Easter Vigil for Individuals and Families


Follow along here for a guided tour of the Great Vigil of Easter, BCP 2019, with music links for streaming. You can learn more about Holy Week and the Easter Vigil here.

The liturgy normally assumes a church gathered, but this has been adapted for use in homes by individuals or families. It is a very long service! Feel free to omit or shorten portions as needed. You will need only a single candle and something to light it with, but you could choose to provide a candle for each person. It will be helpful to have a Book of Common Prayer 2019 and a Bible, but we have included all of the texts and linked to the relevant materials below. Most of the songs include the lyrics at the online streaming page we linked.

If you don’t have a prayer book, you can download the Canticles and Psalms here for this service here:

Also, here are the two main liturgies from the BCP 2019 that we’ve combined below:

Many thanks to Rachel Wilhelm (Redeemer, Dacula, Georgia and United Adoration) for selecting the music and to Rachel Wilhelm, Indelible Grace, Wendell Kimbrough, Cardiphonia Music, and Enoch Jacobus for creating and streaming the music.



THE LIGHTING OF THE PASCHAL CANDLE


In the darkness, a candle is lit; (this part of the service could be done at a campfire/bonfire outdoors) after which the leader says

Dear friends in Christ: On this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer. For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which, by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share in his victory over death.

The leader may say the following prayer

Eternal God, who made this most holy night to shine with the brightness of your one true light: sanctify this new fire, we pray, and so set us aflame with the fire of your love, that with pure hearts and kindled affections we may attain to the radiance of your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The leader holds up the candle (representing the Pascal Candle) and says

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

A person appointed, in place of a Deacon, bearing the Candle, holds the candle, three times singing or saying

The light of Christ.
People   Thanks be to God.

If candles have been distributed to everyone, they are lit from the Paschal Candle. Other candles may be lit. 

The Paschal Candle is placed on a stand in a prominent place. 


THE EXSULTET


Chant: The traditional chant of the Exsultet. Cantor, Enoch Jacobus of St. Andrews, Rome, Georgia. Click the play button below to listen as you follow along.


Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.

Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.

Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.

All you who stand near this marvelous and holy flame,
pray with me to God the Almighty
for the grace to sing the worthy praise of this great light;
through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Leader   The Lord be with you.
People   And with your spirit.
Leader   Lift up your hearts.
People   We lift them up to the Lord.
Leader   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right and good, always and everywhere,
with our whole heart and mind and voice to praise you,
the invisible, almighty, and eternal God,
and your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
who paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin,
and by his blood delivered your faithful people;
for he is the true Paschal Lamb, the very Lamb of God,
whose blood marks the doorposts of believers
and makes us holy.

This is the night when you brought our forebears,
the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt,
and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.

This is the night when with a pillar of fire
you banished the darkness of our iniquity.

This is the night when all who believe in Christ
are delivered from the gloom of sin,
and are restored to grace and holiness of life.

This is the night when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell,
and rose victorious from the grave.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.

How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God,
is your mercy and loving kindness to us,
that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.

O wonderful providence of Adam’s sin
destroyed completely by the death of Christ.
O happy fault, which gained for us
so great and glorious a Redeemer.

This is the night of which it is written:
the night shall be as bright as the day.

How holy is this night when wickedness is put to flight,
and sin is washed away.
It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn.
It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.

How blessed is this night when earth and heaven are joined,
and Man is reconciled to God.

Therefore, O holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice,
the offering of this candle in your honor,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
the gift of your most holy Church.
May it mingle with the lights of heaven,
and shine continually to drive away all darkness.
May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting,
find it ever burning—he who gives his light to all creation,
and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


THE LESSONS


The Leader may introduce the Scripture readings in these or similar words

Let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history, remembering how he saved his people in ages past and in the fullness of time sent his Son to be our Redeemer; and let us pray that God may bring to completion in each of us the saving work he has begun.

At least three of the following Lessons are read, of which one is always the Lesson from Exodus. After each Lesson, the Psalm or Canticle listed, or some other suitable psalm, canticle, or hymn, may be said or sung. A period of silence may be kept; and the Collect provided, or some other suitable Collect, may be said.


THE CREATION

GENESIS 1:1—2:3

PSALM 104:1-13 or

A SONG OF CREATION (Supplemental Canticle 10)

Song: Rejoice in All Your Works by Wendell Kimbrough

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE FALL

GENESIS 3

PSALM 32

Song Selection: My Heart is Faint by Rachel Wilhelm (from Jeremiah 9)

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you sent your blessed Son, the seed of the woman, that he might crush the serpent’s head and make all creation new: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE FLOOD

GENESIS 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-20; 9:8-13

PSALM 36 or PSALM 46

Song Selection: How Firm a Foundation by Wendell Kimbrough

Let us pray. (Silence)

Grant, Lord, that we who are baptized into the death of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ may continually put to death our evil desires and be buried with him; and that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection; through the merits of him who died and was buried and rose again for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


ABRAHAM’S SACRIFICE OF ISAAC

GENESIS 22:1-18

PSALM 16

Song Selection: Go to Dark Gethsemane by Rachel Wilhelm

Let us pray. (Silence)

Almighty God, whose servant Abraham faithfully obeyed your call, and rejoiced to see the day of your Son: Multiply the number of your children by the grace of the Lamb who was slain; that your Church may also rejoice to see your promise to our father Abraham fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


ISRAEL’S DELIVERANCE AT THE RED SEA

EXODUS 14:10—15:1

THE SONG OF MOSES (Supplemental Canticle 5, BCP 2019 page 83)

Song Selection: Do Not Be Afraid by Pillar Music/Cardiphonia Music

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, whose wonderful deeds of old shine forth even to our own day, by the power of your mighty arm you once delivered your chosen people from slavery under Pharaoh, to be a sign for us of the salvation offered to all nations by the water of Baptism: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may be numbered among the offspring of Abraham, and rejoice in the inheritance of Israel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


GOD’S PRESENCE IN A RENEWED ISRAEL

ISAIAH 4:2-6

PSALM 122

Song Selection: I Was Glad When They Said to Me by Cardiphonia Music

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you led your ancient people by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night: Grant that we, who serve you now on earth, may come to the joy of that heavenly Jerusalem, where all tears are wiped away and where your saints for ever sing your praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


SALVATION OFFERED FREELY TO ALL

ISAIAH 55:1-11

SURELY, IT IS GOD WHO SAVES ME (Supplemental Canticle 8) or  PSALM 42:1-7

Song Selection: Speak to Us by Rachel Wilhelm

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you have created all things by the power of your Word, and you renew the earth by your Spirit: Give the water of life to all who thirst for you, that they may bring forth abundant fruit in your glorious kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT

EZEKIEL 36:24-28

PSALM 42:1-7 or

SURELY, IT IS GOD WHO SAVES ME (Supplemental Canticle 8)

Song Selection: O Love with Heights Unknown by Rachel Wilhelm

Let us pray. (Silence)

Heavenly Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit you promise your faithful people new life in the water of Baptism: Guide and strengthen us by the same Spirit, that we who are born again may serve you in faith and love, and grow into the full stature of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES

EZEKIEL 37:1-14

PSALM 30 or PSALM 126

Song Selection: Our Mouths They Were Filled by Cardiphonia Music

Let us pray. (Silence)

Lord God of our salvation, you speak the word to your scattered people, and raise us up from the valley of death: Breathe your Spirit upon your Church, that we may live and stand before you confident in your risen Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


THE THREE YOUNG MEN IN THE FURNACE

DANIEL 3:1-28

A SONG OF CREATION (Supplemental Canticle 10) or

A SONG OF PRAISE (Benedictus es, Domine)

Song Selection: PSALM 124: He’s On Our Side by Wendell Kimbrough

Let us pray. (Silence)

O God, you know that we are set in the midst of many grave dangers, and because of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant that your strength and protection may support us in all dangers and carry us through every temptation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


JONAH AND THE FISH

JONAH 1:1—2:10

PSALM 130

Song Selection: How Long by Rachel Wilhelm

Let us pray. (Silence)

Almighty God, by the resurrection of your Son you have brought us out of sin into righteousness and out of death into life: Grant to those who are sealed by your Holy Spirit the will and the power to proclaim you to all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE GATHERING OF GOD’S PEOPLE

ZEPHANIAH 3:12-20

PSALM 98

Song Selection: Dawning Light of Our Salvation by Wendell Kimbrough

Let us pray. (Silence)

Almighty God, you called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: Give us boldness to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted high upon the Cross, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE EASTER ACCLAMATION


Leader   Alleluia! Christ is risen!
People   The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

A joyful fanfare may be played, and bells may be rung. The room is lighted, and candles may now be lighted from the Paschal Candle.

The Gloria in Excelsis, or some other hymn of praise, is sung or said

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


THE COLLECT


Leader   The Lord be with you.
People   And with your spirit.
Leader   Let us pray.

O God, you made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


THE EPISTLE


ROMANS 6:3-11

Psalm 114 or some other suitable psalm, hymn, or anthem may be said or sung.

The use of “Alleluia” is particularly appropriate.

Song Selection:  And Can It Be That I Should Gain by Rachel Wilhelm & Wendell Kimbrough


THE HOLY GOSPEL


All stand, and the appointed person reads the Gospel, first saying

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
People   Glory to you, Lord Christ.

MATTHEW 28:1-10

After the Gospel, the Reader says

The Gospel of the Lord.
People   Praise to you, Lord Christ.


RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS


Through the Paschal mystery, dear friends, we are buried with Christ by Baptism into his death, and raised with him to new-ness of life. I call upon you, therefore, now that our Lenten observance is ended, to renew the solemn promises and vows of Holy Baptism, by which we once renounced the devil and all his works, and promised to serve God faithfully in his one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

Do you, here in the presence of God and the Church, renew the solemn promises and vows made at your Baptism and commit yourself to keep them?
People I do.

Leader Do you renounce the devil and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
People I renounce them.

Leader Do you renounce the empty promises and deadly deceits of this world that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
People I renounce them.

Leader Do you renounce the sinful desires of the flesh that draw you from the love of God?
People I renounce them.

Leader Do you turn to Jesus Christ and confess him as your Lord and Savior?
People I do.

Leader Do you joyfully receive the Christian Faith, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?
People I do.

Leader Will you obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in them all the days of your life?
People I will, the Lord being my helper.

The Leader continues

Let us now reaffirm our faith in the words of the ancient baptismal confession, the Apostles’ Creed.

Leader Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
People I do.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Leader Do you believe and trust in Jesus Christ?
People I do.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Leader Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

People I do.
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.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE


Let us pray for the Church and for the world, saying, “hear our prayer.”

For the peace of the whole world, and for the well-being and unity of the people of God.

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For N., our Archbishop, and N., our Bishop, and for all the clergy and people of our Diocese and Congregation.

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For all those who proclaim the Gospel at home and abroad; and for all who teach and disciple others.

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith.

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For our nation, for those in authority, and for all in public service [especially _____________].

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For all those who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity [especially _____________].

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

For all those who have departed this life in the certain hope of the resurrection, [especially ______,] in thanksgiving let us pray.

Reader     Lord, in your mercy:
People     Hear our prayer.

Additional petitions may be added. Thanksgivings may also be invited.

The Leader concludes with this or some other appropriate Collect.

Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


THE LORD’S PRAYER


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


CLOSING SCRIPTURE


“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20, ESV)