by Kate Payton
The Easter Vigil service is all about remembering and reliving our story of salvation. Usually we do this within the confines of a sanctuary. But last year, the multi-site church I serve in Northwest Washington, DC, partnered with other churches to conduct an Easter Vigil in multiple locations. We came together to proclaim a story our whole city desperately needs.
The betrayal, abandonment, violence, and death that Christ experienced on Good Friday are present-day realities for too many people in our midst.Given the racial and socio-economic geography of DC, some of our group members found themselves in parts of the city they had never been to before. If we are to pray and work for new life for all of God’s people, we must know first-hand the Good Fridays they experience.
So our Easter Vigil service was designed to lead us through places of need in our city, places we usually avoid or don’t even know about. The service explored the themes of creation, liberation, abundance, hope, and baptism, each in a specific location where death and the hope of resurrection are tangibly present.
- Creation. We started at our community food garden — standing barefoot in the dirt — to remember God’s creating work.
- Liberation. We went to a church located on a known prostitution track of our city. Standing in a parking lot littered with condoms, we read the Exodus story. One of their pastors spoke of the realities of sex and human trafficking. We prayed for all of these who are enslaved.