Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

1101 North River Boulevard, Wichita, Kansas,  67203
Worship Schedule
` Sundays -  Holy Eucharist, 8:30 am & 11:00 am ~
` Mondays - spoken Eucharist, 9:30 am ~
` Wednesdays - spoken Eucharist, 5:30 pm ~
(w/ healing prayers & anointing)
` Thursdays - Matins, 10:00 am 
& Eucharist, 11:40 am @
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What is the Easter Vigil?

The Easter Vigil is a way of proclaiming and celebrating the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the climax of Holy Week; the barrenness of Good Friday’s stripped altar is changed into beauty; light pierces the darkness; all of the church’s signs of joy replace the signs of sorrow; The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

Although its exact origins are unknown, the Easter Vigil was already spoken of in the third century by Tertullian as being so old that he does not know its origin. Some believe that Acts 20:7, speaking of such an all-night vigil, may reflect its origins.

The Easter Vigil consists of four parts. It begins with the Service of Light, in which a new fire representing the Resurrection is lighted. From this fire is lighted the newly-blessed Paschal candle, the sign of Jesus’ Resurrection Light, which then leads the congregation in procession into the darkened church. All lights are taken from this candle. The Easter Proclamation, the Exultet, is sung.

A Service of Readings follows, twelve begin anciently appointed, but fewer are used in many parishes. Old Testament passages recounting God’s acts of salvation are read, interspersed with the singing of hymns, psalms, and canticles.

A Service of Baptism and/or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows is the third part. In the early centuries of Christianity, the only time Christians were baptized was at the Easter Vigil. Because this was everyone’s baptismal anniversary, the Vigil became the time for renewal of baptismal vows, recalling Paul’s association of Baptism and the Resurrection in Romans 6 which Luther used in the Small Catechism. Although most of us have been baptized on different days, we too still renew our baptismal vows at the Vigil. The baptismal water is used as a sign of our baptismal remembrance by sprinkling the baptized during the Creed.

A Service of Holy Communion concludes the Vigil, being the first Eucharist of the Easter season. Here our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of his resurrection comes to be present among us through the proclamation of his Word and the celebration of his Holy Sacrament. Thus, the Vigil leads us through death to life in our risen Lord.

© Lutheran Liturgical Renewal, 1994. Printed with permission.

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Last modified: April 04, 2014