Our Easter Vigil

Our Easter Vigil experience was, overall, a pretty good one. It was very cold (for here) and very early when we got up and it was a challenge to get the little ones dolled up in their Easter finery and out the door to make it by 6 AM. It didn’t happen either. That’s ok–we were close enough to on time to get to file past the new fire and to hear “The light of Christ!” as the Paschal candle disappeared into the church several hundred people ahead of us…

I would have been worried about not getting seats except ours are perpetually saved by ingrained years of habit on the part of other churchgoers; Lil’ G is really good in church–when she can see what’s going on. Everybody’s trained not to sit in the first few pews–so that’s where we headed and, sure enough, there was space.

There were only 3 readings and no psalms (choir anthems, rather) but minor nit-pickiness aside it was a good celebration. I busted the bell-cluster M put together for me by over-vigorous ringing during the Gloria… The sermon was good–it stayed focused on Easter and the resurrection and the power of the living Jesus which was just right for the occasion. The only real hitch for us was when Lil’ G refused to receive Eucharist from the lead cleric (more of a large-man-with-beard thing than a church-politics thing).

Lamb dinner at home followed. It was nice to enjoy an Easter service as a family. I imagine we’ll have very few of these in the coming years…

The only liturgical oddity from Triduum I’ll note was the Veneration of the Cross. M and I are quite attached to the rite, it being a major academic interest of hers, but this one was very…well…protestant. A large cross was processed to the chancel, but then we just stood there and stared at it while the choir sang a number of anthems. No prostrations or kneeling before it, no kissing of it, we got to look but not touch–the rite just felt strange and disembodied.

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3 Responses to Our Easter Vigil

  1. Lee says:

    I experienced the Veneration of the Cross for the first time this Good Friday and found it very moving. I think you’re right on about the importance of the physicality of the whole thing – the prostration, kneeling, and kissing. Also, the choir sang the Reproaches (another GF tradition I was previously unfamiliar with) during and it was hauntingly beautiful.

  2. bls says:

    Actually, veneration of the Cross isn’t ever really very Protestant….

    ;-)

    The Methodist church of my early years is now imposing ashes on Ash Wednesday – something completely unheard-of 20 years ago. Some people still won’t do it, either; it feels very strange to them. And a Methodist friend came to a recent Evensong at my parish and couldn’t kneel, either, or make the sign of the cross – and told me so afterwards. People just feel strangely about certain things – and most Episocopalians, I’m fairly sure, would have said the same things 30 years ago.

    Give people time. ;-)

  3. lutherpunk says:

    At a former parish, we did a joint Good Friday service that consisted of Lutherans, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics and Methodists. The veneration of the cross was done at the end, and it was interesting to watch how the mix of people reacted as they were invited to approach the cross (actually, crosses…each cleric held a large wooden cross). Some people majorly got into it, some were more apprehensive, and others just watched the whole thing transpire with a confused look. I personally like it, but haven’t introduced at my parish, as I think I can only throw ’em a couple of curve balls a year.

    This year, they all got water thrown at them during the Thanksgiving for Baptism. That was probably enough. ;-)

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