Easter Vigil for five senses

The Easter Vigil service, celebrated by many liturgical churches, is a richly sensory service. It marks the night when Christ rose from the dead, the turning point when the sorrow of Good Friday gives way to the glory of Easter morning. 

This poem takes inspiration from Marie J. Post’s poem “Easter for five senses,” in Luci Shaw’s gorgeous anthology, “A Widening Light.”


Smell the incense mingled with ascending prayer
No stench of death assaults our noses here
But lilies pour forth fragrance in the dark
While, sharp and tangy, smoke from new flame rises
Sweetening the wine for celebration.

Feel the Paschal flame caress your cheek
And spread to warm your fellow worshippers
Whose candles swell into a flickering sea
Feel the flick of cleansing holy water
And take the body-bread into your hands.

Taste the luxury of blood-red wine
And let it soak into your thirsty soul
O taste and see the goodness of the Lord
Offered in this feast of victory
Where reconciled foes break bread as friends.

Hear the solemn chant become a song
The bells and trumpet fanfare breaking out
To gather all creation in one voice
Of joy resounding for the risen Lord
With long-omitted Alleluias!–shout!

See the empty tomb awash with light
As Christ, the Morning Star, sends forth his rays
And sweeps away the dark of death and sin.
Watch for the King soon coming once again
To raise the dead to resurrection life.

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