New Fire, New Light
And yes, because Easter is late this year, the night is not yet dark when the first light of Easter is lit with a bonfire in the church grounds; the last birdsong is still weaving its own music in the trees. The Paschal Candle flickers in the breeze, but is not extinguished. The Light of Christ is proclaimed thrice - at the church door, in the nave, at the crossing. The candle-light spreads through the dark church.
And it is now, by candle-light, that the Exultet is sung. It's possibly the highlight of the liturgical year for me, because I'm still able to sing it - always a concern once you reach a certain age! This year I'm not alone - our curate was singing a brief section near the beginning - but it is still a good 11 minutes of plainsong.
As always, the words took over, banishing any self-awareness to a small corner of my mind. And then it's over, and the organ crashes into life as the lights come on, shatteringly.
Christ is risen: He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia.