Easter Prayers and Readings

GREETING

Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed!

Glory and honor,
dominion and power,
be to God for ever and ever.

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

EASTER PROCLAMATION: THE EXULTET

Rejoice, heavenly choirs of angels.

Rejoice, all creation around God's throne.

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!

Sound the trumpet of salvation.

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,

Radiant in the brightness of your King.

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes for ever.

This is our Passover feast when Christ,
the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates
the homes of all believers.

This is the night when you, Lord our God,
first saved our ancestors in the faith;
you delivered the people of Israel
from their salvery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night when Christ broke
the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
This is the night truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth,
and all creation is reconciled with God.

Therefore, Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our sacrifice of praise and
thanksgiving.
Let us sing with joy,
joining the mighty chorus
of all God's people!

Hymn: Alleluia! Alleluia!

1 Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heaven and voices raise.
Sing to God a hymn of gladness,
sing to God a hymn of praise.
He who on the cross a victim
for the world's salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the king of glory,
now is risen from the dead.

2 Alleluia, Christ is risen!
Death at last has met defeat.
See the ancient powers of evil
in confusion and retreat.
Once he died and once was buried;
now he lives forevermore—
Jesus Christ, the world's Redeemer,
whom we worship and adore.

3 Christ is risen, Christ and firstfruits
of the holy harvest field,
which will all its full abundance
at his second coming yield.
Then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before him wave,
ripened by his glorious sunshine
from the furrows of the grave.

4 Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to God on high;
alleluia! to the Savior,
who has won the victory;
alleluia! to the Spirit,
fount of love and sanctity:
alleluia, alleluia!
to the triune Majesty.

The "Exultet" is an ancient hymn of the church, an Easter proclamation which recounts the saving acts of God in the Old and New Testaments. Historically, the Exultet was sung only once each year at the beginning of the Paschal (Easter) Vigil Service. That service began on Saturday night in darkness and ended on Easter Sunday morning in the light. After a processional in which everyone was given a candle, the candles were lighted, beginning at the aisles until all were lit. The candles remained lit throughout the singing of the Exultet, after which they were extinguished. Here the Exultet is presented for speaking, followed by the singing of "Alleluia! Alleluia!" which was written by Christopher Wordsworth.

PRAYER OF PRAISE

By the love with which you drew near to your disciples as they went to Emmaus and talked together of your passion; draw near to us and join yourself to us and give us the knowledge of yourself.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the mercy with which at first their eyes were closed that they should not know you; be merciful to those that are slow
of heart to believe.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the compassion with wich, amid the joy of your resurrection, you sought out those that were sad; console the faintheard who have not yet learned to rejoice in you.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the patience with wich you opened to them the Scriptures; open our understanding and insight. <

Hear us, blessed Jesus

By the fire with wivh you made their hearts burn within them as you talked with them by the way; inflame with devotion every heart that is not already burning with love for you, and consume with zeal those that you have kindled.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the wisdom with wich you made as though you would have gone further, inviting them to constrain you to tarry with them; may no soul depart this place until it has received from you the blessing you are ready to give.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the loyalty with which you went in and tarried with disciples, when the day was far spent; fulfill in every soul your promise which says, "I will come to him and sup with him and he with me."

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the blessing in which you made yourself known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread; may every act of yours be to us a sacrament, opening our eyes in faith, making you more fully known to us.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

By the power by which you vanished out of their sight, that their faith in the mystery of your resurrection might be increadsed; strengthen and confirm this faith in us.

Hear us, blessed Jesus.

O Blessed Jesus, who, when the doors were shut where the disciples were gathered, came and stood in the midst and said, Peace be unto you; may no fear ever place a barrier between our soul and you, or hinder us from the peace wich the world cannot give.

May the peace which you gave your apostles, sending them forth in your Father's name as you yourself were sent, be also upon us and remain with us always. Amen!

—from an Easter service at Christ Memorial Church, Holland, Michigan

THE LIGHTING OF THE PASCHAL CANDLE

Dear friends in Christ:

We have come together again to celebrate the occasion of great joy when our Lord passed from death to life. This is the Passover of our Lord. When the Jewish people were living in bondage under the Egyptians, the angel "passed over," bringing life and freedom to the enslaved people of Israel. Today is our passover—a passover from enslavement to death to life eternal. We honor our Lord's death and resurrection, confident that Jesus has called us to share in his victory and to live with him forever. We light this Paschal candle, which reminds us of the Lamb, the Lamb of God, the Easter Lamb. May his light shine eternally into our lives.

Father, we share in the light of your glory through your Son, the Eternal Light and Life of the world. Make this new fire holy, and enflame us with new hope. Strengthen us by the Easter celebration, and bring us all one day to the feast of your eternal light, through Jesus Christ our Lord, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Amen.

Through the light of the Paschal candle, we proclaim Jesus Christ, the Eternal Light of the world. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. To him be all the glory and the praise!

May this light of Christ dispel the darkness in our lives and enflame us with new life, new faith, and new hope. Amen.

DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING

Go forth in joy to love and serve God in all that you do.

We are sent in the name of the risen Christ.

Let us bless our Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

May the God of peace, who raised to life the great Shepherd of the sheep, make us ready to do his will in every good thing, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Amen. Alleluia!