One of the goals of BJS is to promote the historic and traditional liturgy. To that end we provide the following.
In the “Ask the Pastor” group over on the Wittenberg Trail, Rik Eischen asked the question “What is the History of the Easter Vigil worship service in the Lutheran Church?”
Pastor Don Kirchner provided a reply that included a link to Gottesblog which talks about the Easter Vigil service.
All laity should read this blog about the Easter Vigil and attempt to attend one in their area; if your Pastor does not include such a service in your Easter Week, it might be a good idea to ask if he would consider adding one next year.
One of the elements of the liturgical reform which has taken hold in many segments of Christendom is the recovery of the Great Vigil. For a very long time there was little or no concept of what the Great Vigil was, or what it was for. Indeed The Lutheran Hymnal itself has no propers listed for the Great Vigil. There’s only a little reference to “Holy Saturday, Easter Eve,” having only a collect and two readings, the Gospel being a reference to the burial of Jesus (St. Matthew 27). So even there, although the collect for Easter Eve contains the traditional reference to “the glory of the Lord’s resurrection” on “this most holy night,” nothing else does. There was no Great Vigil among Lutherans in the early 20th century.
The recovery of this ancient and venerable tradition has been a key ingredient in the rediscovery of liturgical beauty and importance for Lutherans.
But still there is resistance, particularly among people who hadn’t grown up with the tradition, and for whom therefore it represented something new. Actually it’s something very old, which, like many venerable traditions, fell into disuse between the 17th and 19th centuries when Rationalism was on the rise. The recovery of Confessional Lutheranism has brought with it an awakening of liturgical piety, and a renewed appreciation for the Great Vigil.
The Vigil is a bit lengthier than a regular Sunday mass, but for those who are aware and appreciative of what’s going on, time does not seem to be a factor. It requires a little disciplining, a little training of the mind to grasp and appreciate the majesty of this holy night, but when that discipline is achieved, the Great Vigil begins to stand apart as an awe-inspiring ceremony.
Head on over to Gottesblog to read more about this service.
If you have questions that you would like a pastoral answer to, head on over to The Wittenberg Trail Ask the Pastor Group. Join the Trail to interact with other confessional Lutherans around the world.