Christians celebrate Easter beginning with Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, and ending with the "Great Vigil of Easter", which is the culmination of the sacred celebration of Holy Week and the beginning of the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection.
Recently the Rev. Katie Newcomm, rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Coral Gables, shared the story of the "Great Vigil of Easter" with me. I would like to share it with you:
"The Great Vigil of Easter is the climax of the Christian Year, and unfolds in scripture, psalm, sacrament and liturgy the story of redemption. It begins in darkness and proceeds to a joyous burst of light. It begins in silence and proceeds tot he glorious proclamation of the Paschal Alleluai.
“It is the Christian Passover, for it celebrates the passing from death to life, from sin to grace. The story of the Exodus is central to the Liturgy of the Word; Baptism is the means of the full realization of redemption; Holy Communion is the promise of the glory that shall be ours with our risen Lord. The liturgy moves with austere solemnity from one part to the next, as we watch and wait for the Lord’s Resurrection. It is not to be rushed through, for time is suspended as we recount the story of creation, celebrate the glory of the New Creation in the waters of baptism, and profess our faith in the perfection of all creation in the fullness of time, in the glory of God."
Newcomm said of all the celebrations of the church year, The Great Vigil of Easter is pre-eminent.
"It alone vividly and dramatically portrays all that was, that is, and that ever shall be in the drama of our redemption. This event, this day, is what our faith is all about," she said.
Newcomm invites the community to attend Easter services starting at 10 a.m. Saturday with Flowering of the Cross, Easter Egg Hunt and Craft in the main sanctuary. The Great Vigil of Easter with baptisms will be in the main sanctuary at 7 p.m. Saturday. A traditional Easter Sunday service will be at 8 a.m. followed at 9 a.m. by a contemporary service and a traditional service at 10:30 a.m. The church is at 5690 N. Kendall Dr. in Coral Gables.
Maundy Thursday in South Dade
The four United Methodist churches of Homestead, Florida City and Redland will celebrate Maundy Thursday in a combined service at 6:30 p.m. today at First UMC of Homestead, 622 N. Krome Ave.
On Good Friday, the Sixth Annual "Walk the Cross," will begin at 11:30 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 145 NE 10th St. The processional will proceed to First UMC of Homestead, where a short outdoor service will follow. Those who are unable to walk the five blocks are invited to proceed to the church and wait for the walkers. The "Walk" commemorates Jesus’ last steps as He went to the cross. Prior to the walk, the Kiwanis Club of Homestead will sponsor a Good Friday community prayer breakfast at 7 a.m. at Harris Field.
On Easter Sunday, a combined Sunrise Service will be at 7 a.m.,. on the lawn of Silver Palm UMC, with the Redland Community UMC, followed by a complimentary pancake breakfast to be served by the United Methodist Men of silver Palm. The breakfast will be followed at 10:30 with an Easter worship service.
At 9 a.m. a worship service will be at Redland Community UMC, 18700 SW 248th St. At 9:30 a.m. a worship service will be at First UMC of Homestead, and at 11 a.m., a bilingual worship will be at Branches UMC, 145 SW Fifth Ave. in Florida City. Everyone is welcome to every service and every activity. For more information call Bob Jensen at 305-248-0976.