The Journey of Holy Week – HOLY SATURDAY

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On this day the Church continues to mourn the death and burial of Christ and to commemorate the mystery. In this holy time of rest and waiting, the Eucharist is not celebrated nor is Communion received. Saturday is our day of spiritual preparation, pointing the way to a new focus. In the Eastern Christian tradition, this is the time for gathering and blessing of the Easter foods to be shared with friends and family at the Easter feast.

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER

At the heart of the Christian faith stands the Risen Lord, without whom, St. Paul declares, our faith is in vain. And at the heart of Christian worship of the Risen Lord, since the earliest centuries of the Church, is the Great Vigil of Easter. There is nothing more central to our life as members of Christ’s Body, the Church, than this service. It links us across time and space to our earliest brothers and sisters in Christ.

This ancient service, with its roots in the first century, combines diverse elements. The first is the elemental symbol of the New Fire, from which the Paschal (Passover) Candle, symbolizing Christ as the Light of the world, is lit through the darkness. As through the wilderness the people of Israel were guided by a pillar of fire by night, so the Paschal Candle leads us through the dark church building, and from it we light our vigil candles. The Exultet, our song of rejoicing in “this holy night” and remembering the central events of the history of God’s people, is sung to awaken our hearts. The Lessons are reminiscent of the ancient Jewish Passover Vigil, commemorating the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery, foreshadowing our own liberation through the passing from death to life in Christ Jesus. God’s mighty acts to save his people throughout human history are recounted, and we respond with songs of praise. In the ancient Church the baptismal initiation of candidates at the Great Vigil came at the end of a rigorous training period, intensifying during Lent.

We then extinguish the candles and wait in the darkness, symbolically joining Christ in the tomb and marking the death of the church year. We hear a deep pounding on the door of the sanctuary – Christ calling us to welcome him into our hearts and new life in Christ! A torch bears the new light for the renewed year in the church, the altar candles and sanctuary lights are lit. We joyfully “make a loud noise” with hand bells, sleigh bells, keys, whatever you have that makes a joyful sound as the glad proclamation is raised “Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast! Alleluia!” We celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter, from which our gathering around the altar of grace each Sunday is derived.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of silence until … until … ALLELUIA returns and Resurrection happens! On Holy Saturday, join us at 10:00 a.m. for prayer & preparations for the Easter celebration with the Flower Guild & Altar Guild – many hands make work light & joyful! The Great Vigil of Easter, the FIRST celebration of the Easter feast will begin at 7:00 p.m. Come and see!

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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The Collect for Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Collect for the Great Vigil of Easter

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Journey of Holy Week – GOOD FRIDAY

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“In all things God works for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] Only in this sense can this day be called “good.” We walk with Christ to Calvary and his crucifixion, reflecting on the extent of God’s love for us. In the evening, the Liturgy Guild leads us in prayerful remembrance of the Good Friday events through The Stations of the Cross. As a sign of mourning, and in accordance with earliest tradition, there is no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death as we pray the Good Friday Solemn Collects with Sermon at 12 noon, and walk the Way of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

 

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

 

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The Collect for Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week and Easter 2016 Schedule – UPDATE

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Sunday, March 20: Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

8:00 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist I

10:30 a.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Holy Eucharist II

5:30 p.m.      Liturgy of the Palms, Reading of the Passion, Inclusive Language Liturgy & Holy Eucharist

 

Monday, March 21 through Thursday, March 24

Evening Prayer at 5:15 p.m.

 

Maundy Thursday, March 24

6:00 p.m.      Soup and Bread Supper in the Great Hall (CANCELLED)

7:30 p.m.      Maundy Thursday Liturgy, Foot Washing, Holy Eucharist II and Stripping of the Altar, followed by Nightwatch hours in prayer at the Altar of Repose

10:00 p.m.      10:00 p.m. Compline

 

Good Friday, March 25

8:00 a.m.      Morning Prayer

12:00 noon      Good Friday Liturgy with Sermon and Solemn Collects

7:00 p.m.      The Way of the Cross – Praying the Stations of the Cross

 

Holy Saturday, March 26

7:00 p.m.      The Great Vigil of Easter – Festal Celebration of Holy Eucharist with incense

 

Easter Day, March 27

8:00 a.m.      Holy Eucharist

10:30 a.m.      Festal Holy Eucharist with Choir

5:30 p.m.      NO SERVICE on Easter Day

The Journey of Holy Week – MAUNDY THURSDAY

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On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The Epistle reading for this service gives St. Paul’s account of the institution of the Eucharist. We experience the Gospel account of Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet, acting out his own call and of those who would follow him, “not to be served, but to serve.” He gave a new commandment to all: “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Maundy” is the old English word derived from the Latin phrase mandatum novum, meaning “new covenant.” The Eucharist is about our table fellowship – God present with us, and we present to each other. Following the Eucharist, the sanctuary is stripped of all ornaments and furnishings, symbolically expressing Jesus’ utter abandonment by all. We are invited to stay with Jesus “for just one hour” through the night watch vigil until noon on Good Friday.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this night at 7:30 p.m. in worship, service, and abandonment of Jesus with Footwashing, Eucharist, and stripping of the church into barren darkness.

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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The Collect for Maundy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

You’re invited! Help decorate St.Thomas’s for Easter

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Dear Church Family,
Please support the Flower Guild on Saturday, March 26 at 10am and help decorate our church for the joyous celebration of Easter.If you can wrap foil around a flower pot, sweep, lend a hand, or lift a watercan, we would love to spend a couple of hours with you. We should be able to finish by noon or so and of course, the more, the merrier! 
No need to RSVP, simple show up at 10am and thank you in advance!
The Flower Guild

Our Journey in Holy Week: Monday through Wednesday

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MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

These are days to read and reflect upon the Scriptures appointed which are listed on page 892 in the Book of Common Prayer, or online at http://www.lectionarypage.net/. The Collects or prayers for Monday through Wednesday are included below. Consider the way Jesus took to the cross, and what it means for us to follow him in that way. Each evening at 5:15 p.m., the Daily Office of Evening Prayer is read in the Sanctuary, which is done every Monday through Friday throughout the year.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

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Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Easter Day Coffee Hour

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Dear St. Thomas Family,

We have a few people who have generously offered to bring food for the Easter Day coffee hour after the 10:30 service, but we are still in need of a couple of hosts or a family to host coffee hour. Again, it looks like we will have food, so the host(s) simply need to be able to help set up and clean up afterwards (although you are welcome to bring food also if you would like) . The Easter egg hunt will start shortly after the service ends, so many of the children and parents will likely be occupied with that, therefore clean up may be light.

If you are able and willing to host, please let me know.

The coffee hour hosting schedule through May is now posted on the clipboard at the entrance to the kitchen and on the beverage table each Sunday during coffee hour . Please consider hosting at least one Sunday when your schedule permits. It is a great way to help support our hospitality ministry and get to know your fellow parishioners. If you have not ever hosted, I will be happy to help you learn the ropes.

Peace,
Keith Fleming
kbffromsd@aol.com

Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

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“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

My journey of Lent this year, seeking to “lengthen” my faith by cleaning yet again this littered soul home, I have walked our stations in The Way of the Cross many times. Following the process and progression, fourteen places taking me deeper and deeper into the agony of Christ, yet higher into the redeeming love that loves us even to death. When finished, I always was drawn to return to the First Station. In that ritual movement, that still holds part in our life to this day, Pontius Pilate ritually washes away responsibility for this whole sordid, unjust moment of time. Today, we still wash our hands of the whole mess when we feel we can no longer deal with a situation, and perhaps simply do not want to any longer.

See Father Paul’s Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday in its entirety.

The Journey of Holy Week

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The services of Holy Week are individual parts of a single great service in which we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This foundational event of the Christian faith is the Paschal Mystery. Just as the ancient Passover (Pesach in Hebrew, Pasch in Latin) commemorates the deliverance from slavery and the Covenant established between God and the chosen people of Israel, the Passover of God’s New Covenant celebrates the deliverance of all humankind from the power of sin and death, into the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Early in our Christian history, the liturgical observance known as the Triduum (Trih-duh-oom, Latin for “three days”), comprising the arrest, trial, execution and burial of Jesus, and his resurrection “on the third day,” came to being. The services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter, together with Palm Sunday, focus on aspects of the Paschal Mystery. None of the services is complete in itself. It is only by entering fully into the commemoration of the Paschal Mystery through the experience of Holy Week worship that its meaning can be truly understood and richly experienced.

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THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION: PALM SUNDAY

Our walk with Christ begins with a festive Procession of Palms recalling his walk from Bethany into Jerusalem. This is not a historic re-creation of an event long past; we are disciples proclaiming Jesus’ saving presence today. When we wave our palms and sing “Hosanna,” we claim our own belief in his presence and power.

The second part of the Liturgy includes a reading known as “The Passion,” the account of our Lord’s suffering and death. This is the only Sunday of the year that the story of our Lord’s death is read. The gospel account is from Matthew, Mark, or Luke, according to our three-year lectionary cycle. From the joy of the triumphal procession, to the intensity of The Passion Gospel reading, this service generates many emotions. This range of feelings will be experienced again and again in the course of the week.

In my homily for this Passion Sunday, I invited all to prepare a simple bowl, filled with water. Much as the First Station of the Way of the Cross, may we wash our hands, not as Pilate to remove any part of Jesus from our life, but to be cleansed in the eternal Love that heals always, and love us to death into life eternal. I have attached the image of the bowl of water from our Interactive Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas’s, along with a copy of my homily for your meditation and reflection.

Collect for Passion Sunday

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fr. Paul Gennett