The Biggest Night of the Year – the Vigil of Easter

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This is the Night when we gather for the Vigil of Easter. It is an ancient special service of the Church.  It is very different than anything else we do throughout the year. We gather at 7 p.m. on Saturday Night, April 19.  We look forward to seeing you at the Great Vigil of Easter.

Here is the rest of our Holy Week Schedule:  Click link.

Here is a perspective on this day from Deaconess Jennifer Clark Tinker, who is a member at Martin Luther Lutheran Church:  click this link for Jen’s Reflection.

Here is the introduction to this day as we will have it in our service bulletin:

An Introduction to the Vigil of Easter
Like the children of Israel who watched and waited through the night for the Lord of the Exodus, we too come together this night to watch and wait for the Lord of the Resurrection. We come, as Christians have come since the first century, to keep vigil and to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the Bridegroom who is chief host and guest at the Resurrection feast to come.
First, we must break the darkness of the night. Like the virgins in the parable, we must light our vigil lights. Our light will be a very special light, for it is the light of Christ which burns atop the Paschal candle and which dispels the darkness — of night, of sin, of death. Our light will be a constant reminder of the Resurrection victory during the coming season, at every baptism and at every funeral. But for now, it will burn in vigil as we await the Bridegroom.
When we have settled into our pews for the watch, we hear the storytellers among us sharing the stories of our faith — the stories of God’s salvation history and the covenants which he made with our people. These are our “family” stories. We listen. We sing. We watch. And we wait for the feast to come.
After hearing our stories, we make our last minute preparations to meet our Lord. All must be right for the feast. On some years those among us who have not yet joined us are brought into membership with us this night, making all who are here part of the family, which is the Church and the Bride of Christ. Each year, so that the whole family is prepared, each of us renews our baptismal vows. As we interact with the water and the Lord, we hear and we feel that grace which was given to us through our baptism.
We are nearly ready. The time is close. We prepare the room and set the table for the Feast of Victory, the First Holy Communion of this greatest festival day of all. And then at last He comes! The Resurrection victory is won! The Bridegroom has come through the darkness to claim his Bride, the Church, to be his own. This is the feast of victory! In the end flowers and banners must adorn the space, for our time this evening and tomorrow will be a feast to remember.

 

Thanks to Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, ELCA.  This introduction was adapted from his original work.

Andy’s Toys and the People of Jesus

Jan1214 Andy Foot Toy Story

by Pastor David Tinker

In my sermon on Sunday, January 12, 2014, I shared about the following from the movie, Toy Story.  I found an image of the foot of Woody with Andy’s name written on it.  Here is a written form of what I shared in the Sunday sermon regarding this image.

“The 1995 movie Toy Story shows Andy’s toys come to life.  When Andy is not around the toys talk, move, and have a sort of community life.  Andy is a little boy who cherishes his toys, but he especially cherishes his toy Cowboy “Woody”.  The story goes that on Andy’s birthday he receives a very exciting new toy:  Buzz Lightyear.  Buzz is a Space Ranger, complete with a laser beam, space helmet and a means to communicate between planets.  Buzz Lightyear becomes the new favorite toy of Andy.  He even makes sure his name is written on the bottom of Buzz Lightyear’s foot with permanent ink.

The Buzz Lightyear toy, while Andy is away, gets the impression that he himself is the real Buzz Lightyear, rather than a toy like the rest of the community.  After a series of mishaps he is brought to the reality that he is just a toy.  Buzz goes into a blue funk and no longer cares to even be a toy.

This is when the original leader of the toys, Woody, starts to show his stuff.  Woody truly cares about the toys and he also understands their purpose.  All the community of toys are “Andy’s Toys”.  They are there for Andy to play with.  Andy’s Toys are special, important and are loved by Andy.  Andy cares so much about his toys that he puts his name on each one.  Woody shows Buzz that both Woody and Buzz have the mark of Andy on their feet.  Woody shows Buzz that each toy is special not because of what they can do, but because they belong to Andy.  They are Andy’s Toys.”