March 30, 2024 – Great Vigil of Easter

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

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
A song of praise from the furnace: Bless the Lord, all creation.

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.

Mark 16:1–8
Finding Jesus’ tomb empty, the women flee in wonder and fear.

See the Book of Common Worship (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993) for the Easter Vigil liturgy.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

We cannot imagine the world
without God as our hope,
and yet here we gather,
feeling the loss, as the world awaits.
You have been placed in the tomb,
and yet we still feel your life.
We will go on.

Prayer of the Day

In your holiness, O God,
we wait for your promise to be fulfilled.
Our faith is tested.
We do not know how your power
will ease our hopelessness.
We ask that your Spirit
bring us peace of mind and peace of heart,
and yet, we are restless.
Our souls feel the stirring of something new.
As we sing about the change that is going to come,
prepare us for your mighty work,
even if we cannot yet see or imagine it. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

On this day of holy waiting,
we remember, O Lord, that much of the world
never seems to leave Holy Saturday.
Your people live in grief and uncertainty,
having borne the pain of injustice
while searching for the light of new life.
Forgive us, O God, if we have played a part
in the Good Fridays of this world.
Forgive us, O God, if we are prone to passive waiting,
rather than helping to usher in your Easter promises.
Forgive us, O God, of all the ways we fall short,
and hold us in your love until we can see your glory revealed.

Great Thanksgiving

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.

Prayer after Communion

At the communion table:
Thank you, O God, for giving us communion
with our risen and glorious Lord.
Now send us out to be a sign
of the new life that has come into the world;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Joyful Mountain Landscape

Paul Klee, 1929

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain (OEG) ST. KEVIN GTG 234
  • I Believe in God the Father (EG) GENEVAN 42 GTG 481
  • In the Darkness of the Morning (G) KAS DZIEDAJA GTG 229
  • The Day of Resurrection! (EG) LANCASHIRE GTG 233


  • Baptized in Water (E) BUNESSAN GTG 482
  • Crashing Waters at Creation (O) CRASHING WATERS GTG 476
  • Woman, Weeping in the Garden (G) KINGDOM GTG 241
  • You Have Put on Christ (E) BAPTIZED IN CHRIST GTG 491


  • At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (OG) SONNE DER GERECHTIGKEIT ELW 362, SALZBURG LUYH 832
  • Come to the Table (G) COME TO THE TABLE GTG 508
  • One Bread, One Body (G) ONE BREAD, ONE BODY GTG 530
  • We Who Once Were Dead (E) MIDDEN IN DE DOOD GTG 502


  • Alleluia! Christ Is Risen (G) SANTO DOMINGO GTG 253
  • Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia (G) MFURAHINI HALELUYA GTG 251
  • Lift High the Cross (E) CRUCIFER GTG 826
  • We Know That Christ Is Raised (E) ENGELBERG GTG 485

Psalms and Canticles


  • 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

Organ Music

  • “The Day of Resurrection,” Easter Comes Again, Wilbur Held, MSM (E)
  • “Voluntary on ENGELBERG,” Be Thou My Vision, Lloyd Larson, LOR (ME)
  • “Jesus, Christ Is Risen Today,” God of Grace, Paul Manz, MSM (M)
  • “CHRIST IST ERSTANDEN,” Augsburg Organ Library: Easter, Anton Wilhelm Leupold, AF (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God,” Creation, F. J. Haydn/ed. Rutter, OUP, SATB, org (A)
  • “From the Rising of the Sun,” M. Susan Brown, AF, SATB, acap (E)
  • “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing,” Calvin Hampton, GIA, 2 pt mix (E)
  • “As a Deer Longs for Flowing Streams,” Terre Johnson, MSM, SATB, pno or orch (M)
  • “Sicut Cervus,” Giovanni Palestrina, ed. Chester Alwes, LOR, SATB, acap (A)
  • “Living Water,” Tom Trenney, MSM, SATB, pno (A)
  • “This Joyful Eastertide,” Matthew Owen, OUP, SATB, org (M)

Handbell Music

  • “From Darkness to Light,” Michael Helman, 3–5 oct, opt hc, BP, HB764, Level 3
  • “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today,” Joe Galyon, 3–5 oct, opt hc, HOPE, 2907, Level 2+
  • “Lord of the Dance,” Jason Krug, 3–5 oct, HOPE, 2997, Level 2


  • Holy Absence, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • Noah’s Ark, Edward Hicks (VDL)
  • The Immigrant’s Ship, John Dollman (VDL)
  • Joyful Mountain Landscape, Paul Klee (VDL)
  • Still, Jan Richardson (JR)