Soon, the tender plants of Easter’s new life come up out of the ground that has been prepared during Lent.
I belong to a liturgical church. It is not enough for us to understand our beliefs intellectually; we need to experience and appreciate them deep within ourselves.
My favorite service of the entire year is the Great Vigil of Easter. The service lasts for at least two hours and includes a series of readings that recount our entire story. The service begins in candlelight and, slowly but dramatically, light enters the world.
It is my favorite service because, as the church slowly becomes more well lit, there is a moment when Lent becomes Easter. The church, which has been dark, is flooded with light and the congregation, who have been almost silent, bursts into celebration. In many congregations bells and tambourines appear from where they have been hiding and Easter explodes into reality. There is no mistake. You know the moment that Lent is transformed into Easter morning.
This year I have a serious responsibility at the Great Vigil of Easter. I will say the first words of the Liturgy of the Word, reading the story of Creation in near darkness at the beginning of the service.
Each year, we experience the story in new ways. Some years it is the lessons of Lent that make the greatest impression, some years it is the life of a new Easter. Some years it is in the darkness and the silence, some years it is in the light and celebration.
Each year, I remember when we have told the story before, and the lessons and discipline of each Lent open into the new life of each Easter.
How have you prepared your ground for your new life?
What new life is ready to transform you?
[Image by ralphhogaboom]