Wake Forest University School of Divinity and the Office of the Chaplain will present the inaugural Easter Vigil service on Saturday, April 8, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The event will include music, dance, theatrical interpretation of scripture, and moments of reflection. All are invited to attend, no matter their faith or tradition.
To keep vigil is to stay awake, especially through misty midnight hours, to be with someone who is near death or to protest an injustice or to pray during a crisis. To keep vigil is to keep watch when people are usually sleeping.
The Easter Vigil holds these meaning and more. Observed on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, the Easter Vigil vocalizes and embodies the first “alleluias” of Easter. The traditional Vigil consists of four parts: Service of Light, Service of the Word, Baptism, and Eucharist. The Service of the Word incorporates biblical readings that accompany worshipers on a journey from creation to resurrection.
The Easter Vigil also incorporates biblical readings. Together, through music, prayers, dance, and readings, we will journey from creation to resurrection and offer our “alleluias.” The service invites us to keep vigil as the earth and all its people listen for the rumble of the stone rolling away from Jesus’ tomb.
The service also invites us to lean into what it means to keep vigil in contemporary times as people face stark realities and frightening uncertainties in their lives and communities. Keeping vigil as a spiritual practice cultivates attentiveness to what is happening in the world and to how God is with us in this present moment. Keeping vigil engages our natural response to the wonder and power of love, sorrow, and awe. We need and desire sleep, but the moment’s realities urge us to keep watch through the night, holding onto the promise of God’s love and hope.