A Note from the Rector – 4/14/19

Holy Week is here; the culmination of Lent, the climax and concentration of the entire Christian story.  All the highs and lows of human experience are dramatically presented to us in the liturgies of Holy Week, from the glory, laud and honor of Palm Sunday, to the absolute dejection, isolation, and suffering of Christ hanging on the cross. 

Let us as faithfully as we can walk with Jesus on this final journey.  Our attitude is not one of grudging obligation, but one of true awe.  Nothing can hold a candle to the mysteries that we are invited to explore this week.  Our attitude is not one of shame, for as St. Augustine wrote in the 4th century, “The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.”  Augustine alludes to words of St. Paul in Scripture, words that are beautifully etched into our pulpit at Holy Apostles: “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Come and experience glory this week at the foot of the cross.  Come and receive grace that is only available because of Jesus.  Come and cast all your cares upon the One who cares for us more than we can fathom.

A Note from the Rector – 4/7/19

The Great Vigil of Easter, April 20, 2019 – 8PM. 

It’s Saturday night.  Jesus is dead.  Hell is being harrowed.

The faithful gather in the darkness and gloom.  Quietly, a fire is kindled; the first light of a growing dawn that will soon break over all the earth.  Candles are lit and the people move into the holy place to re-member once again the story of how God is saving everything.  A single voice sings by candle-light, perhaps feeble at first but with growing strength: “This is the night.”  This is the night when You brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt…This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin…This is the night when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell…THIS is the night.  The normal experience of linear time need not apply during liturgy.  Heaven and earth kiss.  Time itself bends and we join Christians everywhere and at all times at the tomb of our Savior. The night when Christ conquered death extends backward and forward throughout time and into eternity.  It shakes the very foundations of the world.  We get to be there; to experience it all through ritual and song, through word and sacrament.  This is the night. 

Even though the Great Vigil of Easter was included into the American Book of Common Prayer for the first time in 1979, it is probably the oldest service in that book.  Its structure and many of its words come to us from the Church in Jerusalem in at least the 4th century (A.D. 320s).  It is probably older than that: dating to the 2nd or 3rd century.  Through this liturgy we are joining with the prayers and songs of some of the earliest Christians, gathering at Jesus’ empty tomb to celebrate the most astonishing, earth-moving, hope-dealing thing that has ever or will ever occur.  It doesn’t get any more special or significant than that.  You should come.