An Indie-Vigil for Easter Eve

April 11, 2020

This is the night of salvation! It is the tradition of the Church that at the Vigil of Easter, we gather around fire, word, water, bread, and wine, proclaiming through story and song that ours is a God who continuously brings life out of death. On this night we experience again the heart of God’s baptismal promise and the center of our faith: we are claimed and cleansed, renewed in the death and resurrection of Christ. We gather with all the saints of every time and place to celebrate the good news: Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

 In this atypical year, all the resources needed for observing an individual vigil (complete with a video of the Old Testament stories) are available on our Facebook page and our website.

Perhaps this is something you experience alone or with members of your household.  Try to create a space that you/all will be able to focus on this experience.  Start it as dark as you can make it yet still being able to read.

Things you will need:
Have this document either on screen or paper for each person.
Have a screen on which you can watch a YouTube video.
Have a candle, a bowl of water and towel, some favorite recorded music, and a festive snack.
Optional:  Some decorations.

 The Order

On this most holy night when our Savior Jesus Christ passed from death to life, we join with the church throughout the world in vigil and prayer.  This is the Passover of Jesus Christ.

 Service of Light
Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: set us aflame with the fire of your love, and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Christ yesterday and today; the beginning and the end; the Alpha and Omega; his are all times; and all ages; to him be glory and dominion; through all the ages of eternity.

A candle is lit

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

 Easter Proclamation

This is the night when you, God the creator through Jesus your son bridged the gap created by Adam’s sin.
This is the night when you, God the liberator, freed your people from slavery and led them to freedom through the sea.
This is the night when your Son, our savior, broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.
This is the night when his victory became our victory that we might no longer fear death.
This is the night when we gave us back all that we had lost, beyond our wildest dreams, transforming even our sin into a happy fault.
This is the night when hatred is cast out, peace and justice find a home, and heaven is joined to earth.
This is the night when Christ, the light of the world, proclaims that nothing, not even death, shall extinguish his flame of life and love.

Jesus the Christ, the morning star, has risen again
Jesus the Christ sheds his peaceful light on all the world
Jesus the Christ lives and reigns forever
Jesus the Christ shares his eternal light and life with us.

This is the night

God has acted.
God has saved us.
God who created us has more wonderfully re-created us.

This is the night

Let us rejoice and be glad.

The Exultet
Read or sing (Use the tune of ELW 390  The Risen Christ)

Sing, choirs of heaven! Let saints and angels sing!
Around God’s throne exult in harmony!
Now Jesus Christ is risen from the grave!
Salute your King in glorious symphony!

 Sing, choirs of earth! Behold, your light has come!
The glory of the Lord shines radiantly!
Lift up your hearts, for Christ has conquered death!
The night is past, the day of life is here!

Sing, Church of God! Exult with joy outpoured!
The gospel trumpets tell of victory won!
Your Savior lives; he’s with you evermore!
Let all God’s people sound the long Amen!

Prayer of the Day:
Eternal giver of life and light, this holy night shines with the radiance of the risen Christ.  Renew your church with the Spirit given us in baptism, that we may worship you in sincerity and truth and may shine as a light in the world,  through your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

On this night of salvation from death, we tell a collection of stories to recall the long history of God’s acts of salvation throughout the ages.

            Watch a video presentation of these stories on YouTube:   (The video will premier at 7:00 PM on April 11)

                        Salvation in Unexpected Places: An Easter Vigil Anthology.

                                   After, continue with New Testament readings:

 Romans 6
3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.7For whoever has died is freed from sin.8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

John 20
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

10 Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Turn on the lights in the room. Then shout out:

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Maybe hang some decorations while you play some favorite music.

Affirmation of Baptism

Merciful God, we thank you that you have made us your own by water and the Word in baptism.  You have called us to yourself, enlightened us with the gifts of your Spirit, and nourished us in the community of faith.  Uphold us and all you servants in the gifts and promises of baptism, and unite the hearts of all whom you have brought to new birth.  We ask this in the name of Christ. Amen

 I renounce the devil and all the forces that defy God.
I renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God.
I renounce the ways of sin that draw you from God.

 I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell.  On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.


Holy God, holy and merciful, holy and mighty, you are the river of life, you are the everlasting wellspring, you are the fire of rebirth. Glory to you for oceans and lakes, for rivers and streams. Honor to you for cloud and rain, for dew and snow. Your waters are below us, around us, above us: our life is born in you. You are the fountain of resurrection. Praise to you for your saving waters: Noah and the animals survive the flood, Hagar discovers your well. The Israelites escape through the sea, and they drink from your gushing rock. Naaman washes his leprosy away, and the Samaritan woman will never be thirsty again. At this font, holy God, we pray: Praise to you for the water of baptism and for your Word that saves us in this water. Breathe your Spirit into all who are gathered here and into all creation. Illumine our days. Enliven our bones. Dry our tears. Wash away the sin within us, and drown the evil around us. Satisfy all our thirst with your living water, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Dip your finger in the water and make the sign of the cross on your forehead and say: 

I am a baptized child of God.  I am alive in Christ Jesus.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit.

If you are with others, do it for each other.

Break out the festive food, put on some music that represents joy, maybe even dance.

If you are by yourself, connect with someone who is special to you.

From Sundays and Copyright 2011 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #32592.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prepared for:

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

is a diverse community of faith seeking to share the love of  Jesus Christ with all creation.

 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY  10014-4248
Facebook group:  St John’s Lutheran Church, NYC

The Rev. Mark Erson, Pastor  –  mobile:   646-538-5724, email:     Twitter:  @pastorofstjohns

Dr. Janet Chung, Director of Music

Angel Salgado, Sexton

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