The Easter proclamation is an ancient song of the church, traditionally sung on the great Vigil of Easter. We decided to forego a formal Easter Vigil service at my congregation this year, but the singing of the proclamation is one of my favorite moments in the entire church year, so I decided to sing it and share it with you all from my back yard. As I sang, I was accompanied by lots of chattering birds, accelerating vehicles, and the strains of a neighbor’s lively ranchera music — a lovely reminder that all creation together celebrates the great good news that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Watch the video and read the text of the proclamation below. (Or click here to watch the video on Facebook.)
Rejoice, now, all heav'nly pow'rs! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God's throne! Jesus Christ is risen! Celebrate the divine mysteries with exultation; and for so great a victory, sound the trumpet of salvation. Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your king! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever. Rejoice, O 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. The Lord be with you. (And also with you.) Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. (It is right to give our thanks and praise.) It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that with full devotion of heart and mind and voice we should praise the invisible God, and the only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; who, by his precious blood, redeemed us from bondage to the ancient sin. For this indeed is the Paschal Feast in which the true Lamb is slain, by whose blood the doorposts of the faithful are made holy. This is the night (This is the night) in which, in ancient times, you delivered our forebears, the children of Israel, and led them, dryshod, through the sea. This is the night (This is the night) in which the darkness of sin has been purged away by the rising brightness. This is the night (This is the night) in which all who believe in Christ are rescued from evil and the gloom of sin, are renewed in grace, and are restored to holiness. This is the night (This is the night) in which, breaking the chains of death, Christ arises from hell in triumph. O night truly blessed which alone was worthy to know the time and the hour in which Christ arose again from hell! This is the night (This is the night) of which it is written: "The night is as clear as the day," and, "then shall my night be turned into day." The holiness of this night puts to flight the deeds of wickedness; washes away sin; restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn; casts out hate; brings peace; and humbles earthly pride. Therefore, in this night of grace, receive, O God, our praise and thanksgiving for the light of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, reflected in the burning of this candle. We sing the glories of this pillar of fire, the brightness of which is not diminished even when its light is divided and borrowed. For it is fed by the melting wax which the bees, your servants, have made for the substance of this candle. This is the night (This is the night) in which heaven and earth are joined -- things human and things divine. We therefore pray to you, O God, that this candle, burning to the honor of your name, will continue to vanquish the darkness of night and be mingled with the lights of heaven. May Christ the Morning Star find it burning, that Morning Star who never sets, that Morning Star who, rising from the grave, faithfully sheds light on the whole human race. And we pray, O God, rule, govern, and preserve with your continual protection your whole church, giving us peace in this time of our paschal rejoicing; through the same Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.