Sunday, April 05 2020
First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!
Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!
Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the banquet of faith.
Enjoy the bounty of the Lord's goodness!
Let no one lament persistent failings,
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
for the death of our Saviour has set us free.
This week will be very different from how we have celebrated Holy Week at St. John’s in the past. On Palm Sunday, we will have Morning Prayer at 8:00AM and we will celebrate the Palm Sunday liturgy at 10:00. Please grab a few branches from your yard so you can participate in the blessing of the palms and branches. There will be a rehearsal at 4PM on Saturday April 4th for our children, youth, and young adults that are doing the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ on Sunday. Alex will be playing the piano from the church. At 11:00ish, we will have a coffee hour hosted by Claire. Alex will perform at 11:30 on Facebook Live. Donations will help those who are poor and vulnerable in Huntington. Last week we collected over $3ooo. Alex will also be leading a Taizé service at 5:30 PM. Please join him for beautiful music, prayers and Taizé chants. Monday-Friday, we will have morning prayer at 9:00 AM. In fact, we will have morning prayer on Zoom from now on. Tuesday we will have bible study at 11:00 AM. We will study Mark 4:35-41. In case you have not noticed, Jesus has been present during this whole crisis and will “Still the storm.”
Palm Sunday and Easter are the core liturgical observances of the Christian year because we re-member what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. This is also the time when many people who have been away, come back to church. I urge you to call friends and parishioners that have not been joining us regularly and invite to observe Holy Week with us. Please tell them that our hope is in the Lord, nothing can separate us from the love of God and “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). This is a real comfort to those who believe.
Maundy Thursday is a simple service in the tradition of the last supper. The Gospel from John is read and we wash our hands this year as a sign of our times, our servanthood, and our love of one another. Please have a bowl with soapy water and a towel ready for the hand washing. We will also have an agape feast and we will bless wine, bread, and dried fruit, not in a sacramental way, but in a manner very similar to our seder meal. The service ends with a dramatic stripping of the altar at St. John’s and we begin a prayer vigil through the night. Please take one hour and pray for our community, your family, your friends, hospital workers, and all essential workers
Good Friday is a somber reminder of the depth of God’s love for us. We pray at the foot of the cross with Mary and John. We pray in silence and ponder the incredible love of God in the act of Jesus death on the cross for our sins. Fr. John’s will pray a series of meditations and Alex will play many Good Friday hymns as we all venerate the cross and ponder what occurred as Christ suffered on a cross for our sins. We will have stations of the cross at 7:00 PM and a Good Friday service on Zoom at 7:30 PM.
Easter Sunday is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the hope that Christ gives to each of us. All are welcome to share with us in his resurrection. I will celebrate the Holy Eucharist from St. John’s by myself at 10:00. Alex has prepared beautiful music with the choir. There will be a coffee hour after the service. We will proclaim the resurrection.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
These services help us to see ourselves as part of a community baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I urge you to come to tune into as many Holy Week services as you are able, to invite guests, and to celebrate in a new way, the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan A. Burns