The Exultet

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord

Psalm 89:15 (NIV)

The “Exultet” is an ancient hymn/chant/proclamation that was composed sometime between the 5th and 7th Century AD. The name comes from its opening word in the Latin version and its purpose is to recount the saving acts of God. Historically, the Exultet was sung once a year at the beginning of the Easter Vigil Service, which began on Saturday night in darkness and ended on Easter Sunday morning in the light. It is mainly used in Western churches connected with the Catholic, Anglican or Lutheran tradition.

Below, are selected portions of the Exultet from the English text which is based on the Latin Missale Romanum [Source – Sancta Missa]:

“Rejoice, heavenly powers!

Sing choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation around God’s throne!

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, radiant in the brightness of your King!

Christ has conquered!

Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes forever!

This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,

Whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death,

And rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful Your care for us!

How boundless Your merciful love!

To ransom a slave You gave away Your Son.

This is the night truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth,

And all creation is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,

Receive our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

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