Holy Saturday 31st March 2017

Here are the parts of the Lenten blog appropriate for this day:

Holy Saturday is the day we remember that Jesus laid in his tomb.
It is a time of quiet reflection
after the emotional liturgies of Good Friday.
We are led into it by the music the choir sings on Good Friday evening.
The day itself is a slow build up to the evening worship:
The church is decorated with flowers, altars are prepared,
all that was stripped from the church at the end of Maundy Thursday
is now put back in place ready for the great Feast of Easter.
In our worship on the evening of Holy Saturday
there is a growing anticipation of the resurrection
that will be celebrated on Easter Sunday.
In the evening we light the Easter fire, process with the Easter candle,
Listen to the beautiful Exsultet, and bless the baptismal water.

Our worship on Holy Saturday evening begins
with the lighting and blessing of the New Easter Fire.
A fire is lit outside the church and from it the new Easter Candle is lit,
it is then processed into a darkened church
and from this candle we all light a candle and follow in behind.
It symbolises Christ rising from the grave on this holy night,
bringing new light and hope to our world.
As we process into church the priest stops 3 times,
raises the candle, and sings:
“Christ our Light” to which all respond: “Thanks be to God.”
It is in contrast to the worship on Good Friday,
when the cross is raised 3 times in procession.
On Good Friday we sat with Christ as he died on the cross,
now we gather to anticipate his resurrection
and the miracle of this glorious night.

The singing of the Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation,
follows immediately after the procession of light.
For me it is one of the highlights of Easter.
The proclamation calls us to rejoice and sing with the angels,
to sound the trumpet of salvation, for, it tells us,
“Christ has conquered, glory fills you”.
It reminds us that: “This is the night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth and all creation reconciled.”
In contrast to Maundy Thursday
when we sat in vigil anticipating our Lord’s arrest and suffering,
we now keep vigil anticipating his glorious resurrection;
for as the proclamation tells us:
“The morning star has risen, never again to set.”

The other major part of the Holy Saturday worship
is the renewal of our baptismal promises and holy sprinkling.
This is repeated again on Easter morning.
The Easter Candle is processed to the font
and dipped 3 times into the water
to bless it and infuse it with the Living Christ.
We then renew our commitment to Christ
and are sprinkled and blessed with the waters of life.
At the beginning of our Lenten journey, on Ash Wednesday,
we are anointed with ash, reminding us of our need of God;
now we are sprinkled with life giving water
reminding us of God’s Holy Presence with us.
This season of renewal ends with just that.

The sermon for Holy Saturday will follow later