April 8, 2023 – Great Vigil of Easter

Lectionary Readings

A minimum of three Old Testament readings should be chosen; Exodus 14 is always included.

Genesis 1:1—2:4a
The seven days of creation; God rests on the seventh day.

Psalm 136:1–9, 23–26
Give thanks to God, creator of all, whose love endures forever.

Genesis 7:1–5, 11–18; 8:6–18; 9:8–13
The story of the great flood and God’s covenant with Noah.

Psalm 46
Though the earth changes and the waters roar, God is our refuge.

Genesis 22:1–18
Obeying God, Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son Isaac.

Psalm 16
The Lord protects and instructs me; God preserves my life.

Exodus 14:10–31, 15:20–21
Pursued by the Egyptians, the Israelites escape through the sea.

Exodus 15:1b–13, 17–18
Moses sings praise to the Lord, who has delivered the people.

Proverbs 8:1–8, 19–21; 9:4b–6
Wisdom calls out: come, eat and drink; walk in the way of insight.

Psalm 19
The heavens declare God’s glory; the law of the Lord is sweet.

Isaiah 55:1–11
Come to the waters; listen and live; God’s promise will not fail.

Isaiah 12:2–6
Surely God is my salvation; with joy, draw water from the well.

Isaiah 61:1–4, 9–11
The spirit of the Lord is upon me; God clothes me in righteousness.

Deuteronomy 32:1–4, 7, 36a, 43a
I will proclaim the name of the Lord; God will have compassion.

Ezekiel 36:24–28
God will cleanse the people, giving them a new heart and spirit.

Psalms 42 and 43
Like a deer, I thirst for the living God; God is my help and hope.

Ezekiel 37:1–14
In a valley of dry bones, Ezekiel has a vision of hope for Israel.

Psalm 143
My soul thirsts for you, God; answer me, or I will go to the grave.

Daniel 3:1–29
God saves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the furnace.

Song of the Three 35–65

Jonah 1:1–2:1
Trying to avoid his call to Nineveh, Jonah is caught in a storm.

Jonah 2:2–3 (4–6), 7–9
From the belly of the fish, Jonah calls out to the Lord for help.

Zephaniah 3:14–20
Sing and rejoice, people of God; the Lord will bring you home.

Psalm 98
Let all creation make a joyful noise to the Lord, who is coming.

Romans 6:3–11
Through baptism, we share in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Psalm 114
The earth shakes and the sea retreats in the presence of the Lord.

Matthew 28:1–10
Women find Jesus’ tomb empty; he has been raised from the dead.

For other resources for the Easter Vigil, see the Book of Common Worship (WJKP, 2018), pp. 290–304.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

In darkness, the world begins to wake;
a new day is coming,
a day of celebration and joy.
We keep watch for the first moments of dawn;
we wait for the first glimpses of salvation,
the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Confession and Pardon​

At the baptismal font:
God is truly our salvation.
We will trust and not be afraid.
No matter what sins or burdens we carry today,
we can call on the name of Christ
to heal us and make us whole.

God of the past, present, and future,
as we wait the dawn of your resurrection
we look back on who we have been as your people.
We have not always followed you.
We have disobeyed you,
doing the opposite of what you desire.
Now we seek your help
as we imagine who we could be moving forward.
Forgive us,
and guide us back to you,
as you have done time and time again.
Shower us with salvation
and set us free,
that we might live Christlike lives
and share the good news of your grace.

Lifting water from the font:
Beloved, know this:
just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
We have died with Christ; therefore we will live with him.
Thanks be to God!

Great Thanksgiving

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

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
By your wisdom, you created the world and everything in it.
By your power, you have delivered us from evil in every age.
By your mercy, you have promised never to forsake us.

Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Before the rising of the sun on the first day of the week,
Jesus rose from the dead! With the first believers,
we bear witness to this good news of great joy.
The words of institution are included here.

Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.
A Memorial Acclamation (e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we have been buried with Christ by baptism into death,
raise us up, by the power of your Spirit, to walk in new life.
Let us be dead to sin and alive to you in Christ Jesus.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

“Sealing of Christ’s Tomb”

Russian Icon, ca. 1850–1900

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Like a Mother Who Has Borne Us (O) AUSTIN GTG 44
  • Ho, All Who Thirst (O) JACOB’S WELL GTG 479
  • Out of Deep, Unordered Water (O) RUSTINGTON GTG 484, PH 494
  • Thanks to God Whose Word Has Spoken (O) WYLDE GREEN EH 630


  • God of the Sparrow (O) ROEDER GTG 22, PH 272
  • Within Our Darkest Night (O) DANS NOS OBSCURITÉS GTG 294
  • Be Thou My Vision (O) SLANE GTG 450, PH 339
  • Soplo de Dios / O Living Breath of God (E) VÅRVINDAR FRISKA SSS 8


  • Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Works (O) LACQUIPARLE GTG 21, PH 271
  • I Come with Joy (OE) DOVE OF PEACE GTG 515, PH 507
  • In the Singing (OE) BREAD OF PEACE GTG 533
  • At Evening (OE) EVENING HYMN G3 857


  • Surely, It Is God Who Saves Me (O) FIRST SONG GTG 71
  • Take Me to the Water (G) TAKE ME TO THE WATER GTG 480
  • Sing to God, with Joy and Gladness (OE) GLENDON GTG 657
  • God Made the World through Song (OG) MARIANNE Sing No Empty Alleluias, Chris Shelton, GIA

Psalms and Canticles

Psalm 136:1–9, 23–26

  • We Give Thanks unto You [WE GIVE THANKS UNTO YOU]; GTG 75, PAS 136C, LUYH 52
  • Let Us with a Gladsome Mind [MONKLAND, GENEVAN 136]; GTG 31, PH 244, PAS 136A, B
  • Give Thanks unto the Lord [KIHAYA]; PAS 136G
  • All Creation Join to Say [EASTER HYMN]; PAS 136D (alt. refrain)
  • God’s Mercy Endures Forever [WAREHAM]; HTP1 121
  • Tu amor, Oh Dios, perdure para siempre / Your Love, O God, Endures Forever; SSS 37

Psalm 46

  • God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength [WINCHESTER OLD]; GTG 329, PH 191
  • Dios es nuestro amparo / God Will Be Our Refuge [AMPARO]; PAS 46B, SSS 290
  • God, Our Help and Constant Refuge [MICHAEL]; PAS 46C, PH 192
  • God Is Our Help, Refuge, and Strength; GTG 380
  • The Lord of Hosts Is with Us; PAS 46D
  • Be Still and Know / Ten calma ye ve; SSS 55 (refrain only)

Psalm 16

  • When in the Night I Meditate [ST. FLAVIAN, MAITLAND, MORNING SONG/CONSOLATION]; GTG 810, PH 165, PAS 16A, PP 28 (with refrain)
  • Protect Me, God [MEPHIBOSHETH]; PAS 16C, LUYH 411
  • My Heart Is Glad; PAS 16D (alt. refrain)
  • Harbor of My Heart; PAS 16B, PND 9

Exodus 15:1b–13, 17–18

  • I Will Sing the Lord’s High Triumph [TYDDYN LLWYN]; HWB 261
  • I Will Sing to the Lord; PSA 174
  • I Will Sing, I Will Sing; G3 96

Psalm 19

  • God’s Glory Fills the Heavens [ST. PATRICK, CREATION]; GTG 690, PAS 19B, LUYH 719
  • The Stars Declare His Glory [DEERFIELD]; PAS 19A
  • Silent Voices [SILENT VOICES]; PAS 19F
  • The Statutes of the Lord Rejoice the Heart [SONG 1]; HTP1 126
  • Lord, You Have the Words of Everlasting Life; PFTS2 44
  • Lord, You Have the Words; PP 32
  • Que los dichos de mi boca / Let the Words of My Mouth; SSS 558–559 (refrain only)

Isaiah 55:1–11

  • You Thirsty Ones, Come [HEAVEN’S RAIN]; GTG 78
  • All Who Are Thirsty [MALATE]; LUYH 807
  • Table of Plenty [TABLE OF PLENTY]; LUYH 808

Isaiah 12:2–6

  • Surely the Lord Is My Salvation [ D]; SGP 227
  • Surely, It Is God Who Saves Me [THOMAS MERTON]; H82 679
  • Surely, It Is God Who Saves Me [FIRST SONG]; GTG 71
  • Sing the Praises of the Lord [NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND]; HTP1 68

Psalm 42/43

  • As Pants the Deer for Living Streams [SEACHRIST]; GTG 778
  • As a Deer in Want of Water [FREU DICH SEHR/GENEVAN 42]; PAS 42E, LUYH 616, SSS 502
  • My Soul Thirsts for the Living God; PAS 42F
  • O Why Are You Cast Down [GO DOWN MOSES]; PP 80

Psalm 143

  • Hear My Prayer, O God [HYMN CHANT]; GTG 782, PAS 143A, LUYH 895
  • To My Prayer, Lord, Bend Your Ear []; PCW 143
  • When Morning Lights the Eastern Skies [ST. STEPHEN]; PH 250, PP 282 (with refrain)
  • What Wondrous Love [WONDROUS LOVE]; PAS 143B (alt. refrain)
  • Christ Has Been Raised; PSA 146
  • Revive Me, O Lord [VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES]; HTP1 130

Song of the Three

  • Let All Creation Bless the Lord [LOBT GOTT DEN HERREN, MIT FREUDEN ZART]; HWB 61, WR 25, SNC 34
  • All Creatures of Our God and King [LASST UNS ERFREUEN]; GTG 15, PH 455, LUYH 551
  • Let Us Sing to the Lord / Bendecid al Señor [Taizé]; OC 85
  • Let the Whole Creation Bless the Lord; PSA 180
  • To God Be Highest Glory and Praise Forever; PSA 181

Jonah 2:2–3 (4–6), 7–9

  • In the Fish for Three Days Buried (Song of Jonah) [EIFIONYDD]; PSH 202
  • In My Trouble (Jonah’s Song); SNC 233
  • Call upon the Lord; LOML 6

Psalm 98 (See also Christmas Day)

  • Joy to the World [ANTIOCH]; GTG 134, SSS 95
  • New Songs of Celebration Render [RENDEZ À DIEU (GENEVAN 98/118)]; GTG 371, PH 218, SSS 442
  • Sing, Sing a New Song to the Lord God [RENDEZ À DIEU (GENEVAN 98/118)]; PAS 98C, LUYH 547
  • Sing a New Song to Our Savior [ D]; SGP 145
  • To God Compose a Song of Joy [RICHMOND, KEDDY]; NCH 36, PH 219
  • All the Ends of the Earth Have Seen the Victory; PAS 98B (alt. refrain)
  • Sing to the Lord a New Song; PAS 98A
  • Sing a New Song unto the Lord [SING A NEW SONG]; GTG 276
  • All the Ends of the Earth; PND 34

Psalm 114

  • When We Came Out of Egypt [ D]; SGP 168
  • When Israel Was Going Forth [PISGAH]; GTG 58, PP 216 (with refrain)
  • When Israel Fled from Egypt Land [O HEILAND REISS, ANDRE]; PAS 114B, A; LUYH 41]
  • Come You Faithful, Raise the Strain [GAUDEAMUS PARITER/AVE VIRGO VIRGINUM]; PAS 114C (alt. refrain 1)
  • Hallelujah, Hallelujah [O FILII ET FILIAE]; HTP1 132
  • Freedom Is Coming / Dios nos libera; SSS 29–30

Organ Music

  • “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn,” BWV 630, J. S. Bach, public domain(M)
  • “Wth High Delight Let Us Unite,” MIT FREUDEN ZART, Ernst Pepping, Schott (ME)
  • “This Joyful Eastertide,” VRUECHTEN, Augsburg Organ Library: Easter, Keith Kolander, AF (ME)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Creation’s Praise,” Mitchell Covington, BP, SATB div, pno (M)
  • “The Heavens Declare the Lord’s Glory,” Benedetto Marcello, Bourne, SATB, org, opt brass (ME)
  • “Bwana Asifiwe,” arr. Mark Burrows, CGA, SATB, pno, opt perc (ME)
  • “Go Down, Moses,” B. E. Boykin, Klavia Press, SATB div, pno (M)
  • “O Blessed Spring,” Robert Buckley Farlee, AF, SATB, org, ob, opt cong (M)
  • “By the Water Flowing,” Patricia Mock, arr. Faye Lopez, LOR, SATB, pno, opt gtr, bass (E)
  • “All You Works of the Lord,” Kenneth Jennings, AF, SATB div, org (MA)
  • “Worthy to Be Praised,” Byron Smith, ALF, SATB, pno, opt bass, perc (M)
  • “God Is Our Refuge and Strength,” David Cherwien, MSM, uni, org (ME)
  • “You Shall Go Out in Joy,” Norah Duncan IV, GIA, SATB, pno (ME)

Handbell Music

  • “Be Thou My Vision,” Lloyd Larson, 3–5 oct, BP, HB231, Level 3
  • “Dove of Peace,” Judy Phillips, 3–6 oct, GIA, G-7292, Level 3+
  • “Many and Great,” Cathy Moklebust, 2–3 oct or 3–5 oct, opt perc, CGA, CGB971 or CGB972, Level 1


  • Sealing of Christ’s Tomb, Russian icon (VDL)
  • Three Marys at the Tomb; Descent into Hell, Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1319 (VDL)
  • Lamentation, stained glass, Chartres (VDL)
  • Hand of Love, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (VDL)