VIGIL: Holy Saturday: Today we remember Jesus as he was buried in the tomb and left for dead. Little did the disciples know that while they wept in despair, the Lord Jesus was plundering hell and preparing to rise triumphantly on Resurrection morning. The Old Testament readings continue to build towards the Exodus and the Crossing of the Sea, which is itself a type of the death and resurrection of Christ. It is common for Christians to hold vigil on this night, meditating on the crucifixion narrative and seeking God in prayer well into the night.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
A psalm of David.
Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.
I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!
I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Command the Israelites to start moving. Raise your walking stick and hold it over the sea so that the sea will split and the people can cross it on dry land. I will make the Egyptians stubborn so they will chase the Israelites, but I will be honored when I defeat the king and all of his chariot drivers and chariots. When I defeat the king, his chariot drivers, and chariots, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
Now the angel of God that usually traveled in front of Israel’s army moved behind them. Also, the pillar of cloud moved from in front of the people and stood behind them. So the cloud came between the Egyptians and the Israelites. This made it dark for the Egyptians but gave light to the Israelites. So the cloud kept the two armies apart all night.
Then Moses held his hand over the sea. All that night the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind, making the sea become dry ground. The water was split, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry land, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
Then all the king’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers followed them into the sea. When morning came, the Lord looked down from the pillar of cloud and fire at the Egyptian army and made them panic. He kept the wheels of the chariots from turning, making it hard to drive the chariots. The Egyptians shouted, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them and against Egypt.”
Then the Lord told Moses, “Hold your hand over the sea so that the water will come back over the Egyptians, their chariots, and chariot drivers.” So Moses raised his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its place. The Egyptians tried to run from it, but the Lord swept them away into the sea. The water returned, covering the chariots, chariot drivers, and all the king’s army that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites crossed the sea on dry land, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. So that day the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians, and the Israelites saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore. When the Israelites saw the great power the Lord had used against the Egyptians, they feared the Lord, and they trusted him and his servant Moses.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.