2015 - Easter Vigil and Service
Easter Vigil and EucharistApril 5th
Easter Bonfire Lighting a bonfire is an old, known since 1559, ritual occurring in parts of Europe. On the first or second day of Easter a large number of Easter bonfires are being lit. For this - often weeks or even months in advance - a lot of wood is being collected, piled onto a heap sometimes more then 10 meters in height. When darkness falls it is being lit. This event draws a lot of spectators.
The northern extremities of the area where this is taking place runs through Denmark and its southern border passes through Switzerland and Austria. The East of the Netherlands is the western border and the eastern border runs just east of the Harz mountains. Bur also outside this area Easter bonfires are being lit.
The Easter Bonfire is most probable from pre-Christian origin, but did change after christianization to a Christian implementation as the light of Easter and a sign of the resurrection of the Son of God, the Light of the World. The fire became a symbol of the victory over Death through Christ's Resurrection at Easter.
Originally on Saturday before Easter, during the Easter Vigil, a spark is cast from a stone as a Symbol of the Light of the Resurrection. However, at St. Mary's Chapel, Weldam prior to the Easter Service a Easter Vigil was held. Everyone gathered in front of the Chapel. The reading fitted for this moment, "Old Testament Reading: [Ex 14: 10-31, 15:20-21]" was read, followed by a prayer and then a flame was lit in a bowl. According to ancient tradition, the light for the Easter Candle was taken from newly kindled fire and not from an already existing source of light. This was the followed by a short prayer. After that five incense grains were attached to the new Easter Candle, symbolising the wounds of Christ.
Then a short prayer followed: "Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belong to him, and all ages; to him be glory and power, through every age and for ever. Amen. By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ our Lord guard and keep us. Amen".
After lighting the Candle our Chaplain Alja continued with the words: The Paschal Candle is lit May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds. Then proceeding with the words from The Gospel: [Mark 16. 1-8]
After the Gospel reading the The Paschal Candle was raised at the entrance and brought down the aisle into church and was placed on its stand.
On the Saturday prior, the Chapel had been decorated especially for the Easter Service by the ladies of the Flower Guild as with some beautiful flower arrangements.
Also the Ad Hoc Choir had been rehearsing for the Easter Service. Also this year they supported the congregation with their voices.
For full liturgy see: Vigil-and-Eucharist-2015-pew-sheet