The Exsultet, Ancient Hymn in Praise of the Light of Christ, 1998 Sacramentary

The minister begins:

Exult and sing, O shining angel choirs! /  Exult and dance, bright stars and blazing suns!

The firstborn of creation, Jesus Christ, /  is ris’n in radiant splendor from the dead!

 

Rejoice, O awesome night of our rebirth! /  Rejoice, O mother moon, that marks the months!

For from your fullness comes, at last, the Day /  when sin is robbed of pow’r and death is slain!

 

Awaken, earth!  Awaken, air and fire! /  O children born of clay and water, come!

The One who made you rises like the sun / to scatter night and wipe your tears away.

 

Arise then, sleepers, Christ enlightens you! /  Arise from doubt and sadness, sin and death.

With joyful hearts and spirits set afire /  draw near to sing this Easter candle’s praise!

 

Minister who is a deacon or priest:  The Lord be with you.

The people answer:  And also with you.

Minister:  Lift up your hearts.

People:  We lift them up to the Lord.

Minister:  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People:  It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

Minister:  We praise you, God, for all your works of light!

We bless you for that burst of fire and flame / through which you created all that is:

a living universe of soaring stars, / of space and spinning planets, surging seas

that cradle earth and rock against her breast.

 

The people take up the acclamation: We praise you, God of everlasting light!

 

Minister:  We praise you for light’s beauty, motion, speed: /

for eastern light that paints the morning sky;

for western light that slants upon our doors, / inviting us to praise you ev’ry night.

 

The people take up the acclamation: We praise you, God of everlasting light!

 

Minister:  We bless you for the light invisible: / the fire of faith, the Spirit’s grace and truth,

the light that bonds the atom, stirs the heart, / and shines for ever on the face of Christ.

 

The people take up the acclamation: We praise you, God of everlasting light!

 

Minister:  Creator, in the joy of Easter eve, / accept our offering of this candle’s light:

may all who see its glow and feel its warmth / be led to know your nature and your Name.

 

The people take up the acclamation: We praise you, God of everlasting light!

 

Minister:  For, Father, it was your own light and love / that led your people Israel dry-shod

through foaming seas and brought them safe at last / to lands of milk and honey.  In your love

you led them as a shining cloud by day / and as a flaming shaft of fire by night.

 

This is the night, most blessed of all nights, / when first you rescued people from the sea:

a sign of that new birth which was to come / in blood and water flowing from Christ’s side!

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  This is the night, most blessed of all nights, / when your creating Spirit stirred again

to turn back chaos and renew the world, / redeeming it from hatred, sin and strife!

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  This is the night, most blessed of all nights,

when all the powers of heaven and earth were wed

and every hungry human heart was fed / by Christ our Lamb’s own precious flesh and blood!

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  O night, more holy than all other nights, / your watchful eyes beheld, in wondrous awe

the triumph of our Savior over sin / the rising of the Deathless One from death!

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  O night that gave us back what we had lost!

O night that made our sin a happy fault!

beyond our deepest dreams this night, O God, / your hand reached out to raise us up in Christ.

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  O night of endless wonder, night of bliss, / when every living creature held its breath

as Christ robbed death and harrowed hopeless hell, / restoring life to all those in the tomb!

 

The people take up the acclamation: Now is Christ risen!  We are raised with him!

 

Minister:  And so, our God, Creator of all life, /  with open hearts and hands we come to you:

anointed with the Spirit’s pow’r, we bear / these precious, glowing gifts of fire and flame.

 

We pray that when our night of watching ends, /  the Morning Star who dawns and never sets,

our Savior Jesus Christ, may find us all / united in one faith, one hope, one Lord.

 

For you, O Lord, are God, living and true: /  all glory, praise and pow’r belong to you

with Jesus Christ, the One who conquered death / and with the Spirit blest for evermore.

 

The people answer:  Amen!