Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Vigil

The Vigil went well last night. We had 15 people, which was more than I was expecting. The lighting of the new fire mostly worked. But the first time I struck the fire steel I was blinded by the bright sparks, so I was aiming blind at the cotton ball I had soaked in lighter fluid. After a few more fruitless sparks, I asked Betsy to hold a flashlight so I could see without night vision and that did the trick: it caught on the next strike.

It turns out that a single cotton ball soaked in lighter fluid is plenty of fuel to see the altar book and the pascal candle. In fact, doing this ritual blessing of the pascal candle--scratching the cross, alpha, omega, and the numerals of the year--by flickering firelight was intense.

I thought my Exultet was pretty decent, especially once I settled into it. Funny how much more difficult these things are in actual performance vs. practice!

There are a few small modifications I would make for next year--but all in all it was well-worth doing this liturgy.



mcpope said...

Tay, it occured to me that cotton soaked in an accelerant + spark from flint/firesteel = Zippo lighter: tradition in a simple and reliable package.

Tay Moss said...

True. And I do love Zippos--I used to carry one around with me and even could open and light it in one fast motion that looked like I had just snapped my fingers. Alas... it doesn't have the drama of my method. There were those tense moments of "will it work?" that add to the relief when the fire starts!