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April 5, 2017, 7:01 AM

A word at mid-week 4/5

Welcome to mid-week! 

It was such a pleasure being back home and worshipping with all of you this past Sunday! Our trip to Japan was remarkable and we saw many beautiful and extraordinary things. I learned a lot about the rich history and culture of the Japanese people. I hope to share more with you, including some fun pictures!

This past week, on the last Sunday of Lent - the Sunday before Palm/Passion Sunday, we heard the story of Mary, Martha, and the raising of Lazarus from the Gospel of John. For as close a friendship as they had with Jesus, I can only imagine the pain and hurt they must have felt at his delay in being with them in their time of need. Perhaps all of us have felt something like this at times in our lives. When things have been difficult and you prayed and prayed and prayed, have you ever felt that God wasn't listening? As in so many times in life, when it seems like God has stopped listening, when it seems that Jesus isn't coming, he is, in fact, closer to us than it appears. In places where we see only death and despair and hopelessness, God can wield the power of new life, in unexpected ways. When we mess us, make mistakes, God can make a new way out of something that seems impossible at the time.

In the Rev. Stephen Wiley's sermon, The Road to Easter Runs Through a Cemetery, he reminds us that Lent is the path that leads to Easter joy; that Lent does not by-pass the realities of our lives, but rather helps to make the hard things, the hard realities, possible to meet head on. The joy of Easter is not a concept or just a nice slogan. It is when we experience God's power and love that is stronger than death and pain and loneliness and fear and failures; that whatever happens to us, whatever we are going through, whatever confronts us, God never ever abandons us, even when it is hard for us to see him and feel his presence. May this be so!

As a practice of evangelism, take an opportunity to invite at least one friend or neighbor to join you for Holy Week and Easter services at St. Matthew's. Share the following schedule with your family and friends:

Holy Week and Easter Schedule

Sunday, April 9                          Passion/Palm Sunday at 10:00am

Wednesday, April 12               Tenebrae Service at 7:00pm

Thursday, April 13                    Blessing of Oils and Reaffirmation of Vows, 12:05pm at Christ Church Cathedral

                                                      Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 7:00pm (St. Matthew's)

Good Friday, April 14               Stations of the Cross at 12:00pm

                                                      Service of Good Friday from the Book of Common Prayer at 7:00pm

Holy Saturday, April 15           The Great Easter Vigil at 7:00pm

Easter Sunday, April 16          Holy Eucharist at 10:00am


God's Love to You All! Fr. Frank

Everyone Loves a Parade

        but . . .

When I held my first fulltime church music position, Palm Sunday was almost solely about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. For me, there was nothing more enjoyable than working out the kinks in the brass ensemble a week before Easter, having dozens of children singing their loud "Hosannas" and all the choirs processing everywhere, singing antiphonally around the church. The vast majority of the congregation left that day on a mountain top and returned a week later to the higher peak of Easter. Very few experienced the valley of Holy Week. 

As my faith matured, I realized how much I had missed in truly contemplating the depth of God's gift of grace. I also grieved that so few experienced it alongside me.  I was grateful when Lent VI became the Sunday of the Passion (Palm Sunday). Reading together the complete story of the Passion carries for me such a depth of emotion and unworthiness. I feel such a connection with those sitting in the pews with me. 

I pray that you will be part of as many of the Holy Week services as you are able. They are unique in focus and filled with opportunities for personal growth. 

I do so love a parade, but I remind myself that I need to follow Jesus' steps on the complete journey to Easter.

Dale Caldwell 

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