Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Through this trying time, we have been called to a Lent, Holy Week and Easter that few of us could have imagined. Yet, in truth, in walking through this “valley of the shadow of death,” we are being drawn deeply into the true meaning of Holy Week and Easter. Since we cannot be together, I am sharing the worship schedule I have decided to do myself for Holy Week:
On Palm Sunday/The Sunday of the Passion – I intend to join with Episcopalians from all over the country in worshipping with those gathered at The National Cathedral in Washington for their service. They have the resources both in personnel and in finances to pull it off as best anyone can. I hope that many of you will join me…even from our separate homes.
On Maundy Thursday (evening) and Good Friday – I intend to attempt to join with The Church of St. Mary the Virgin…a parish I trained at and once served, in New York City. I do know that the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, who was scheduled to be at St. Mary’s on Maundy Thursday is scheduled to preach despite not being able to be there in person. He has already recorded that sermon and I hear it finds the perfect tone for our current situation. Good Friday has always been deeply meaningful for me the way they currently do that solemn liturgy. Please join me in New York (online at least) for these two services.
For The Great Vigil of Easter, some parishes in our own diocese are working together online to present a truly ‘diocesan’ service where each part of the liturgy will take place in various places around the diocese and feature people from those parishes. This can be found at Episcopal Diocese of Michigan . Again, I hope you will join me.
And then on Easter Day: The Day of Resurrection I intend to travel (at least mentally) to Washington DC, our nation’s capital, to the National Cathedral once again to join Episcopalians form all over the nation as we come together to celebrate Easter. I have a sermon for Easter Day that I am likely to mail to you later in the week. I have debated waiting until we can once again gather, but I think the message may be important for our lives as they are right now.
And then late on Easter afternoon…just as we move into evening, I will sit by myself and read Paschal Evening Prayer. I hope you will join me…I will send that service to you late next week…and you will know why I think that service to be of such great importance as we wrap up the Holy Triduum, or Three Great Days
I do long for life to return to normal…even a ‘new normal’…so we can once again gather as a community of faith and worship God together under that wonderful ‘praying hands’ roof at SJP.
Until then, please stay home…stay safe…stay healthy. And know that God loves us…each and every one. john +