Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Vigil 2007

Yay!! Ray Wu just sent me his Vigil pictures!

The first part of the service, held in half-darkness on Easter Eve, is a series of readings recounting salvation history through the Scriptures. In our service, they are memorized or sung, and are usually accompanied by creative dramatic interpretation.

Here is the story of Noah. The reader is draped in green, and it has just begun to rain upon the earth (hear the sprinkling water?). The men in black on either side are pulling out lengths of blue cloth; these were brought down into both aisles and waved to billow like waves as the water rises in the narrative. The brown cloths draped over the ladders represent mountains, and the green cloths that the girls are holding were raised or lowered above or below the "mountains" as the water rose or receded.

The last reading is The Gathering of God's People (Zephaniah 3:12-20). Our amazing music director wrote a beautiful original composition based on this passage. A soloist began it, but was joined, one by one, by the readers, dancers, stagehands and actors from the previous readings-- very effective for the passage: "Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion...At that time I will gather you...." (The distinguished-looking gray-haired gentleman in the center is my father-in-law.)

In the middle of the service, we do baptisms. Here Papa Rooster is preparing to baptize this little fellow, whose father is there on the left. We most often sprinkle children--liberally--but this family wanted immersion. A little problem arose because the warm water, which was poured into the horse trough baptistry back during the Noah reading, had cooled off. (Note the trough now is wearing a skirt, but in the first picture you can see it in all its agrarian glory.)

The little boy stepped in--and didn't want to sit down. "Not quite as warm as we thought, apparently," Papa Rooster joked. The boy did sit, but then, after being dunked under, "in the name of the Father," he jumped to his feet. "Can we do that two more times?" Papa R asked, to the congregation's great amusement, and the little boy shook his head no. Papa R lightly sweet-talked him into sitting back down, and then poured water over his head twice, quickly--"in the name of the Son...and of the Holy Spirit." Then the whole performance was repeated with the boy's sibling--who also jumped to her feet after the first dunk! I was so proud of Father Rooster; he handled it so beautifully and charmingly. (He also baptized two adults--in the trough--who managed it stoically, and 4 babies, in the font.)

These last two pictures are during the worship at the end. We've rung the bells and shouted "Alleluia!" for the first time in 40 days; we've had a very brief sermon and communion, and now the kids are all holding hands forming chains and weaving through the aisles, and many people have gathered at the front waving streamers and singing praises to our risen Lord! (That is our senior pastor there with the gold chausable, and Papa Rooster is on the far right.)

This is the choir, onstage this year, during the closing worship. That's Papa Rooster just to the left of the cross, waving a streamer and--wait! Is he dancing? Maybe not in this picture, but he did, uncharacteristically, do a little jig across the stage as he and the clergy moved to make room for the choir!

The links to more pictures (from last year's Vigil) are here.

We missed you this year, Jen in Seattle! You've been there--what?--the last three years?

And Amy, home with a sick toddler--you asked for stories--the baptism story is the only one I had! (No such excitement as falling pillars, narrowly missing reader's heads this year....)


Amy said...


maria said...

ah, this has me missing rez and holy week and ... *sigh*.

Thanks for posting the family picture. It was beautiful to see how everyone is growing.

Jenny in Ca said...

that was just beautiful Hen. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh thank you for posting pictures!

Yes, I have been there the last three years. Who knows, maybe I will be there again in the future :-)

Easter was very different here, but still very lovely.

Anonymous said...

lol....from Jen in Seattle :-)

Pru's Corner said...

This is Noel from church, I found you through Amy's site. Thanks for posting about Vigil. I was very excited that Ray sent me his pictures, too! It's so hard to know what everything looks like when you're up on stage for most of it.
Well, blessings to you this Easter season.
You can check out my site if you want, I'm still working on getting it up to snuff, though...