Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed! 

A Prayer for Easter Sunday Morning

As we whoop and holler and celebrate the end of our journey together in Lent 2012, we will greet this magnificent morning with the beautiful words of a very special and ancient prayer called the Exsultet.  It was the prayer offered  by the lowest member of the clergy, in the early church, the deacon, and it was prayed when the Christ candle was re-lit following its extinguishing on Good Friday.  Its origins can be traced to the lamp lighting in the synagogue and you can hear the echoes of our Jewish heritage in its language.  That synagogue prayer was adapted by the early church for special times of celebration, most particularly for the annual celebration of the resurrection.  On Saturday night, Christians would gather outside their places of worship to observe the Easter Vigil – that time of waiting for the hour of Christ’s rising from the dead.  Then, in the very early morning, as they lit the Easter fire, the Christ candle was re-lit and the deacon would lead the congregation in this prayer as they re-entered their sanctuaries.  As the people followed the candle, they would chant: 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

Let us pray:

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! 
Exult, all creation around God’s throne! 
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! 
Sound the trumpet of salvation! 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

Rejoice, 0 earth, in shining splendor, 
radiant in the brightness of our King! 
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! 
Darkness vanishes forever! 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

Rejoice, 0 holy Church! Exult in glory! 
The risen Savior shines upon you! 
Let this place resound with joy, 
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people
“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

It is truly right that we should praise you, 
invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. 
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, 
and paid the debt of Adam’s sin to deliver your faithful people. 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

This our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain.  This the night when first you saved our forebears, 
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery 
and led them with dry feet through the sea. 
This the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin! 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

This the night when Christians everywhere, 
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, 
are  restored to grace and grow together in holiness. 
This the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death

and rose triumphant from the grave. 
Truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth, we are reconciled to you! 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 

May this Easter candle mingle with the lights of heaven, 
and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of the night! 
May the Morning Star, which never sets, find this flame still burning. 
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, 
and shed his peaceful light on all creation, Your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. 

“Christ our light! Thanks be to God!” 


A blessed Easter Celebration to you all, 
dear friends. 
Thanks for taking this journey with me, 
for your words of encouragement 
all along the way. 
I pray that we have, by the grace of God, helped each other to ‘grow together in holiness,’ as this ancient prayer so beautifully puts it.
Now may we move through Eastertide 
to Pentecost,
and then out into Ordinary Time 
remembering that we are 
Thanks be to God on high for our salvation, 
for our hope, 
for our life!

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  1. I got to hear the Exsultet last night. Very moving.

    And our flowers, like yours, are beautiful. We rode the Willow City Loop this weekend, and my soul has been starved for wildflowers after the drought.

    Happy Easter, Diana.

  2. Dtrautwein says

     Megan, I think you may have been my most faithful traveling companion this year. Thanks so much. And I’m so glad you got to hear this magnificent prayer in something closer to its historical expression – as part of an Easter vigil service. And wildflowers! Talk about grace and resurrection glory! One of my favorites. Hope your day has been blessed and restful.

  3. Oh those are gorgeous. And I love that you are calling this Easter ~ Day 1.

    Since I wasn’t home, I wish I’d been able to participate in–or at least observe–the masses my sister was coordinating. They sounded so meaningful.

  4. Dtrautwein says

     I’m so glad you got home for Easter, Sandy – even if it was a tough day in some ways. And this is Easter season – Eastertide, officially – until the Day of Pentecost when it switches to season of Pentecost, or my favorite name of all – Ordinary Time. Cause that’s where we live, right? In ordinary time…