(The 'Mother of All Vigils', after sunset)
Genesis 1:1 - 2:2 (Creation)
Psalm 104 or Psalm 33 (The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord)
Genesis 22:1-18 (Abraham's sacrifice)
Psalm 16: 5-11 (You are my inheritance, O Lord)
Exodus 14:15 - 15:18 (The Red Sea is parted; "Let us sing to the Lord, He has covered himself in glory")
Isaiah 54:5-14 (The One who has become your husband is your Maker)
Psalm 30:2-13 (I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me)
Isaiah 55:1-11 (All you who are thirsty, come to the water!)
Isaiah 12:2-6 (You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation)
Baruch 3:9-15 (found in the Apocrypha) (Learn where prudence is)
Psalm 19:8-11 (Lord, You have the words of everlasting life)
Ezekiel 36:16-28 (I will sprinkle clean water over you, to cleanse you from all your impurities)
Psalm 42:3 & 5; 43:3-4 (Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for the living God)
Psalm 51:12-19 (Create a clean heart in me, O God)
Romans 6:3-11 (Those baptized in Christ are baptized into his death, that we might also know the fullness of new life)
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone)
Mark 16:1-7 (The Resurrection according to Mark: "He has been raised; he is not here")
All this great stuff happens tonight.
In the ancient tradition of the early Christian Church, new initiates were brought into full community only once a year: at the all-night vigil proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. Certainly half of the readings deal either with sacrifice or water.
There's yet another great symbol on display tonight: Fire.
From it is lit the great Paschal Candle, symbolizing the raised Christ, that which illuminates all darkness.
But for now, we must not forget that we are still in mourning. No liturgical service is held today in Catholic churches. That doesn't mean it's not busy: sanctuaries are being decorated with much color and brilliance to remove us from the austerity and introspection of Lent. Food baskets for Easter are now traditionally blessed at midday Saturday.
To get there, though, we must reconcile ourselves to God. We are not entities unto ourselves. Lent does not turn to Easter without turning from the past and looking to the future with hope.
Sometimes I wonder if my beating heart has a reason
The thought of breathing only takes my breath away
I've spent so many nights wrestling with this feeling
Do I have the strength to make it through the day
But I was never meant
To walk this road alone
I can always trust you
When you say
I will carry you
Be your strength
And pull you through
Reach for me
And take my hand
We will pray
And we will stand
In a world
Crying out for peace
Let your heart be strong
For when I am weak
You will carry me
Sometimes You wonder if the road you're on has a reason
It's hard to go on, when you just don't know
We can shoulder all the weight of life between us
Until the fear of what we cannot see is gone
Cause we were never meant
to walk this road alone
we are bound together
When we say...
(Repeat Chorus 2x)
--I Will Carry You (1999)
Michael W. Smith
Odd that the above song comes from my pivotal year of 1999...
We can never know about the days to come
but we think about them anyway.
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
or just chasing after some finer day.
is making me late
is keeping me waiting
And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, i don't know nature's ways.
So I'll try and see into your eyes right now
and stay right here, 'cause these are the good old days.