The last couple of Easter Sundays, I–along with whichever family members I can drag out of bed–have attended the Great Vigil of Easter at an Anglican church in Nashville. It’s still pitch dark outside when the service starts (5 am), but as things progress, the daylight begins to filter in, and the birds begin to trill, and by the time the last prayer is prayed, it’s full-on day. The Great Vigil is the most scripture-intense service I’ve ever been to. The scripture readings begin with Creation, through the Flood, to Abraham and Isaac, to the crossing of the Red Sea, through the prophets (major and minor both) and on into the Gospels and Epistles. As the light dawns, it dawns on the worshipper that, as Sally Lloyd-Jones puts it in The Jesus Storybook Bible, “Every story whispers His name.” Our church isn’t nearly so liturgical; I love the reminder on Easter morning that we’re participants in a story that has continued uninterrupted since the dawn of time. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a version of that liturgy.
Update: Father Thomas McKenzie sent me the actual liturgy he used a couple of years ago. Here it is in PDF format.
Another Easter tradition at the Rogers house is to sing “Low in the Grave He Lay” in tones so dramatic as to be described as operatic. It used to make the younger members of the family cry.
Commenter Charles Atkinson introduced the word triduum–the period of time between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. What traditions do you participate in during the triduum?