Monday, April 4, 2016

To Tell the Old, Old Story

I love to tell the story, 'twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

On the night of April 2nd, two friends and I held Easter vigil at school, starting at sunset and going a bit past sunrise on Easter morning. We were all exhausted by the end of Easter, but holding vigil was undoubtedly worth it. That's a night I'll remember for a long time -- more than eleven and a half hours of prayer, reading, singing, and discussion together. More than eleven and a half hours of telling the story.

Because that's what Easter vigil is about. It's about the story, the story that begins with the creation of the world, the story that tells of God delivering God's people time and time again, despite creation's seemingly constant apostasy. The story that leads to an empty tomb and Jesus, God incarnate, risen from the dead.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.

We held a love feast as well, after all the Easter vigil readings except the gospel lesson. The love feast was a natural fit; it's also a service of reading, singing, and testimony, oriented around the breaking of bread. So after reading about God's salvation through history, we read about love and service and bread. We sang love as we had sung salvation. It seemed right, right to tell the story and then to explore why. Why God creates. Why God pursues, saves, over and over.

And then we were an hour and a half away from dawn. So we renewed our baptismal vows together, prayed and sang a litany of saints, and then reached what we had awaited all night: the reading from Luke, the story of the women and Peter finding an empty tomb, the story of "Why do you look for the living among the dead?"

He is not here, but has risen.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song
'Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.