Easter Vigil – Liturgy Preparation
Opening Comment (after the Service of Light and Exsultet)
We gather around the Easter candle, celebrating the Lord’s resurrection. With that light to illumine our way, we remember how God has cared for humanity from the dawn of time. These readings remind us what happened at the highpoints of our history.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Three Old Testament readings are chosen from these seven:
Genesis 1:1 to 2:2 The first chapter of the first book of the Bible gives the story of creation, the foundation of God’s care for all the world. This love for humanity was seen even more clearly in the death and resurrection of Jesus, which made us into a new creation through the mystery we celebrate this night.
Genesis 22:1-8 The heartbreaking story of Abraham offering up his only child Isaac teaches that true sacrifice is about faith and obedience rather than slaughter. The promise that Abraham would be the father of many nations was fulfilled when Jesus died and rose to life. All people can now share the new life by being baptised into God’s chosen people.
Exodus 14 to 15:1 (not optional). God led his people from slavery to freedom through the Red Sea waters. Through the waters of baptism, God forms a new family of Christian people, set free from the slavery of sin.
Isaiah 54:5-14 The love of God is everlasting, as sure as the love of husband and wife. Even if the mountains should fall, God’s love for all people will never fail. They will be as beautiful as the New Jerusalem, a city built of priceless jewels.
Isaiah 55:1-11 All are welcome to come to the water and be baptised: salvation is freely offered to every member of humanity.
Baruch 3:9-15, 32 to 4:4 God’s people are invited to return to the fountain of wisdom, where they can find knowledge, strength and understanding.The cleansing water of baptism is a new vision of this fountain, which brings all people to salvation.
Ezekiel 36:16-28 Through the waters of baptism, men and women discover a new heart and a new spirit. The heart of stone, cold from selfishness, is removed and a heart of flesh, full of warm compassion, is given in its place.
New Testament readings
Romans 6:3-11 Baptism is a way of dying with Christ. Entering the waters of baptism, people go into the tomb. But then, with Christ, they rise. The victory over death we celebrate this night is the victory of all the baptised.
Matthew: 28:1-10 The angel tells the women that Jesus is risen: then they meet him and hear his message, not to be afraid.
The General Intercessions (after the Liturgy of Baptism)
Introduction (by the Presider) My friends, God’s love has no end: let us bring our prayers to the Lord:
Intercessions (announced by the deacon, cantor or some other person)
- That those who have been baptised around the world on this Easter night may always walk in the light of Christ (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- That all Christians who celebrate Christ’s resurrection this Easter may life lives full of faith, hope and love all year round. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- That those for whom faith is irrelvant may hear the good news that Christ brings in his life, death and resurrection. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- That people in need of support and love may experience God’s care through the Christians around them. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
- That those who have died may share the glory of the resurrection. We remember especially those who died recently (N & N) and those whose anniversaries occur (N & N) and all those who passed away since last Easter. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) God of life and power, your love supports your people all through life and beyond: Hear the prayers we make this holy night, through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.
Other Liturgical Suggestions
Preface of Easter 1 (‘on this Easter Night’). Eucharistic Prayer 3. Solemn Blessing 6 (Easter Vigil). Dismissal with multiple alleluias.
Songs: ‘The Light of Christ’; ‘Ag Críost an Síol’; ‘Christ is Alive’.