Christians & Coronavirus:
Staying Connected in Christ
APRIL 14, 2020
"31 EASTER VIGILS & COUNTING"
31 EASTER VIGILS & COUNTING:
A DEACON'S REFLECTION
This past weekend we celebrated the Easter vigil, the holiest night of our liturgical year, here in our beloved Saint Andrew Church. But it certainly was not the typical celebrations that I and many others have experienced in years past. The Easter candle was not carried through a dark church while smaller candles were lit from the Easter
flame. The church did not glow with people holding their lit candles nor glow with Easter joy shining from their faces. Our 2 priests, 2 seminarians and your humble deacon entered this celebration with reverence knowing the celebration of the risen Christ is and will always be part of our communal prayer, even under this year’s extraordinary circumstances. But I really, really missed seeing our Saint Andrew family!
The following day I reflected on the experience and the many Easter vigils I've participated in over the years. I realized this past weekend was my 31st Easter vigil! For 31 years I have been involved in this sacred night, a very holy night in the church I love so dearly.
For 16 of the 31 years I have had the high honor as your deacon to sing the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet). This chant has been sung in varied forms for many centuries. This past weekend while chanting this ancient text, I looked out several times longing to see faces of unbaptized people anxiously waiting for their immersion in the baptismal waters, and wanting to see those coming from other Christian traditions waiting to be received into the Catholic Church, but the pews were empty. As I continued chanting the words I’ve sung so many times before, at one point I paused, felt choked up a bit and wanted to cry.
When journaling my thoughts of this experience I wrote, “Why so melancholy? We will gather as family again soon!” At that point my pen wrote the words, “because we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song! We will sing together again soon.”
I certainly missed hearing the organ and the choir, seeing the faces of people and the sweet anticipation of those in the RCIA becoming Catholic.
Now as I write this reflection I feel some consolation in knowing that as an Easter people nothing has the power to separate us from the love of Christ and of one another. We will physically be together again soon as an Easter people, the Saint Andrew family.
So until then, we can hold onto the sacred truth that Jesus Christ is risen. And together we will again sing, “ALLELUIA!”
Your Friend and Servant in Christ,
Deacon Tim Schutte