Home Liturgy for Holy Saturday–Vigil of Easter

There are several traditions for worship on Holy Saturday:

  • The most ancient is the Vigil of Easter in which lessons are read from the Old Testament that prefigure the redemption and resurrection. The mood of the worship is kept very somber. Then when the prophecies have been read, lights are turned up, bells are rung, the Gloria in Excelsis is sung with a festival setting, and the moment of Christ’s resurrection is celebrated. New Christians are baptized, and Holy Communion is celebrated. The Vigil of Easter is considered the first service of Easter.
  • Some traditions read the account of Jesus’ burial on Holy Saturday.
  • Some traditions focus on Jesus’ descent into hell.

This home liturgy combines the themes of Jesus burial (Gospel), Jesus’ descent into hell (1 Peter 3) and how we share in his victory through our baptism into his death and resurrection (prayers and responsory). 

Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life.

If we have been united with him in the likeness of his death,
we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.
(Romans 6:3-5)

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ,
for our sins you endured the cross and the grave,
and on the third day you rose again from the tomb.
Just as you have cleansed us from our sins by your blood,
and as we are buried with you in baptism,
so by your grace, let us share in your resurrection;
through your mercy,
O our God, you are blessed,
and live and govern all things,
now and forever.
Amen.

Reading

A reading from 1 Peter, chapter 3.

Indeed, it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 18 because Christ also suffered once for sins in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in flesh but was made alive in spirit, 19 in which he also went and made an announcement to the spirits in prison. 20 These spirits disobeyed long ago, when God’s patience was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In this ark a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the body but the guarantee of a good conscience before God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 He went to heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Gospel

The holy Gospel according to St. John, the 19th chapter.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him remove Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave him permission, he came and took Jesus’ body away. 39 Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-two pounds.  40 They took Jesus’ body and bound it with linen strips along with the spices, in accord with Jewish burial customs. 41 There was a garden at the place where Jesus was crucified. And in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 So they laid Jesus there, because it was the Jewish Preparation Day, and the tomb was near.

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise be to you O Christ. 

Responsory

Christ has been raised from the dead, he will never die again. Death no longer has control over him.
The death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. (Romans:6:9-10)

Christ was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
The life he lives, he lives to God. 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
The life he lives, he lives to God. 

The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Amen.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

__________

Prayer “O Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins you endured…” is from Mozarabic Collects, ed. Rev. Chas. R. Hale, New York, 1881, p. 25 #3

The responsory is based on the traditional responsory for Easter. The traditional responsory also has Alleluias:

Christ has been raised from the dead, he will never die again. Death no longer has control over him.
The life he lives, he lives to God. Alleluia! Alleluia! (Romans:6:9-10)

Christ was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
The life he lives, he lives to God. Alleluia!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
The life he lives, he lives to God. Alleluia!

For this Easter Eve home liturgy, we included only one Alleluia at the end of the rite.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, http://www.wartburgproject.org.

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pastorstratman

Lutheran pastor serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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