Why are you looking for the living among the dead?

I love that line.

Last night I went to the Easter Vigil at SPR. I’d never been before, but I have been to other vigils. It’s a long service, in which the church gathers late in the evening–in the dark, outside the church. Outside, a fire is kindled: the new light of Christ. And then the congregation lights their own candles from the fire. (This is quite a feat in Chicago, which loves to put the fire out with the wind.)

With the new light kindled, everyone processes into the church to hear the stories of salvation from history: creation, deliverance at the red sea, the valley of dry bones, prophesy of Isaiah, a portion of Romans that is truly beautiful, and then–finally (there can be up to nine readings)–the women at the tomb of the dead Jesus.

Then the lights come on. At SPR, we accompanied the readings with a bit of theatrics–not too much that it felt like a soap opera,  but just the right amount that it felt like the story of God. When the women reach the tomb, there was a great clutter of noise–confusion, wonder, joy? but not sure yet–wind chimes making a commotion. The reader had to strain to get the words out over the noises of the commotion. And the lights are coming up slowly–at full force by the time the reader proclaims: “He is not here!”

It’s truly the most triumphal service there is in the church. And now I get to do the whole thing again in the morning. 🙂 Here we go~

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