Readings for the day
Found at http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearA_RCL/Easter/AEasVigil_RCL.html
Readings for The Great Vigil of Easter
Genesis 1:1-2:4a [The Story of Creation]
Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13 [The Flood]
Genesis 22:1-18 [Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac]
Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 [Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea]
Isaiah 55:1-11 [Salvation offered freely to all]
Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 [Learn wisdom and live]
Ezekiel 36:24-28 [A new heart and a new spirit]
Ezekiel 37:1-14 [The valley of dry bones]
Zephaniah 3:14-20 [The gathering of God’s people]
The Story Continues
by Marjorie George
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). Thus begins our story. Christ did not plop onto the scene unannounced in a stable in Bethlehem. He had been foretold throughout the Old Testament. In one of the Eucharistic prayers we hear, “Again and again you called us into covenant with you, and through the prophets you taught us to hope for salvation” (Book of Common Prayer, p 373).
There has never been a time when Christ was not. From generation to generation we have known this and remembered this. This is our story, kept alive in the telling by those who have remained faithful, those who have, as Paul puts it, “Fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7).
The story is reiterated tonight in The Great Vigil of Easter. In the early Christian church, a major function of The Great Vigil was to receive converts to the faith through baptism, and the Vigil remains the most appropriate time for baptism into the life of the Church.
But not before we tell our story again. In The Great Vigil, we do what families have always done when they get together for a meal or a special occasion: we speak of our history, we pay homage to our parents and our grandparents, we tell the funny remembrances between brother and sister, we recall the hard times and the loss of those our family has loved. It is our stories that bind us.
In The Great Vigil we are reminded again of our salvation history. The Rev. Ted Mellor of Trinity Church, Los Angeles, describes it this way: “We sit around for a while and tell each other stories, old stories about our predecessors that tell us more about ourselves than we know, stories about creation, liberation, water in dry places, tired, dusty old bones coming to life again. There are many stories and we no longer use all of them every year, but they’re all there. And, of course, we punctuate them with the singing of old folk songs, freedom songs: ‘I will sing to the Lord for he is lofty and uplifted; the horse and the rider has he thrown into the sea’” (Exodus 15:1). (Read the full sermon at http://www.trinityla.org/753vigil.html)
Our salvation story is not ended. The crucifixion of Good Friday was not the end. Christ lying in the tomb, silent this day, is not the end. Nor is Easter the end of our story. It is the beginning, given not just for us but for the whole world. Easter is the culmination of Lent, but it is not the end. So, tomorrow, after the ham is eaten and the dishes are washed and the Easter baskets are put away, the work is just beginning — the most important work of our lives. We will carry the message, we will tell the story.
1. If you are not able to attend The Great Vigil of Easter at a local Episcopal Church, read it in The Book of Common Prayer, pgs 285-295.
2. Take the time to read all of the Old Testament stories from The Great Vigil. Links are at the top of this page.
3. Recall one of your family’s stories. Tell it to your children tonight.
4. Welcome Easter tomorrow as the greatest day of your life. It is.