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April 11, 2020: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil (Adults of All Ages)

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

A Day of Rest and Anticipation

On this Holy Saturday we observe the Sabbath day, the prescribed day of rest, in a very special way. We remember Jesus, who on this day entered into the ultimate rest of death. We remember his friends and family, who on this day grieved for his death, and waited patiently until the next day, Sunday, to do the loving work of preparing his body for death.

They were anticipating returning to his tomb, not to find a joyful surprise, but to do the final tasks of preparing his body to remain forever in that place of rest. Today we stand in this in-between place of waiting and resting, with Jesus and all who loved him.

In the morning on Holy Saturday, maybe during breakfast or once you are finished cleaning up, take time to do this short prayer:

A Service for Holy Saturday

Leader: O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lessons

Reader: A Reading from the book of Job.

“Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them[a] before you for judgment? Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep.

“If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal[b] to come. (Job 14:1-14)

Reader: Here ends the reading.

Reader: Please join me in reading Psalm 31 by saying the responses in bold.

Whenever I am in trouble, I always run to you, God.

There is no shame in hiding with you. You come to my rescue.

Bring your ear close to me now. And hurry, because I need rescuing. Again.

Let me see your shining face. Love me, God, and save me.

Be like a strong rock. Be a big castle to keep me safe. I count on you.

Because you are who you are, show me where I should go.

I’m all tangled up in a net that people secretly set for me.

Come and get me out of this mess. I count on you and your strength.

Let me see your shining face. Love me, God, and save me.

(from God’s Word, My Voice)

Reader: A Reading from the Book of 1 Peter

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:1-8)

Reader: A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. (Matthew 27:57-66)

Here ends the reading.

Leader: Please join me in reading In the Midst of Life together.

In the midst of life we are in death;

from whom can we seek help?

From you alone, O Lord,

who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;

shut not your ears to our prayers,

but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,

do not let the pains of death

turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,

Holy and merciful Savior,

deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your Name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and for ever. Amen.

Leader: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.



A Service for Easter Vigil (from St. Andrew's by the Sea Easter Vigil liturgy):

The start of the great Feast of Easter is not Sunday morning, but actually at sunset on Saturday night. As the sun sets on this Holy Saturday, and we usher in the celebration of Easter, take time to return to the home altar where your Paschal Candle has been since yesterday.

Change out the black or dark cloth under the candle for a white one. Make sure the paschal candle is still on the table. Place a bowl of water next to the candle.

Celebrate this after sunset on Saturday, the day before Easter.

Sit before an unlit candle and a bowl of water.

Light the candle, saying:

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

Thanks be to God.

Then read this “Easter Proclamation”

Rejoice, all heavenly choirs of angels!

Christ has conquered; the risen Savior shines upon you.

This is the night in which the true Lamb is slain.

This is the night: this is the night.

This the night in which the children of Israel were led through the sea.

This is the night: this is the night.

This is the night in which all who believe in Christ are renewed in grace.

This is the night: this is the night.

The holiness of this night restores joy to those who mourn and humbles earthly pride.

Therefore this night, O God, receive our praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

May Christ, the Morning Star, rising from the grave, shed light on the whole human race.

And we pray, O God: preserve and protect your church,

giving us peace, in this time and forever. Amen.

And pray this prayer:

O God,

you are the creator of the world,

the liberator of your people,

and the wisdom of the earth.

By the resurrection of your Son,

free us from our fears,

restore us in your image,

and ignite us with your light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Bible tells us the story of Salvation History, the record of God’s saving deeds in history, how God saved God’s people in ages past, and the story of redemptive love that is fulfilled in the person of Jesus. On the eve of Easter, we remember and share some of those stories.

Use your own Bible to read these stories. If you are in a household, you may read the stories together, or from a Bible appropriate for the group gathered. A children’s storybook Bible would work well for any age group. You may read fewer stories, but always include the Crossing of the Red Sea.

After each story, pause for some conversation or silence.

Genesis 1:1—2:4a God creates the heavens and the earth.

YouTube: God of the Sparrow

Exodus 14:10 -15:1 God brings the people of Israel across the Red Sea.

YouTube: Hallelujah (shrek song)

Ezekiel 37:1–14 The valley of the dry bones.

YouTube: Blackbird

Jonah 1:1—2:1 The story of Jonah.

YouTube: Jonah and the fish

Zephaniah 3:12-20 The gathering of the people of God will come again.

YouTube: You are mine Haas

Now, remember your baptism. Use the water in the bowl to make

the sign of the cross on your forehead. You are called, beloved, and renewed.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in

the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall

into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of

God in Christ?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your

neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and

respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God’s help.

Now is the time to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus and the alleluias of Easter!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Sing a joyful song or listen to one, ring bells, bang pots and pans - make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Read Matthew 28:1-10 below, or the Easter story in a children’s Bible.

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of

you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Pray the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread,

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

And deliver us from evil,

For the kingdom, the power,

And the glory are yours,

Now and forever. Amen.

Pray this prayer and speak these final sentences:

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 Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

You may make the sign of the cross

(touch your forehead, your chest, your left shoulder, then right shoulder, while you say these words)

Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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