Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen in deed Alleluia!
The Easter vigil began just as dusk was falling. It was a “bring your own candle (and holder)” event. Most of us had fashioned candle holders out of cut-off plastic bottles filled with sand. It was wonderful to watch the light of the pascal candle grow as it spread from person to person, until the whole cathedral, full of people, was glowing.
The joy grew as the service continued. The candles burned on, even when the lights were turned back on. The joy finally burst forth on the final hymn “I’m so glad that Jesus set me free.” It was as though a dance-party broke out. No one wanted to stop singing, there was dancing in the pews and dancing in the aisles, and people danced out of the church with their candles, still singing and shouting and dancing even as they gathered on the cathedral grounds. I stayed to dance with the choir, and when the chorus finally ended, people outside were still dancing and shouting and greeting one another.
From the steps of the Cathedral I could see the crowds of people with their candles still burning walking out into the dark streets of Juba, carrying the light of the risen Christ!
The joy of Easter is more than palpable. The joy of Easter changes everything, and it cannot be contained!