft drinks and nibbles. at 10:15 we went outside to gather around a bonfire, light the Paschal Candle, and process around the church in candlelight. The procession entered the church for a sequence of readings and meditations and a renewal of baptismal promises. At midnight we celebrated the first communion of Easter and went outside for fireworks, the ringing of the church bells and a glass of sparkling wine.

Service of the Light

(Small, unlit candles are distributed to members of the congregation in the cafe shortly before the service begins. These will be lit from the Paschal Candle during the Service of Light outside.The service begins outside the church, where we will gather around a brazier.

Listen all of you

What is happening? Tonight there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness. There is a deep longing where hope has vanished, and all that is left is the dull aching throb of loss and longing.

Where is hope?

Where is light?

Where is God?

Holy Saturday is about emptiness.

The cross is empty now, and still.

Where is the Lord? They are saying he is dead. The Christ, the God, the source, the creator, the everlasting light of the world - is dead. The heavens and the earth cry out with longing for the sinless one who is not to be found. We wait, like mourners beside a grave, unsettled, ill at ease, almost not knowing what to do with ourselves.

But he lives in light, bathed in beauty, ever creating, ever living - he could never come back to here.

But we are gathered, as Christians have gathered from the earliest times, through the night of Easter, to recall the story of God's saving work, from creation through to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Paschal Candle is lit from the fire

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

The candles held by the congregation are lit from the Paschal Candle.

For every person the following is said:

The light of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

Jen introduces the walk around the church and what we might like to consider/discuss.

We walk around the church three times following the Paschal candle held by Mike. Once the laps have been completed, Mike enters the building, followed by the congregation, and they pause just inside the entrance.

The Candle is lifted up and Mike says:

The light of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

The procession continues to the centre of the building and stops once more. The Paschal Candle is placed on the central table, with all the small candles around. People stand in the central space

The Exsultet

The Exsultet is led by Mike standing by the Candle. The words are presented on the screens. There is a track playing.

Choirs of angels, stars and planets:

all God's people sing and dance.

All creation, Church of God:

all God's people sing and dance.

We praise you Lord of life and death:

we glorify your name:

all God's people sing and dance.

This is the night you set us free,

bringing us home in love;

holy night, when you led your people

through the fearsome sea:

all God's people sing and dance.

This is the night you brought your Son

through the doors of death;

O holy night, when death takes flight

and hope is born again:

all God's people sing and dance.

This is the night our tears of sadness

turn to shouts of joy;

holy night, when the choirs of earth

sing the songs of heaven:

all God's people sing and dance.

This is the night when Christ our Light

makes the darkness bright:

all God's people sing and dance.

Christ is the life that knows no end.

Christ is the love that burns within.

Christ is the peace that floods the world.

Christ is the Lord who reigns on high.

All God's people sing and dance.


The Vigil

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father.


Collect Prayer

God of glory,

by the raising of your Son

you have broken the chains of death and hell:

fill your Church with faith and hope;

for a new day has dawned

and the way to life stands open

in our Saviour Jesus Christ.


People take a seat.


Genesis 1:1-2:4a - The creation - Jen

Exodus 14:10-15:1a: The Red Sea - Jonny Cash 'Hurt' video (Mike to provide)

Ruth 1:15-18, 2:1-13, 4:13-17 The faithfulness of Ruth - Sue

Ezekiel 36 verses 24-28, Ezekiel 37 verses 1-14 A new heart and a new spirit, 'Resurrection of the bones' Gill

Romans 6:3-11 Song 'And Death Shall Have No Dominion'

All stand. Lights come up during acclamations.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.


He has defeated the powers of death.


Jesus turns our sorrow into dancing.


He has the words of eternal life.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Gospel; Mark 16:1-8. Read by Justin

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Initiation Liturgy

Justin invites everyone to gather around the font.

Praise God who made heaven and earth,

who keeps his promise for ever.

Let us lift our voices, giving thanks to God.

We give thanks to God, who is here among us.

Loving Father, your Son Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, we thank you, that through such a simple thing as water, you wash our hearts and minds, cleansing and reviving us.

We thank you that through the waters of the Red Sea you led your people Israel out of slavery to freedom in the Promised Land.

We thank you that through the deep waters of death you brought your Son, and raised him to life in triumph.

Touch this water by your Spirit that we who are washed in it may be made one with Jesus in his death and in his resurrection, to be cleansed and delivered from all sin.

Touch us, by your Spirit; birth in us to new life in the Body of Christ, and raise us with Jesus to full and everlasting life; for all strength, supremacy, authority and power are yours, now and for ever.


We remind ourselves of our commitment to the Kingdom and renew our faith, our hope and our trust in the one who has and will fully restore the Kingdom in us and in the whole world.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father?

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.


(People are moistened with the baptismal water and return to seats)

We who are baptized are called to live out the kingdom of God in the world.

Will you continue in the message of Jesus and in community with each other, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer for each other?

I will be the body of Jesus to all in the household of faith.

Will you fight injustice? Will you fight evil, institutional or personal, and, whenever you sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will let the mind of Jesus reign in me.

Will you manifest the gospel of the kingdom in all you do and say?

I will be the voice of Jesus in the world.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all people, loving your neighbour as yourself?

I will be the hands of Jesus in the world.

Will you pray for the world and its leaders, defend the weak, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and seek peace and justice for all peoples; so that Jesus' true power and authority is displayed?

I will be the body of Jesus in the world.

May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith, that we may be rooted and grounded in love and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.


Congregation are invited to pass through the water and return to their seats.


The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said,

"Peace be with you."

They were glad when they saw the Lord.

The peace of the risen Christ be always with you

And also with you. Alleluia.

All are invited to place their hand print on the communion table, and gather around it.

lift up your hearts
we lift them up to god
lift up your heads
we lift them up to god
lift up your voices
we lift them up to god
lift up your hearts

we lift them up to god

It is our duty and our joy to give you thanks, almighty and eternal Father, and on this night of our redemption to celebrate with joyful hearts the memory of your wonderful works.

Your son Jesus took what was broken and transformed it through his death and love
what once was hurt
what once was friction
what left a mark
no longer stings
because grace makes beauty
out of ugly things

For by the mystery of his passion Jesus Christ has conquered the powers of death and hell and restored in us the image of your glory. He has placed us once more in paradise and opened to us the gate of life eternal.

so we join with the angels saying:

holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

hosanna in the highest.

blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

hosanna in the highest.

at the last meal you shared with your friends before your betrayal you took the bread and gave thanks. you broke it and shared it, saying "take, eat; this is my body, broken for you. do this in remembrance of me"

you took the cup of wine, gave thanks and shared it saying "drink this, my blood, shed for you. do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me"

Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died

Christ has risen

Christ will come again

send your holy spirit on us

heal our brokenness

show us our place in your community of faith

gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup,

so that we, in the company of all the saints,

may praise and worship you for ever,

through Jesus Christ our Lord;

by whom, and with whom, and in whom,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,

for ever and ever.


Rejoicing in God's new creation,

as our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.

Jesus says, I am the bread of life,

whoever eats this bread will live for ever.

Lord, our hearts hunger for you;

give us this bread always.

so gather at this table

not because you are whole

but because you recognise your need for healing

not because you think you are good enough

but because you recognise these gifts of the god who died for you

distribution of communion

God of Life,

You took on the death that was destined for us,

but death could not hold you,

and you broke its power over us.

Help us each day to die to sin

And live in your risen life.


Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Dean to improvise blessing

With the risen life of Christ within you,

go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

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