Exsultet

“This is the night:”

Night of contradiction,

Of Darkness and light.

Silence and song.

Sorrow and joy.

Death and life.

Time and eternity—

Night of transformation

Through contradiction;

eternity rupturing

time.

Time loosing

what meaning it has,

For one night,

overcome.

“In the beginning…”

God’s first Fiat,

sounds in our ears tonight.

The first action

of a Word eternally acting

“This is the night:”

When God says “Let it be”

and it is.

The first light is, tonight, “one flame,

divided, and not dimmed.”

The same, not like:

the light of the world

that is held, this night,

in our hands

the same that first shone forth

from the lips of God,

at a command.

“God put Abraham to the test…”

Abraham’s assurance of blessing

for all nations

Tonight is given before us,

and in us fulfilled.

“This is the night:”

When self-sacrificial love

In arms and hands

And head and heart

Of father

and only begotten son

Finds worthy instrument for divine offering.

The same, not like:

The sacrifice of earthly father

Lived out before us

the fulfillment, in us,

On new altar of wood,

With new Lamb in thorns entangled.

“The Lord said to Moses…”

And feet walk through water

on dry land

Dust to dust returning.

We are walking into new creation.

“This is the night:”

When Israel,

When we

Cross the red sea

And find salvation

When enemies stumble and fall.

The same, not like:

salvation through waters.

The figure

in red seas

And fulfillment

in baptismal flowing.

“Thus says the Lord… Hear, O Israel…

The Word of the Lord came to me…

The One who has become your husband…”

Cry of prophets

In persecution.

Today, from exile proclaiming

New Kingdom and Temple.

“This is the night:”

When Son of David and

Son of Man

High King

And Priest forever

Is foretold and comes among us.

The same, not like:

Real temple and real kingdom

Real peace and

Universal blessing

proclaimed this night by prophets

and fulfilled.

“Brothers and sisters, are you unaware?”

The Lord’s Passover

The same blood

on all hearts and doors

consecrated tonight.

“This is the night:”

When Providence passes over

those so marked

Because of innocent spilling

of red blood from fleecy whiteness.

The same, not like:

The Lamb dying to save,

us, here, and Israel

on new lintel of crossbeams

The Old and the New,

the fleshly, and the divine

on this night,

at one time.

“When the Sabbath was over… he is going before you… there you will see him.”

And now, today

No end but

Second beginning,

Future made present along with past.

“This is the night:”

When the wedding feast of the Lamb

Has begun.

And we, His Body, foretaste

Eternal glory

and the result

of resurrection.

The same, not like:

Past, present, future

For these few precious hours,

One.

The past half-redemptions,

The present all-salvation

And future complete fulfillment

Meet, in us:

On this night.

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