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April 13, 2017, 7:13 AM

A word at mid-week, 4/12

Welcome to mid-week in Holy Week! 

Holy Week is the most sacred week in the Church year. The word "holy" means "set apart." As Christians, we "set apart" an entire week - Holy Week - to not only recall, but to enter more fully into, the events surrounding the suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. And, not only is the week a sacred and special week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and The Great Vigil of Easter are the three holiest days for Christians. In fact, from a liturgical point of view, Maundy Thursday-Good Friday-Easter Vigil are actually one, continuous service. 

You will notice that Maundy Thursday does not end really end - there is no final prayer or blessing. After the altar is stripped and washed, the ministers and people leave in silence. Some stay to keep vigil in prayer. Good Friday is a day of personal reflection, prayer, and waiting in anticipation that Death will not have the last word! These three days (known as the "triduum") find their climax in The Great Easter Vigil, where our time of waiting and watching is fulfilled, the stone is rolled away, and we boldly proclaim: "Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!"

I hope you will take advantage of the many services this week. Entering into this holy time and participating in each of these services can deepen and enrich your faith life. The service schedule this week is:

  • Wednesday, Tenebrae at 7pm
  • Maundy Thursday at 7pm
  • Good Friday, Stations of the Cross at 12 Noon
  • Good Friday Service at 7pm
  • The Great Vigil of Easter at 7pm
  • Easter Sunday at 10am

REMINDER:

On Maundy Thursday, during the Eucharistic Prayer, we will read the names of those loved ones who have died. Thank you to those who have submitted names already. If you haven't done so, please submit names to both Carissa and me as soon as possible. We did this last year and this is a very powerful remembrance to do on Maundy Thursday.

In addition, Easter Memorials are being accepted for Easter Sunday. In the April issue of Smatterings, you will find a form to use. You can also submit your memorials directly to Carissa and me. Donations of any amount will be accepted. Please include the name of the memorial as well as your name so we can list this in the Easter Bulletin. All donations will go to support the work of the Altar Guild and the Easter decorations. Please submit your memorials as soon as possible. 

Being Received into the Episcopal Church:

Please include in your prayers Rocio Carrasco as she prepares to be received into the Episcopal Church on May 25 at Christ Church Cathedral at 7:00pm! 

A big "THANK YOU!" to all who are reading during Holy Week services. Your ministry of Lector is an important gift to St. Matthew's!

God's Love to You All! Fr. Frank


The Holy Spirit Has Spoken Through the Ages

            and Continues to Speak

In some Christian circles, there is the thought that everything old is outdated and no longer relevant, and thus must be discarded. They say that the Holy Spirit can only speak through and inspire us with what is new. From liturgical and musical standpoints, this is far from reality and denies the eternal nature of the One who created us. Holy Week and Easter are filled with examples of ancient liturgies and chants that continue to inspire and thrill. They speak to the heart of our faith. 

One small musical example this week is the choir anthem for Maundy Thursday. In planning, I found one of my favorite anthems in St. Matt's library: Beloved, Let Us Love One Another. The copies have yellowed considerably. The Scotch tape holding the copies together long ago turned brown and is now brittle without any ability to adhere to anything. The copies were purchased back in 

the 1930s for twelve cents each! Compare that to single copies of anthems that today can cost $3.00 each. But the text, set to music by Van Denman Thompson, speaks to the core of Maundy Thursday - mandatum novum, the new commandment - that we love one another as God has loved us. 

Although quite a prolific composer, Thompson certainly will long be remembered for several inspiring gems. He became University organist and music teacher at DePauw University in 1911 and retired from there as director of the School of Music in 1956. 

I am confident that the Holy Spirit will be present in all our liturgies this week, inspiring and challenging us to deepen our faith and commitment. My prayer is that all members of St. Matthew's Church will truly love each other unconditionally, in spite of our faults and trespasses. We have been commanded to do so.

 

Dale Caldwell 


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