Letter from Rev. Percy Grant
So here we are in the last days before Easter. I pray that Lent has been the time that you needed it to be. That you have been able to reflect on your Connection with God and reflect on your relationship with the other children of God and to reflect on your responsibility to the good earth God has blessed us with. If not, it is not too late to begin now. God will take us where we need to be.
For me, no matter how the rest of the 40 days have gone, the last week, Holy Week, brings it all together. Parades and Passion, smoke and fire, prayers and quiet, death and brokenness, and finally rejoicing and song. Walking through Holy Week with others, each bringing a unique understanding of the events. Some by modeling the way and some by asking the questions I have not yet considered. A time of quiet to reflect inside the journey, alone with God, the God who is betrayed and yet still loves us. I want to encourage you to come to as many of the week’s worship services as you can.
Palm Sunday gives a condensed version of the events leading up to Good Friday and imparts the pace of Holy Week that leads us to the feeling of resurrection as we hit the brilliance of Easter morning. God willing, we will begin with a procession of around the outside of the church mimicking Jesus’ followers as he entered Jerusalem for the last time before his crucifixion. During the service, the Gospel of Matthew will tell of Jesus’ arrest and trial, death and burial, helping us to reflect on humanities’ reception of the Son of God as he speaks the truth of God’s love.
We will gather next on Wednesday night for the service of Tenebrae, a service that takes its name from the Latin word for darkness. It is a service of meditation and lament, with the reading from the psalms and scriptures; candles are slowly extinguished as we enter into darkness. I find this service to be a good antidote for marsh mellow bunnies, who have entered the stage way too early.
Maundy Thursday, will follow as we remember the last meal Jesus had with his disciples, in the breaking of the bread and the washing of feet. It begins with the Eucharist and foot washing and then a light supper will be eaten in the back of the sanctuary, before the altar and church are stripped and made empty for the next day. At the end of this service, the Night watch will begin and members of the congregation are invited to sit vigil in the chapel.
On Good Friday we will gather in silence to pray and contemplate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. We pray for ourselves and for the world, from a place of emptiness. Good Friday is a place of unknowing. He who came to heal and save, who taught love and generosity, has been murdered. We, who carry on the tradition of the disciple, also carry on the tradition of those who stood by as he was crucified and those who asked for him to die. Where is the Good News?
Easter Sunday will come and we will celebrate the end of the unknown. We will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Love has triumphed over death. God walks with us through the darkness into the light of Easter morning!
Holy Week is one of the hallmarks of the Episcopal tradition. We walk through it each year to give ourselves courage for those times in our lives that might seem hopeless. Like a fire drill, we are familiar with where to turn in these times, because we have practiced. I look forward to being with you as we rehearse how to live.