After each Lesson, the Psalm or Canticle listed, or some other suitable psalm, canticle, or hymn may be sung. A period of silence may be kept; and the Collect provided, or some other suitable Collect, may be said.When I was a member of the worship commission at my church, I always argued for more, rather than fewer readings, ideally, for all nine of them. In fact, I think we never included more than four. The service is long in any case, and each additional reading would seem to add an additional psalm, canticle, or hymn, in addition to a collect and period of silence. The length of the service expands quickly as scripture readings are multiplied.
At a minimum, a period of silence and a collect seem essential. Some music, as well, enriches the service, but adding, say, a hymn after each reading, is very time-consuming and, possibly, even mood-shattering. It would be nice to have the option of adding music that covers necessary movement, acts as a reflection on the reading, and contributes only a little to the overall length of the service.
The nine readings carry the following titles:
- The story of Creation
- The Flood
- Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac
- Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea
- God’s Presence in a renewed Israel
- Salvation offered freely to all
- A new heart and a new spirit
- The valley of dry bones
- The gathering of God’s people
So, here is my challenge to organist/composers: Compose a suite of nine brief interludes for the Easter Vigil, each of which is inspired by and constitutes a meditation on one of the nine readings. As far as I know, no one has ever done this. Such a suite would encourage churches to include more readings in their Vigils, as the musical interludes would not contribute over much to the length of the service.