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another, to stay and watch with him in the garden, to

To journey with Jesus, to be present with him here

accompany him on the way to Calvary, to be present at

this Holy Week, is a pilgrimage that will change us.

his death, and to dance for joy at his resurrection.

On Palm Sunday we join the crowds waving palm branches and singing “hosanna” to Jesus as an earthly

Lent has prepared us to journey with Jesus through

to celebrate the feast but also to remember and re-

Holy Week. But we do not walk with Jesus simply

present to each new generation the history of God’s

as observers of his passion, death, and resurrection,

saving deeds (Ps. 78:5-8).

seeking to recall what happened. The church invites us This biblical understanding of “remembrance” is very

instead to enter into Holy Week as pilgrims.

different from our modern understanding. It was not

Gregory Nazianzen, a fourth-century bishop,

king, perceiving his glory in worldly terms based on

exhorted his congregation to be as fully present with

our own human experiences and expectations.

Jesus that week in Jerusalem as were his disciples, and to be changed by Christ’s death and resurrection even

By the time Maundy Thursday arrives we begin, with

as they were:

the disciples, to see Jesus with different eyes. He is the Christ revealed to us in humility as the embodiment of

We are soon going to share in the Passover [of Christ]...

God’s love.

Pilgrimage in the Old Testament is a journey initiated

a mere memory, a recalling to mind of something

by God with a spiritual goal. Abraham was called by

that happened in the past. For the Jews to remember

God to make pilgrimage to a land that God promised

was to participate in what was being remembered—a

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and

To be present at the cross on Good Friday, even as

to show him. Centuries later God led Moses and

re-living of that event. Thus, every year at the Passover

follow Christ.

Mary and John were, is to finally see Jesus’ glory

Israel on a forty-year pilgrimage to that same Land of

seder, it was the job of the youngest child to ask the


question, “Why is this night different from all other

If you are crucified beside him, like one of the thieves,

sin and death. His sacrifice on the cross for the

nights?” Then began the recitation of mighty works

now like the good thief acknowledge your God. For

forgiveness of our sins has made the saving power of

Pilgrimage is different than a “trip.” It is not a

God enacted to deliver Israel from their bondage in

your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was

his blood eternally present to us.

sightseeing tour or a desire to experience a change

Egypt under Pharaoh. In eating the Passover seder

regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must

of scenery. On pilgrimage, it is the “pilgrim” who is

they, too, were sharing the meal “eaten in haste” (Exod.

cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross

On Easter Sunday we participate in the glory of God’s

changed by God forever. Abram became Abraham,

12:11). They were participating in the Exodus from

because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself.

victory over sin and death as we “hasten to see the

the “father of all who believe” (Rom. 4:11). The

Egypt just as surely as those Jews who were there with

Enter paradise with Jesus.

stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and

shepherd Moses was transformed into the giver of

Moses did.

the Law and one “whom the Lord knew face to face”

So let us take our part in the Passover...

in God’s terms. He has won for us the victory over

Jesus himself.” Christ is risen—and we are raised with If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who

(Deut. 34:10). Israel was refined and changed from

If you have never gone through Holy Week at Church

ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make

a multitude of slaves into God’s own people, a nation

of the Resurrection, you may be wondering the

your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world.

ready to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 4:20).

same thing: “Why is this week different from all other

him into the newness of eternal life. Let this Holy Week be your invitation to set your countenance on Jerusalem and, like Jesus, to

weeks?” During Holy Week, the church celebrates the Pilgrimage is not just for spiritual “superstars.” The

If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped

journey to the Passover feast. Let us experience the

Passover of Christ, the “Lamb of God who takes away

Law of Moses called for all Jews to make an annual

God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for

remembrance of God’s saving deeds and encounter

the sin of the world” (John 1:29). By his blood God has

pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the three great feasts


firsthand the power of the crucified and risen Christ to

delivered us from the slavery of sin and death and has

of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. In fact, our

brought us into the fullness of his promise that we, too,

Palm Sunday procession song, “Who Will Ascend

If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep

might share in his resurrection (Phil. 3:10-11).

in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us;

back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

therefore, let us celebrate the feast (1 Cor. 5:7-8)!

God’s Holy Mountain?” is a contemporary setting of Psalm 24—one of the songs of ascent that those

Holy Week invites each one of us to go on pilgrimage:

Jewish pilgrims would sing together on their way up

to journey with Jesus through the gates of Jerusalem,

to Jerusalem. In the holy city they gathered not only

to eat with him and hear his commandment to love one 4

save and heal us.

Scripture references in this introduction are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Scripture throughout the rest of this book is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version,® NIV.® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


HISTORICAL CONTEXT On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the entrance of Jesus

and Lord and that he will be victorious in his

as a King into the city of Jerusalem, the historical

mission to defeat sin and death once and for all.

capital of the kingdom of Israel. This kind of entry into the city was well-known in the ancient world. By the

The church has preserved this celebration and enters

time of Jesus, this was a celebration reserved for the

into Jesus’ triumphal arrival to Jerusalem through the

Roman Emperor and his family alone. Historically, the

liturgy and celebration of Palm Sunday, which marks

“Roman triumph” was awarded by the Roman Senate

the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday sets the

to generals and their armies who were returning from

tone for Holy Week as one of ultimate victory and joy.

a decisive military victory. Roman emperors would

The procession on this day holds special significance

stride into the city on horseback with a giant parade,

because it is the beginning of one liturgical movement

dragging along the spoils of war—both riches and

that arcs through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday,

prisoners. As the emperor, his soldiers, and those who

and the Easter Vigil. Historically, the clergy would

were part of his victory party rode into the city, the

begin the procession outside the church. The palms—

crowd would join the procession behind them as they

an ancient symbol of triumph and victory—are blessed

made their way to a temple for a sacrifice.

outside, prior to the procession, and waved by the crowd as the crucifix, Gospel book, and clergy pass

Jesus made an important statement to the people

by. The whole congregation joins the procession and

as he rode into the ancient city on a donkey colt (a

enters the sanctuary together. These palm branches

symbolic animal of peace). Like a great emperor

are saved and later burned to be used as ashes on

returning victoriously from war, he was greeted by

Ash Wednesday of the following year.

the crowds with shouts of triumph and joy and waving


palm branches, “Blessed is the king who comes in

Palm Sunday at Resurrection also has a special

the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). Jesus’ triumphal

significance for us, as we held our very first service on

entry declares to everyone that he is King

Palm Sunday in 1954.


DEVOTIONAL Palm Sunday is a service of invitation to the journey

Again, we see ourselves in the crowd, realizing

of Holy Week. The service begins on a spiritual high

our own sin of rejecting Jesus. In the grittiness and

point as we remember and celebrate Jesus’ triumphal

length of the Passion reading, we realize the depth of

entry into Jerusalem. Like the crowds in the Gospel

suffering that Jesus endured for us.

accounts (Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-40),


Week. The congregation participates in this reading

it says that crowds placed branches at Jesus’ feet as

by acting as those who call for Jesus’ crucifixion.

he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm branches are an ancient symbol of goodness, victory,

INCENSE: Burned as a tangible reminder of God’s

and triumph.

presence with us, incense is traditionally used on holy days. The incense is carried by a person called

A PROCESSIONAL: We march through part

the thurifer. The incense also represents our prayers

of our neighborhood both to partictipate in Jesus’

rising to God in heaven. (Psalm 141:2)

own entry into Jerusalem as a victorious king and to LITURGICAL COLOR CHANGE FROM

announce the beginning of Holy Week.

PURPLE TO RED: A local custom dating back CHUPPAH: This structure symbolically honors the

to the late ‘80s, the shift from purple to red is meant

crucifix, which represents Christ’s presence.

to visually capture the dramatic arc of the service.

during the processional we are invited to worship

The prayers of Palm Sunday focus on Jesus’ suffering.

Jesus in all his glory. We see Jesus for who he truly is:

We are called to imitate Jesus in his humility and to

our King. As we wave our palm branches and walk

walk with him through his suffering and death. We do

with Jesus towards Jerusalem, we experience Jesus’

this so that we might also share in his resurrection and

eternal victory.

victory—a victory that we have had a glimpse of in this service. This invitation is not to be taken lightly. If, by

However, when we arrive with Jesus in Jerusalem

faith, we embrace the call to share in Jesus’ suffering

there is a dramatic shift. In the service, we hear the

and allow the Lord to meet us, we will be changed.

Passion reading—the account of Jesus’ trial and

Whether this is your first or fiftieth journey through

crucifixion. The same crowd that was worshiping

Holy Week, the Lord Jesus is calling you to walk this

Jesus now turns against him, calling for his death.

difficult and holy road with him.

YOUR RESPONSE How is the Lord inviting you to walk with him this

What stands out to you most about this service?

week? What does it mean to walk with Jesus in his suffering?

Purple, a royal color, is used for the processional SHOFAR: The blowing of this horn is a local custom

as we usher in King Jesus. Then, after the Passion

based on the Bible’s description of its use as a herald

reading, purple is changed to red, which is the official

of the coming of a king.

color of Palm Sunday and a symbol of Jesus’ death and crucifixion. The changing colors capture the

THE PASSION READING: This passage from

dramatic juxtaposition that takes place, as the same

John’s Gospel is performed as a dramatic monologue

crowd of people goes from praising Jesus to calling

by a member of the congregation in order to orient

for his murder.

the congregation to the ruling narrative of Holy 8


HISTORICAL CONTEXT On Maundy Thursday, we gather for the second

second Exodus. Bread and wine play a significant

service of Holy Week that marks Jesus’ Last Supper

role in the Passover meal, and during the Passover

with his disciples prior to his arrest by the Jewish

meal, unleavened bread and wine is consumed. The

leaders. On this night, the apostle John recorded

unleavened bread is called “the bread of affliction”

that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and gave his

to remind the Israelites of their suffering in Egypt

disciples the model for the Eucharist and a “new

and to remember how they left in such a hurry

command” to love each other as Jesus loved them

that there was no time to let the yeast rise before

(John 13:34). Maundy is a word derived from the

baking. There are five cups of wine integral to the

Latin which means “mandate” or “command.”

Passover meal. There is varied interpretation, but generally, the first four cups correspond to the four

Jesus takes on the position of a menial slave in the

terms God used to describe how he would deliver

act of foot washing. This would have been unusual

Israel from Egypt (Exod. 6:6-8)—literally, they are

behavior for a rabbi at that time—a rabbi should have

cups of salvation. The fifth cup of wine is left at

humility but never give up his station of superior

the place set for Elijah, who it was hoped would

authority. Jesus adorns himself as a slave and

return to announce the coming of the Messiah.

washes his disciples’ feet in the manner of ancient

Jesus connected for his disciples the hope for a

hospitality. It was custom to wash the feet of one’s

second Exodus to the deliverance they would yet

guests before dinner when they had arrived from a

experience in his body’s death and resurrection.

long journey. Normally, disciples would have been the ones serving their master, but Jesus’ behavior

The church continues these practices today on

is different in order to show his disciples how his

Maundy Thursday. The foot washing after the

Kingdom has turned social norms upside down. And,

reading of the Gospel and the sermon was a

he is preparing them for the greatest dinner of all.

common practice by the fourth century. Traditionally, the leader of the church washes the feet of twelve

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For this is also the night that Jesus institutes the

poor people on this day. During the day, there is a

Eucharist, the meal we share as the family of God in

ceremony to bless the holy oils used throughout

remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That

the year. Finally, this is the last Eucharist meal

night Jesus and the disciples shared the Passover

consecrated until Easter Sunday. The priest

meal as the first family of the new Kingdom of God;

consecrates elements for this service and enough

this meal remembers the most important event in

bread for reserve Eucharist on Good Friday.

Jewish history, the Exodus from Egypt. Many Jews

Customarily, Maundy Thursday extends into an all

of the first century were waiting for a Messiah

night prayer vigil, commemorating Jesus’ request

who would lead a military and political takeover of

that his disciples stay up praying with him in the

Israel and reclaim it from Rome; they envisioned a

Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. 11 11




each other’s feet to reenact the same servanthood

BANNERS: We fast with our eyes through these

that Jesus took on for his disciples, as told in John

visual cues of the somber pilgrimage into the last

13. Even as King and God, Jesus stooped down to

hours of Jesus’ life and his crucifixion.

The Maundy Thursday service invites us to allow

In the Gospel reading for this service, the disciple

Jesus into our whole lives. Jesus shows his tender love

Peter is indignant when Jesus asks to wash his feet.

for us through the vulnerability of washing our feet.

Either Peter does not want his Lord to stoop to such

Jesus washes us of our sin through his broken body

a lowly place, or he does not want to show Jesus his

and his blood spilled out on the cross through the

dirty feet (or both!). How easy it is to sympathize with

sacrament of Communion. This service is intensely

Peter in this moment. But instead of appreciating

embodied—we are invited to see, hear, and feel Jesus

Peter’s concern for him, Jesus says, “If I do not wash

with us.

you, you have no share with me” (John 13:8).

In the midst of a worship service it feels both bizarre

Jesus displays his incredible humility and the fullness

and startlingly vulnerable to strip off our shoes and

of his humanity—he is not above us or our bodies.

socks and place our feet in a basin of water. The

Jesus became one of us, and a servant to us, in order

foot washing portion of the service forces us to be

that he might bring us into full relationship with God

exposed and vulnerable. It is in that place that we can

the Father—that we might share eternal life with him.

receive healing and the fullness of the Lord Jesus’ love

Jesus’ servanthood, seen in the washing of feet, is then

for us.

fully realized in his death on the cross.

As Jesus’ followers, we do the same for one another

RESERVED ELEMENTS: The priest blesses


because this is how Jesus modeled servant love.

extra Communion bread on Maundy Thursday,

Is it more difficult for you to allow someone to wash

which is meant to be consumed during Communion

your feet, or for you to wash the feet of someone

do the dirtiest and lowliest of duties for his disciples.

STRIPPING OF THE ALTAR: We strip the altar

on Good Friday. It is processed to All Saints

of all worship elements and wash it with water. The

Chapel and stored in the Tabernacle, a small

symbols of Christ’s presence in Communion are

locked box. Maundy Thursday through Easter

removed as a reminder of how Christ was stripped

Sunday is technically one long service, known as

and exposed by the soldiers before his crucifixion

the “Triduum,” (The Three Days) with no formal

and also how his body was washed and prepared for

processionals or recessionals.

What stands out to you most about this service?

else? Why? How might the Lord want to minister to you during that moment?

burial by the women.



HISTORICAL CONTEXT Traditionally, the Stations of the Cross refer to

the world, no matter where they might be. The

images depicting the journey Jesus walked from his

fourteen stations begin with Jesus praying in the

condemnation and sentencing at trial to the laying

Garden of Gethsemane and end with his followers

of his body in the tomb. The images are customarily

laying his body in the tomb.

displayed around the sanctuary of a church, and

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people are encouraged to visit the stations during

At Church of the Resurrection, we take a journey

Lent. At each station there are prayers, reflections,

around our building together at three different

and scripture read. This journey is thought to

times on Good Friday. An officiant and a musician

have been adapted from the practice of very early

lead the service. Each station is marked by a plain

pilgrims to Jerusalem at Easter who would follow

wooden cross. At each station we read the passage

Jesus’ path on the Via Dolorosa, which was thought

of scripture associated with that moment on Jesus’

to be the actual path Jesus took on his way to being

journey and take a moment to reflect with song

crucified. The Stations of the Cross developed in

and prayer. Our Stations of the Cross service was

order to provide this experience to pilgrims around

designed by Pope John Paul II.

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bears the shrouded Crucifix and the acolytes

journey to fourteen wooden crosses that mark the

bear the torches, as is standard for a procession

traditional fourteen stations. At each station, we

in official church liturgies. The acolytes are youth

sing, pray, and reflect on scripture.

Amidst the intensely corporate pilgrimage of Holy

each action that took place on Jesus’ journey to his

Week, the Stations of the Cross stand out as an

death, we are invited to ponder the intentionality

opportunity for a uniquely individual encounter

with which Jesus embraced his rescue mission.

with the Lord. With a liturgy of only two voices,

Each station takes Jesus deeper into betrayal,

no homily, and a multitude of scripture readings,

suffering, and death, thereby bringing us closer

this service is crafted to be a private devotional

to the moment of our redemption. This paradox

experience. We are invited into a one-on-one

evokes an overwhelming love for our Savior as he

encounter with Jesus as we walk alongside him

suffers and stumbles, and it brings us hope amidst

on the road to his crucifixion. As we contemplate

the darkness of human sin.

YOUR RESPONSE What difficult burden are you being asked to bear in

What stands out to you the most about this service?

this season of your life? How does the way in which Christ carried his cross apply to your journey?

in the church who have been invited into a role of liturgical leadership.

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HISTORICAL CONTEXT Good Friday is a solemn remembrance of Jesus’

which the author explains Jesus’ role as our great

sacrifice of his own life so that we might find

High Priest and Mediator (Heb. 10:1-25). At this

forgiveness and reconciliation with God. This is not

time, we return to the same Gospel reading that

a somber recapitulation of Jesus’ death, but rather

we read on Palm Sunday—the Passion (John 18:1–

a thankful and reverently joyful recollection of his

19:37). This service also includes the praying of

death that gave us life. This day and the next—Holy

the Solemn Collects in which we intercede for the

Saturday—are the only two days of the church

church, our nation, and the world. Our Communion

calendar when there is no Eucharistic celebration.

for this service consists of wafers that have already

Traditionally, this service can be held at three

been blessed during the previous night’s Maundy

o’clock in the afternoon or later to mark the hour of

Thursday Eucharist. Good Friday is not a Eucharist

Jesus’ death according to the Gospels.

service because we are remembering that Christ’s body was in the grave, and we are waiting for his resurrected body to bring us new life.

It is believed that the liturgy for this service is derived from the earliest days of Christianity. The service begins in silence and with prayer. The clergy

Finally, we take time to venerate the cross. At

process into the room silently, dressed in black. In

Church of the Resurrection, we lay the cross down

some traditions, they prostrate themselves before

on the chancel stage, and all who are led take time

the cross at this point. Our readings for the day are

to touch the cross and pray. It is a powerful time of

from Isaiah’s Suffering Servant poem (Isa. 52:13­

connection with our sacrificial Savior.

–53:12) and from the sermon to the Hebrews in

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DEVOTIONAL In the pilgrimage of Holy Week, Good Friday brings

On Good Friday, we celebrate both the specific

us to a somber and contemplative halt. From the

instant in history when Jesus redeemed us and the

moment the silent procession enters the sanctuary

reality that it can meet us in our sinfulness today.

to when we all leave in silence, we are invited into a

We invite the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to

focused contemplation of Jesus’ death on the cross.

acknowledge our personal sinfulness and and then to

Each scripture reading, prayer, and song points us

immediately find forgiveness available at the cross. It

to one man’s experience on an ancient instrument of

is a stunningly personal opportunity to ask the Lord

torture. Why? Because we believe that the moment

to highlight the sins keeping us from drawing close to

Jesus died on the cross was the moment the entire

him and then to set those sins down on the wood of

world was rescued from sin and death. That is why we

the cross.

spend so much time savoring the reality of the cross.


YOUR RESPONSE Is there a sinful habit or pattern that the Lord may

What stands out to you the most about this service?

be asking you to give to him this Good Friday? SILENT PROCESSION: The clergy enters the

venerated the wood of Jesus’ actual cross. At

room in silence to highlight Good Friday as the

Resurrection, we believe that this practice takes us

continuation of the long service that begins on

out of time and, by the Holy Spirit, into the event

Maundy Thursday and ends with the Great Vigil of

of Christ’s crucifixion. It is not a reenactment, but


instead a sacred moment when we are given the gift of repentance as we physically touch the cross and


are moved by Jesus’ healing presence on the cross.

congregation is invited into the immediacy of the wood of the cross as it is carried through the

PRAYER MINISTERS: Because this service is


marked by the immediacy of the saving power of the cross, we fill the room with prayer ministers who


are trained and ready to enter into that moment

dates back to the fourth century, when Christians

with you in prayer.

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HISTORICAL CONTEXT creativity flowed forth. This continues to be true at Resurrection to this day, as artists are asked to be preachers by using their gifts to proclaim the heart of the Gospel.

The Great Vigil of Easter is the crowning jewel of Holy Week; it begins after sunset on Holy Saturday and extends through the night, culminating in a sunrise service. Of all the services celebrated during Holy Week, the Easter Vigil is the oldest known service of the week. The earliest references to the Vigil are found in the second century AD. In the third and fourth centuries, Christians believed this was the most significant holy day for new Christians to declare their faith and become full members of the family of God.The Easter Vigil celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and looks forward to his coming again in glory to fully reconcile the world to himself.

Because Resurrection was a mobile church from 1990-2012, each move into a new worship space pushed us to a new level of creativity. The move into Glenbard West High School gave us the space for our theatrical and artistic vision to come to full fruition. As the Vigil service grew, we moved into Edman Chapel at Wheaton College, and our artists were challenged to fill a larger space than ever before. Now that we are finally celebrating in our own home, a new level of joy has been unleashed as we adapt to the space that we built specifically to host our Easter services. Through each of these moves, however, Easter has continued to be marked by a bold, creative spirit that is inspired by scripture, liturgy, and the Holy Spirit. In the past, we celebrated the Great Vigil of Easter through a single evening service that often lasted until midnight, and packed in the Service of Light (or Exsultet), the Salvation History readings (or Lessons), baptisms, and Eucharist. We have since spread that arc of events out overnight, starting with our Vigil: Light and Lessons service (4 or 7pm) focused on the Service of Light and the Salvation History readings, followed by the All Night Vigil, and culminating with the Sunrise Service.

At Church of the Resurrection, the Great Vigil of Easter has developed over the years to be a service that highlights our deep desire to meet the Lord through the Sacraments by giving them a holy immediacy. Starting in the 1980’s when Resurrection was led by Canon William Beasley, there was a desire to make Holy Week not a series of rituals but a profound time of meeting the Lord. Thanks to his background in theater, Fr. William understood the ability of the arts to make abstract concepts concrete and accessible, and he charismatically drew artists to Resurrection. When he brought actors, visual artists, and musicians into the same room and gave them freedom to interpret the Salvation History readings, an explosion of

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This service is in two parts: the Service of Light and

portion of this service, we dramatically reinterpret

the Old Testament lessons. The Service of Light is

the traditional readings of our Great Vigil of Easter

highlighted by the singing of the Exsultet, an ancient

through visual art, theater, dance, and song. The

chant which describes the significance of the night

artists of Resurrection prepare for months in

and the journey on which we will embark together.

advance, writing original songs, crafting new art,

It is at this time that the Paschal Candle is lit from

and theatrically interpreting these scripture stories

a new fire outside of the church. Clergy members

to tell the story of salvation to the church and those

then process into the sanctuary with the light. As

who may never have heard of God’s saving deeds

they reach the doors of the sanctuary, they stop

for all people.

and knock prior to entering. As the Paschal Candle After the dramatic readings are finished, the

enters the room, it is the only light,

Service of Light and Lessons is over.

representing our passage from

Immediately after the second Light

the darkness of death on

and Lessons service, the all

Good Friday into the light of life on Easter Sunday.

night vigil begins with a brief

The Paschal Candle

Candlelight Vigil service

will burn during every

which offers a contemplative

service through

hour of choral music in a

Easter until Pentecost.

different portion of our

In the “Lessons”


WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR THE “NEW FIRE” OF EASTER: Before the Easter Vigil begins a “new fire” is kindled, which is

“THE LIGHT OF CHRIST”: The early church

then used to light the Paschal Candle. This “new

would strike a light on Jesus’ tomb and carry the

fire” represents Christ’s resurrection as the victory

flame with them throughout their celebration of his

of light and life over darkness and death.

resurrection. Today, we light a Paschal candle every year as a reminder of the pillar of fire that led the


Israelites to safety in Exodus 13.

Light and Lessons service begins in darkness because this service moves us from the darkness

THE EXSULTET: Also known as the “Easter

of Jesus’ death on Good Friday to the light of life

Proclamation,” this poetic hymn is sung by a cantor

found in Jesus’ resurrection at sunrise on Easter

and brings the salvation narrative of Holy Week into


focus around the Light of Christ. Congregational candles: The light from the Paschal

POUNDING ON DOOR: Bishop Stewart

candle is spread to the whole congregation as a

pounds on the doors of the sanctuary as a reminder

symbol of the intensely personal nature of Christ’s

that Christ broke down the doors of Hell when he

presence with each of us.


readings are presented dramatically in order to

CANDLE: Every year, Bishop Stewart carves the

bring a sensory immediacy to the sacramental

Greek symbols “Alpha” and “Omega” to highlight

reality of the texts.

that eternal nature of Christ’s presence with us.

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For the rest of the night, we celebrate the Liturgy of the Word, or the vigil readings, in a more contemplative way, spending one hour exploring each reading through worship, an original song,

preaching, and prayer. This experience provides time for us to slow down and dig deeply into the story of salvation.

At 6am the Sunrise Service portion of the Great

Full of the joy of the Resurrection, we then welcome

Vigil begins. After one final Vigil reading, we finally

candidates for baptism and renew our own

reach the moment that we wait for anxiously during

baptismal vows. We then conclude the service by

Lent and all of Holy Week: the Easter Acclamation

celebrating the Eucharist, enjoying together the

and the Holy Noise. The celebrant exclaims to the

meal that makes us one with Jesus’ body and blood


people: “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” And the people

and unites us with the church throughout the ages.

respond: “The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!” At this

The Eucharist reminds us throughout the year of the

time, we shout and sing and dance as we celebrate

death and resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate

SPIRIT-FILLED PRAYER: As we dive deep into

Service of Light and Lessons, the All Night provides

the hope given to us all those many years ago on

during Holy Week, and the first Eucharist of Easter

the Word of God, there is often a movement of the

an opportunity for preachers to mine the riches of

that first Easter Sunday morning, and we rejoice in

is an especially poignant moment as it concludes

Holy Spirit that causes our pastoral leaders to guide

each Vigil reading.

the expectation of the return of Christ in the future.

our Holy Week pilgrimage.

us in a time of extemporaneous prayer and worship.

This is truly the greatest moment of the entire year.

ORIGINAL SONG: Each hour of the all night PREACHING: After receiving Scripture

Vigil has a different worship leader who has written

powerfully through the dramatic readings at the

an original song based on the reading for that hour.

WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR “HE’S ALIVE!”: This song by Don Francisco

BELL RINGING: The conclusion of the Great Vigil

has been sung at Resurrection Vigils for decades,

of Easter takes place at 6am when the celebrant

and helps make the transition from the many

declares that Christ is risen. Resurrection has taken

hours of quiet waiting into the incredible joy of the

the ancient custom of ringing bells in celebration to


new heights through the “holy noise,” when the entire congregation makes a “joyful noise unto the Lord.”

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DEVOTIONAL The Great Vigil of Easter is the crowning jewel in our

As we keep vigil through the night with Jesus, we join

Holy Week pilgrimage. While you may be tempted

with believers who, for millennia, have understood

to think of Easter Sunday as the highlight, in reality

the incredible significance of this evening and have

it is this vigil service that begins in darkness on Holy

given up sleep, despite being near the end of a long

Saturday and erupts into joyous celebration at sunrise

pilgrimage, in order to worship and pray.

YOUR RESPONSE Reflect on your personal history. Where do you see

When was the last time that you were moved by the

God’s rescue plan breaking into your story?

joy of the resurrection?

Which Vigil reading most moved you?

What stands out to you most about this long service?

on Easter morning that encapsulates our pilgrimage. Hour by hour, we walk with the Lord from death to

This is how we find ourselves dancing and singing at

life, until the glorious moment when a Spirit-filled

sunrise on Easter Sunday, sleepless as we may be. The

impartation of joy is released and we celebrate that

joy of the Gospel overtakes us and we celebrate with

the resurrection is, indeed, real.

childlike freedom the hope that we have as children of the living God.

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HISTORICAL CONTEXT Easter Sunday marks the first Sunday of the Easter

At Resurrection, we continue our celebration

season, which continues through Pentecost.

from the Easter Vigil into Sunday morning. For

Originally, in the ancient church, Easter Sunday

each of our Easter services, we repeat the Easter

did not have a proper liturgy because the Easter

Acclamation, we baptize people, and we share the

Vigil continued into Easter Sunday and concluded

Eucharist. These services minister the joy that was

with the Eucharist. Different parts of the church

released through the Great Vigil of Easter.

throughout history used this time to dramatize the women returning to the empty tomb or to consecrate a new church.

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DEVOTIONAL We have arrived at our culminating Holy Week

God forever. We will not be with God simply in a

service: Easter morning. One word perfectly sums

metaphorical or ethereal way—no, we are promised

up this service: joy!

that we will share in Jesus’ resurrection. We will be able to physically walk with Jesus in our heavenly

Having walked with Jesus through the suffering,


pain, and anguish of this week, the celebration of

WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR BAPTISMS: Baptism as the passage from death

FLOWERS AND BANNERS: After a season of

to life is powerfully reinforced by the celebration of

visual fasting, the beauty of the Lord’s resurrection

Jesus’ resurrection.

is reflected in the sanctuary being filled with fresh

the Easter service is all the sweeter. Experiencing

The palpable joy in this service comes from being

the weight of our sin and the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice

in the presence of the Lord and is a taste of the

on Good Friday gives us all the more reason to

heavenly joy we will one day experience in fullness.

rejoice at Jesus’ ultimate victory. We recognize the

This service invites us to enter into this glimpse of

depth of the darkness from which Jesus has saved

heaven with childlike faith and to revel in the joy

us. We also rejoice in what we are saved for: eternal

of being with God and in his power. Dance and

life with the Lord. Through Jesus’ final victory, the

proclaim that the Lord is good and that the Lord has

victory over death itself, we are able to be with

done it: he has won the victory!

YOUR RESPONSE When was the last time you experienced or

Easter Sunday is a wonderful day to bring guests. Is

witnessed true joy? How was it different from

there someone you could invite?

feeling simply happy? What stands out to you most about this service?

flowers and bright banners. ASPERGES: We rejoice in our own baptisms as the clergy sprinkle the waters of baptism on the

DANCING: This Resurrection tradition began


in the early ‘90s as a spontaneous response to the healing and joy of the Lord’s presence. It has


since grown to be an integral part of our Easter

of the Lent and as the climax of our Holy Week

experience, as children and adults alike overflow

pilgrimage, Bishop Stewart proclaims, “Alleluia!

with the joy of the Resurrection.

Christ is Risen!”



A Prayer for Holy Week: Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 34



© 2018 Church of the Resurrection. All rights reserved. 935 W. Union Ave. Wheaton, IL 60187 Editor: Meghan Robins • Assistant Editor: Ellen Richard Design: Alan Miller • Illustrations: Brittney Dunn Introduction: Canon Dr. Stephen Gauthier and Dr. Barbara Gauthier Writers: Meghan Robins, Ellen Richard, Sarah Graham • Copyediting: Anna Robbins, Ellen Richard Production: Bethany McLellan • Photos: Michael Johnson, Ryn Manby Resurrection History: Bp. Stewart Ruch III Resurrected Christ: Laura Tabbut, Janice Wood, and Ray Wu, 2011

A Guide to Holy Week at Resurrection  
A Guide to Holy Week at Resurrection  

Resurrection theologians, writers, and artists created this stunning comprehensive guide to the Christian pilgrimage of Holy Week. You can l...