I read online that in India among Orthodox Christians, the Easter Vigil actually starts in the evening after the service on Good Friday. In the Crosier household, we actually began our Easter Vigil preparations on Good Friday itself, because that is when Carl Crosier started cooking the sauce for tonight’s lasagna dinner for the choir and participants! After the Good Friday service, we stopped at the grocery store for some last-minute ingredients for the dessert, which will be lemongrass panna cotta. Since it has to refrigerate overnight, Carl had no choice but to make it last night.
In an earlier post, I told you that it was only after Carl’s 1992 sabbatical to Church of the Advent in Boston that LCH changed the time of the Easter Vigil to 7:30 pm. For many years, LCH started the service at 10:45 pm, and we didn’t finish until well after 1:00 am. Since we had to be back at church for the 8 am Easter service, for several years Carl and I took sleeping bags and “slept” in the Board Room instead of driving back to our home in Kaneohe. I say “slept” with a smile on my face, because Pastor Johnson would come in at 5 am and practice his sermon with the microphone. So we figured we would get more sleep by driving home and sleeping in our own beds, even though it would be an extremely short night!
However, even though we now live in town, and start the Vigil at 7:30 pm, it still will be a late, short night. The choir will start its rehearsal at 5:45 pm in Isenberg Hall while the participants (crucifer, thurifer, MC, torchbearers, boatbearer, bannerbearer, etc.) practice in the nave. We’ll break for dinner, then start the Service of Light in the courtyard with the Kindling of the New Fire to light the Paschal Candle.
For several years, they had trouble lighting the fire and the service would be delayed. Everyone was standing around, wondering if the fire would EVER catch! Was it wet matches or what?? I remember one year Pastor Barber made a funny comment about needing the Boy Scouts! Last year, though, Randy Castello discovered the trick of using dryer sheets in the bottom of the firebowl, and that did the job! Boy, did it ever do the job, and I thought the church might catch on fire. Carl says that when he went to Church of the Advent in Boston, they actually do the lighting of the fire right inside the back of the church, and the flames leap up HIGH! Talk about needing the fire marshals!
In reminiscing about “sleeping” in the Board Room, that was of course in the days before we had a baby. We brought our son to his first Easter Vigil when he was only 4 months old and he was asleep in an infant seat for the first half of the service. But then when it got to midnight the first bell began to toll from the courtyard and we heard WAAH — WAAAAH — WAAAAAAAAH! With each tolling bell, his cries got louder and louder! I was stuck at the organ and couldn’t do anything, and Carl was with the choir in the courtyard. Finally, Jeanne Castello picked him up and he stopped crying.
Wow, what you remember about Easter Vigils!