The world is about to turn

I am a devotee of the Great Vigil of Easter.  The most important thing I will do all year is a three-hour worship service tonight that starts with the kindling of the New Fire and recounts the epic story of salvation on which the Christian faith is founded.

I am also a Presbyterian, which is a bit of a problem, because most Presbyterian churches (including my own) do not observe the Vigil.  So for the last eight years, come Holy Saturday, I have been an ecumenical tourist, seeking out some Episcopalian, Lutheran, or (in one case) Methodist church in my area that does have a Vigil.  I've only lived in two cities in this time, but I've attended Easter Vigils at eight different churches in five different cities over the same interval.

I am thankful that my wilderness wanderings with respect to the Vigil are at an end, at least for now, because dear friends of mine who are also devotees of the Great Vigil are living in a neighboring city and are on the steering committee of the new church plant.  There is no way that their church is ever not going to have a Vigil, which means that I have a home to go to for this great service.

It's a 45-60 minute drive, each way, for me to get to their church, so I've put together a playlist for the drive there and the drive back.  Because the Vigil takes place after nightfall, this creates a weird kind of cognitive dissonance: on the way to the Vigil, I am usually driving through a brilliant SoCal spring day, with the sun sparkling off the vivid blue of the Pacific Ocean out to my left, while listening to mournful music of quiet waiting that speaks of darkness and death and entombment.  On the way from the Vigil, I am driving through black night, while listening to/singing along at the top of my lungs with triumphant music about a glorious morning that witnessed the defeat of death and the dawn of new life. 

Really, though, I think there's something profoundly right about the mismatch between my music and my environment on these drives, because Easter is an event that confounds expectations.  This world, even at its brightest and most glorious, is profoundly broken and in need of redemption.  This world, even at its darkest and most despairing, is being redeemed by the same power that brought Jesus Christ back from the dead.

 Songs for Holy Saturday -- Before the Vigil

Songs for Holy Saturday -- After the Vigil


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