Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Great Vigil of Easter: The Divine Service

The Church is still waiting to proclaim its alleluias.  She observed the service of Light.  She proclaimed the history of the People of Israel.  She baptized the catechumens.  And finally the ancient Easter Acclamation is proclaimed.

The celebrant proclaims

The congregation responds

All lights in the sanctuary are turned on. Every bell in the church should be played at random. If there are handbells available, they should be used. If the organ has a zimbelstern or chimes, they may be used. The congregants may bring their own bells from home and ring them as well. The Church is ringing in the Resurrection of our Lord!

The singing of the Gloria is next. The Church has not sung this since the last Sunday of the Epiphany Season. Some Lutherans will substitute This is the Feast, but the historic tradition is to sing the Gloria. The bells may continue through the Gloria, or they may conclude prior to it. In the video below, the bells begin ringing while Celebrant intones the Gloria. At this parish, the Gloria is sung in Latin.

The Collect is spoken and there is one more reading, the Resurrection account according to Mark. It is very brief. The sermon follows, and it should be brief as well. The Hymn of the Day is "Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands."

Here's the organ prelude by JS Bach on this tune.

And here is a section from his cantata on this hymn. Look for the entire cantata later today.

The offering and prayers of the Church are given. The Liturgy of the Sacrament is sung in full. The catechumens, now instructed and baptized, will receive the Lord's Body and Blood for the first time.


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