"Easter is a feast of hope. Not because the resurrection is a nice idea for wishful thinkers, but because God’s promise of life and liberty to all who believe is real. We know that God will keep the Divine Promise and grant us life, liberty, and healing, even as we live in the shadow of death." – Br. James Koester
The Great Vigil of Easter is the most solemn and ancient liturgy of the entire year. It is the culmination of Lent and Holy Week, and the Triduum.
Ring the bells! Worshippers at the Great Vigil of Easter ring handbells as we sing God’s Paschal Lamb at the beginning of the first Eucharist of Easter and during the singing of Jesus Christ is Risen Today. The tradition of silencing church bells on Maundy Thursday and ringing them again on Easter Day likely reflects an even more ancient custom of keeping silence before a spring equinox or a winter solstice, then celebrating it with a joyous celebration of light and sound announcing that the darkness has fled and that new life is coming back into the world. We know that this is true on Easter Day.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
- The Exsultet
- Easter Acclamation and Paschal Hymn
- Psalm 33:1-11
- Psalm 46
- The Song of Moses
- Psalm 122
- The First Song of Isaiah
- Psalm 42:1-7
- Psalm 30
- Psalm 98
- The Litany
- Jesus Christ is Risen Today
- "The Hope of the Resurrection" – Br. Curtis Almquist
Even as we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, Br. Curtis Almquist encourages us to acknowledge our own and the world's woundedness, to allow us to tap into Jesus' resurrection power in the here-and-now. Hallelujah!
- "In the Midst of Death, We are in Life" – Br. James Koester
Br. James Koester invites us to join the women at the tomb and to be shocked, overcome, and speechless – not at death – but at the unpredictable, Spirit-filled, risky life of Jesus' resurrection.
- "Bestowing Life" – Br. James Koester
In the midst of an Easter that feels unlike any we have known, Br. James Koester celebrates the truth that remains: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!
- "Resurrection Knowing" – Br. Keith Nelson
On Easter morning, Br. Keith Nelson evokes the power of resurrection knowing, which implausibly, illogically, mysteriously, tangibly, palpably, materially, personally, lovingly, victoriously prepares us to sing into the mouth of the grave, "Alleluia."
- "Prisoners of Hope" – Br. James Koester
Br. James Koester celebrates how the life and love of God, through the resurrection of Jesus, can shatter our chains, and set us free.
- "Calling by Name" – Br. Luke Ditewig
God comes to us when we are face-first with death. On Easter Sunday, Br. Luke Ditewig encourages us to look back to remember, look up to give thanks, and look forward in hope, to claim Jesus' resurrection power over all that is killing us in this life.
- "Ring Your Bells!" – Br. James Koester
We experience Holy Week, not just with our minds but in our bodies. Br. James Koester invites us to recognize not just the aches and pains and grip of fear that Holy Week can evoke, but also the resurrection of Jesus, surging like an electric flash in our bodies.
- "Experience the Resurrection" – Br. Curtis Almquist
Claim the hope in Jesus’ resurrection for you in the here-and-now.
- "Love Reborn" – Br. James Koester
We should all be standing on a street corner today throwing our hats, or gloves, or coats or even our surplices into the air, because hope and forgiveness and love are reborn, and we want the world to know. Alleluia.
- "Those Five Words" – Br. James Koester
Those five words turned the world upside down. They renewed love. They restored hope. They rekindled courage. “I have seen the Lord."
- "From Still Days to Dawn" – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
We stand with the women at the empty tomb, at the dawn of universe, at the threshold of Life.
- "A Cause For Great Joy" – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
On Easter, we celebrate that Jesus has called us brothers, as he rolls the stone away from our hearts.
- "Joy Comes in the Morning" – Br. David Vryhof
The evidence for the Resurrection lies not in the empty tomb, but in the encounters of the first disciples with the Risen Lord.
- "The Power of God" – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
The power of God, which raised Jesus to life, which is more powerful than anything else in all creation, is the power of love.
- "Shekinah" – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
We need all the help we can get to keep us awakened to the wonder and significance of Easter: that “because he lives, we live also.”