Holy Saturday. The people will arrive tonight at sundown, experience the lighting of the new fire, the proclamation of the Exsultet, the Vigil readings in the dark, the lighting of the altar and revelation of the beauty of the flower-decked altar and sanctuary... and this morning, small, dedicated groups of art and environment ministers and volunteers will put all those pieces in place so that the great liturgy can happen.
26 years ago, I came into Full Communion with the Catholic Church - and for 25 years, have participated, and even sometimes directed, the preparing of the liturgical space for the Easter Vigil. The tasks are many - ironing and placing a new altar cloth, placing the flowers in the sanctuary, font and vestibule - preparing the congregational taper candles for distribution at the door, preparing and decorating the candlestick for the Easter Candle - and for some, the preparation of the materials for the Easter fire.
This year we have no adult baptisms, for the first time in memory, but normally, preparation of the font, placement of towels and preparing the dressing rooms also is a part of the task list. We will miss having a baptism, but even that cannot dampen my spirits.
Always, on this particular morning, I find myself gripped by a sense of excited anticipation....In a short while I will leave for my parish church to be part of these important preparations. We prepare the space for the people - and for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who will reveal himself in the light of the new fire as the sun sets tonight.