Jesus in the tomb

Social Distance Worship at Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil), April 11, 2020 | Matthew 27:62-28:15


What Is Holy Saturday?

In the Easter story there are two characters that often go overlooked, and they are the Roman soldiers that kept watch over Jesus’ tomb. On Holy Saturday the Church reenacts these soldiers’ watch through a special evening service called, “Easter Vigil”. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot have a public Holy Saturday service; therefore, we have made an Easter Vigil liturgy that you can follow at home. You can find the liturgy on this page, and the only thing that you need is a candle to light during the service.

Many thanks to Claire Pasquier and to Ptr. Dr. Brien Aadland of The Sacred Collective for providing the music and homily for this year’s Easter Vigil.


I. Opening

Christ Candle

Light the candle and let it burn throughout the service.

Prayer of Light

O Redeeming God and Source of light, bless this new fire that it might warm Your people as we wait within this silent time. The time where Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is truly dead. The time where life is strange and everything seems upside down. The time of questioning our faith and hope and Your great love. And the time of wondering if life will have the final word. Lord, as we keep watch, like the Roman soldiers at Jesus’ tomb, grant to us Your perfect peace that we might stand and not lose heart. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Song of Light (Dona Nobis Pacem)

(Listen in silent meditation or sing along)

Dona nobis pacem, pacem.
Dona nobis pacem.

*Translation: Grant us peace.


II. Ministry of the Word

First Reading (Matthew 27:62-66)

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

First Lament

As you listen to the music, read and reflect on the Psalm that is below.

Psalm 16

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Second Reading (Matthew 28:1-10)

The Resurrection

1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Second Lament

As you listen to the music, read and reflect on the Psalm that is below.

Psalm 13

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Third Reading (Matthew 28:11-15)

The Report of the Guard

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

Reflective Homily

Preacher: Ptr. Dr. Brien J. Aadland

Title: God Is Dead (Lamenting at the Tomb)

Third Lament

As you listen to the music, read and reflect on the Psalm that is below.

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.


III. Renewal of Faith and Baptism

Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended to the dead;
On the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And He is seated at the right hand of the Father;
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen.

Baptismal Covenant

I commit myself, with God’s help, to the humble way of the early Church.
To the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship with other believers.
To the breaking of bread and offering prayers for and with others.
To forgiving all people as I have been forgiven.
To the love of neighbor as I love myself.
To striving for peace and justice.
To accept the costs of following Jesus in daily life and work.
To renounce the works of evil within myself and within the world.
And to proclaim with the whole Church, by word and deed, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Amen.


IV. Ministry of Thanksgiving

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Lord God, on the Sabbath, Jesus rested. He was in the grave. He had finished his work. To most people’s eyes it looked as if it was all over, for He was dead and buried, but only as a seed dies when it is planted in the earth to spring up and grow in the newness of life. Teach all Your people to take refuge in You when we are afraid. Teach us that death is not the final word, and teach us to always hope in You, the resurrection, and the making of all things new through Your Son Who gave His life. Lord, thank You for this Vigil that we have kept, and thank You that we are not asleep but awake to see the Savior rise. To You be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, Who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


V. Closing

Song of Light (Dona Nobis Pacem)

(Listen in silent meditation or sing along)

Dona nobis pacem, pacem.
Dona nobis pacem.

*Translation: Grant us peace.

Christ Candle

Put out the candle.

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The concept of this service is © All Souls.