Tour d’Horizon

Thursday Reflection reminds me of a favorite experience of 8th grade.   Our English teacher gave us a standing assignment:  write or speak about a subject of your choice each week.   I loved standing assignment, offering my fondness for Piglet (having sewn my own stuffed toy) and my wrestling with the Vietnam war.   In this space, I have a standing assignment to wrestle with God and to share; I continue as episcopoet. (See note below)

When an Ambassador departs post, s/he offers a tour d’horizon, a survey of where the Embassy is upon departure. What follows is a brief circuit of the horizon at Christ Church. 

Our mission statement, Sharing Christ’s Welcoming Love, appeared on many buildings as part of the now more famous LUMA festival which we supported from the start.  Sharing Christ’s Welcoming Love emblazoned our tables at PRIDE Palooza, BU orientation and civic engagement gatherings and our presence at local parades.  With a new way of living with the pandemic, our mission goes forth in logo and practice once more.  The BU Interfaith Council which I helped launch at last can gather in person again.  

We show radical hospitality in our CHOW Pantry, emergency food bank, Katie’s Charity Closet, and Winter Warmth.  Our ramp railings now are known as places to provide needed items for others.  Businesses launched from our kitchen and office space moved to their own space.  Come visit the new Venezuelan restaurant on Chenango Street.   

That dangerous Bible study which awakens hearts and through which the Spirit moves continues to join Sunday school children eager to return to their choir, and ever more ideas of how to support our local community.   Supporting Veterans remains important as we recall our bicycle donation so that vets have easier transportation.   Hospitality reached rural Kentucky and I hear sights are set on our own suffering in Broome, Tioga and Chenango counties.  

Sunday school thrives and the Spirit is working among our Youth to return; can’t wait for Super Bowl Subs.   Worship is sublime, joyful, and full of hope.  Christ Church is open to the Spirit in exploring new paths in music from Evensong and choristers, to Summer Chamber Music Camp, and an embrace of a beautiful new piano while our organ is refurbished.  We discover hymns from the array of our Episcopal choices.   We care about the healing of our planet.

Our worship provides a safe space and beauty of holiness each week and in the People of Blessing service, the Recovery Service each September, the honoring of the Haudensaunee Thanksgiving statement, and exciting traditions at Epiphany, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene and All Hallows Eve.  We celebrate the voices of children and the delight of many baptisms.  

The centrality of love and radical hospitality are my own charisms and driving force, and what a joy it has been to encourage, challenge, nurture and tenderly love you.  The ministries and gifts are yours as Christ Church.   It is hard to leave you, but God is calling me to my own next chapter even as the Spirit is guiding you as community to yours.  “We’ve had a lot of fun and tried great things,” as someone remarked.  The Holy Spirit certainly is a source of adventure. 

I love you always.  Godspeed. 

With every blessing,

Mother Elizabeth

episcopoet.wordpress.com    Keep on reflecting

Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down

“The people stand or kneel.”  This is a favorite rubric in the Book of Common Prayer, rubrics being our directions for worship.   When included in the 1979 Prayer Book, this was meant to be congregation-wide, but we, true Anglicans, decided it was personal.  We each can respond as is most worshipful for us, to stand or to kneel.  

The Old Testament gives many instructions for prayer and worship positions.  Interestingly, one Hebrew word for worship literally means to prostrate oneself before God.  This is the word, a form of “shachah”, which is found at the opening of verse 6 in Psalm 95.  Verse 6 includes prostration, bowing down and kneeling.  Our English translations vary, but the message is clear:  in humility lower yourself before God as a sign of respect and acknowledgement of God’s greatness.  

Standing most certainly is an option, and standing prayer is common today in Jewish prayer services and in our own worship.  Both standing or kneeling to pray were practices of the early church. 

Personally, I prefer to kneel and am compelled from within by Psalm 95 and the Christ hymn, “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.”  (Philippians 2:10). When I will not be praying the Great Thanksgiving on behalf of all the congregation, I most likely will be found on the kneeler in my pew, creaky knees bent as possible.   At home I commend occasional prostration or at least the forehead on the ground.   Waxed floors meant unplanned prostration before my bishop at ordination when the kneeler slipped forward.  I recommend a more intentional moment.  

When I pray Morning Prayer, I most often select the Venite which is the first seven verses of Psalm 95.  Verse 6 stays inside me throughout the day.  

Venite     Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
    let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
    and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God, *
    and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
    and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
    and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
    and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
    Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

With every blessing whether you stand or kneel,

Mother Elizabeth

A Few Thoughts on the Whole Story

Arrival in Bethlehem if It Were in Flanders

Going about my day I can easily forget the flooding in Yellowstone, hungry children, mass shootings of other people just going about their day, and gruesome wars.  I forget to look until W.H. Auden reminds me of the whole story and our tendency to avoid it in his poem “Musee des Beaux Arts.”  (printed below)  

Auden considers two paintings:  scenes of a pregnant Mary entering Bethlehem, and the Icarus’s fall from the sky, wings having melting from going too close to the sun.  Breugel the Elder and Breughel the Younger set these in Flanders and have much to show.

On December 24, we tend not to consider the whole story.  Auden guides us through to Breughel painting to remind us the amazing gift of Jesus’s birth, the Incarnation, will lead, too, to the slaughter of the Innocents when King Herod has all children in Bethlehem under two murdered in case one is the new king of the Jews.    The whole story is not a new concept. There is a Midrash in Judaism, the stories between the lines in the Bible, which shows God weeping for the Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea after the Hebrew people pass through.  The Egyptians are God’s children, too.  The story is not so simple.

My great-grandfather was an extraordinarily kind and helpful man according to his funeral booklet.  After fighting for the Union in the Civil War he helped his family settle and build reasonably successful farms and communities in Richland Center, Wisconsin and Ewington, Minnesota.  He worked very hard, was compassionate, and did not complain of his ongoing ill health thanks to war injuries.  This is but one part of the story.   

I admire him and others who built farms and communities, but I still do not know much about the indigenous people who were living in the areas my great-grandfather farmed.  Were they slaughtered by whole villages as happened to the Iroquois in the Clinton-Sullivan Revolutionary War campaign here in Central New York?   I sense it is time we learn the whole story.  

By a similar token, I become absorbed in my own life concerns and forget the children killed in Uvalde and the Black Americans murdered at a grocery store in Buffalo.  I can forget people rushed the U.S. Capitol and waved Confederate flags inside it, something that did not even happen in the Civil War.  I can forget those dying of overdoses or in need of housing or work.  I can simply not notice the young man falling from the sky, a victim of his own hubris.  

Our own lives are of value, and our attention to daily tasks helps us survive.  Yet, as we keep going about our business, as we tell stories we have heard of our past, let us intentionally make room for the whole story, for noticing the suffering, for seeing all God’s children and creation.

Musee des Beaux Arts

W.H. Auden

About the suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just

Walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with the doggy

Life and the torturer’s horse 

Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance; how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have hear the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure: the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.   

They Devoted Themselves to Prayer

Offering thoughts and prayers in the face of tragedy does not cut it anymore.  From what many people see, thoughts and prayers do not change anything.  Yet I know in my heart that prayer changes things.  The early church community in Jerusalem thrived in large part due to its devotion to prayer.  “All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. “[Acts 1:14].  

Their devotion to prayer paved the way for the Holy Spirit to transform their community and send them out with courage and trust to build the church of Jesus Christ.  Prayer began to change their fearful hearts and each day built trust in life after the Risen Christ ascended and they knew they were the ones with work to do.  Through prayer they could better see what each was called to do even the new and scary steps.

Let us not dismiss prayer, our own and that of others.   When we enter the space of prayer, whether sitting in a quiet room, doing the dishes, walking or joining in worship, we step out of ourselves.   We engage our hearts and expand our seeing to take in other points of view.   God enters this space to show us a new path forward.

Like the early disciples, prayer opens us to the Holy Spirit.  We become better able to hear and to do God’s will.  That “to do” is important because some of us will be called to action.  Actually most all will be called to action inspired by prayer while a few remain in the powerful space of prayer.  

God invites us into God’s healing and redeeming work.  We are not God’s puppets but participants. We have free will to do God’s will or not. When mass shootings happen, pandemics, climate events, we are called to look to God’s will and do it.  Prayer equips us both in discerning what we are to do and gives us the skills, strength, words to do it.

Grounded in prayer, we then step up, say “yes,” and boldly do what God is asking us to do.  God takes in our sadness, fears and concerns; God engages us in the doing.  Working for change is best undertaken under God’s guidance rather than purely our own wills.  We may think we know best, but “God working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” [Ephesians 3:20]  “Not my will but thy will be done,” Jesus prays in Gethsemane.

Let us devotedly offer our thoughts and prayers, and so guided and equipped, let us with courage and trust join God in healing this world. 

Why Do You Stand Looking Up at Heaven?

This Feast of the Ascension comes one day after the second death anniversary of George Floyd, a murder which showed such flagrant disregard for Floyd’s life as a black man that it shook up the world.   As I write this we are reeling with the news of another mass shooting murdering elementary students while our hearts are broken after the killing of ten black people shopping for groceries in Buffalo, New York, and murders of churchgoers in California. 

Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? 

I have been looking toward heaven and asking God why we humans seek out differences between one another more than similarities and why we seem to miss our common humanity, dehumanizing others for their skin color, national background or language.   Then there is our tendency to resort to violence, the ready availability of powerful firearms and the ease with which we allow ourselves to be afraid.   

Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? 

God loves us, each and every one, those who kill and maim and those murdered.  Maybe we look to heaven because this depth of love is so confusing.  How can it be?  Yet, we are called to pray for both enemy and friend as each one is our neighbor.   I look to heaven for strength and grace that my heart may be as open, generous and loving as that of Jesus Christ.  

Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? 

Now it is time to look back toward earth and to all those neighbors and the rest of creation.  I have experienced the love and grace of Jesus Christ.  My eyes have been opened to see my neighbors as fully human.  I have promised to respect the dignity of every human being, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to strive for justice and peace.  These are our baptismal promises.  Now it’s time to get on with it, to step up boldly, to speak up and act for change.   

Time for the Talk

As the mother of mixed race children, I have had the talk about racism.  My husband and I have told our children how to behave if they are stopped by the police.  We comforted them and restored confidence in themselves after they have been treated badly due to the color of their skin.   They in turn have helped me, a white woman, have deep, painful, honest conversations about race and systems of privilege. We have explored the stories of people whose perspectives one rarely sees.  Now may all white children have these honest, heart-opening talks with their families.

Time for Change

“Where’d he get the gun?,” asked my young son after one of the many mass shootings.  Now this son is over thirty and the shootings continue.  Payson of Conklin was determined perfectly fine to purchase and own assault weapons and body armor.   It is hard to control people or to know what they will do.  Maybe it is time to focus on the guns and to restore a world I knew when guns were for hunting or target practice, not for killing other people.  I would like to feel safe going about my business and most importantly want children not to feel afraid going to school, the grocery, church or the movies.  Yet they do feel afraid and have reason to. 

Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? 

Let us no longer be silent.  Let us turn our prayers to guide us in actions that fulfill our baptismal promises.  Jesus gave us work to do and continues to urge us forward.  Jesus is within us and teaches us.  We are the ones now to act, to listen, and to truly see the world around us.  Let us look at our neighbors, our lives and our own privileges and consider if we can give up the right to own any gun we want, give up thinking white means better and in charge, so that children, Black people, and all people can go about their lives without fear and with respect and opportunities to live fully.   

They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35

I long to be identified as Christian, as a follower of Jesus Christ, thanks to my acts of love and mercy, and an obvious sense of inner peace and joy.   This no doubt will take a lifetime and beyond to reach.  I want my witness to Jesus to encourage others to seek him in worship, scripture, and care for those at the margins, and frankly for each person.

My heart sits in sadness when Christians today are perceived as exclusive, merciless, rule-bound and narrow-minded.  Unfortunately, too many who identify as Christian give cause to this identity.  Even those of us who desire to put love first can get caught up in set ways of doing worship and in preferring to be with those who are like us.  

As Jesus’s disciples, and especially in this Easter season, may we be able to witness to the world that love is an action verb and not a warm, fuzzy feeling.  May we show that love calls us to care for an ever-expanding group of people including our enemies.  May we cultivate the trait of mercy beyond our notions of fairness and justice.  There is a wideness to God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea.  Mercy is grounded in love, and may we be as well. 

As Christians, may we radiate peace and joy that blossoms by shifting from self-centered to love-centered living.  Personally I need to be grounded in Jesus to have any hope of love-centered living, but may we also recognize around us signs of love-centered living no matter who is showing it to us.   Even in a murder mystery I discovered this when a person wronged sets up a trust fund for the disabled son of a murderer.   We have World Central Kitchen as a prime example and the inescapable desire placed on Jose Andres’s heart to be sure no one goes hungry.  He shows us all things are possible when we offer up ourselves.   Maryse calls us to do the small steps to take care of our planet.   All of this turns us to love-centered, Christ-centered life. 

May we be beacons of Christ’s love to one another and all the world around us.  

Blessed Eastertide to all.  Alleluia, alleluia.

We Need A Little Easter – Great 50 Days

We Need a Little Easter

The bunny ears disappeared.  For a few weeks before Easter, our neighbor had dozens of colorful bunny ears placed in his hedge.  It looked like many Easter bunnies were hiding out just waiting to deliver chocolate and eggs.  Each time I drove by my heart lifted seeing this whimsy and knowing Easter was coming.   

The bunny ears disappeared just as Eastertide began.   I am reminded of people who take down Christmas decorations on December 26 just as Christmastide starts.  We so often anticipate a season and then celebrate only the first day.   One joy of being Episcopalian is we throw ourselves into each season for as long as it lasts.  

We need a little Easter in a world facing many challenges.  Let us throw ourselves into the Great 50 days of Eastertide.   Early Christians honored the season thoroughly.  

Maybe bunny ears not the most appropriate for keeping this Christian season but what about balloons, great displays of flowers, alleluias?  In the northern hemisphere nature sends us many blooms even in the lingering snows of Central New York.  

Let us rejoice.  Christ is Risen.  We are forgiven.  We are invited into eternal life.  We are deeply loved.  

Let us look for ways to show and share our rejoicing.   

—Perhaps our days could begin with some alleluias.  

—We can go forth into the fray of the world assuming the best about others.

Others are not out to get us.  Even if proven they are, we can meet them without hatred and anger and instead know God deeply loves them and us and sees us all as one.

— We can pay attention to what another human needs and offer food, clothing, listening ears and more.  “Feed my sheep,” Jesus tells Peter in this week’s lesson.

— Get out our musical instruments or whatever we use to hear music.  Sing out!

— Notice the natural world around us as Maryse urged.  What a gift is our earth!

— Spend time in prayer and reflection.  Forward Movement’s Great 50 Days and Scott Gunn’s reflection on Eastertide, Easter Triumph, Easter Joy, are gems.

Our liturgy in this season reflects our urge to rejoice.  We leave out the confession; we do not kneel; and, importantly, we sing and say many alleluias.  We baptize, and this year we will welcome Madeline on May 22.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!!  The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

With every blessing for Eastertide, 

Mother Elizabeth

Let’s Celebrate Earth Day

With thanks to Maryse Quinn, guest blogger.

Wishing everyone a happy Earth Day!  (April 22nd)  This is a perfect time to reflect a bit on the natural world around us, our place in it, and ways to conserve it.

We see numerous references to nature in Scripture; people once lived a lot closer to the natural world than many of us do today.  One of my favorites:

Psalm 148 [abridged]

1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.

Somewhere along the line, many people lost touch with nature – either because they live in an urban area, or because they’ve got set schedules that take up most of their time, or because they’ve found hobbies that take place mainly indoors.  There are, however, a number of ways to connect with nature and help with conservation efforts.

1)  Through prayer.  I recommend Earth Gospel: a Guide for Prayer for God’s Creation, by Sam Hamilton-Poore.  This book contains four weeks’ worth of “praying the hours” with an environmental theme.  Each day of each week has three sets of prayer, reflections, readings, and/or poetry to help the reader focus on the natural world.  The idea is to pray or reflect three times each day, but the readings can be done in any way that fits your schedule.  The book is currently out of print, but I will see about acquiring a copy for the Christ Church library.
Or do your prayers outdoors, weather permitting.  Birdsong, breezes, insect sounds or even rain can add a natural accompaniment to worship.  (I love outdoor services.)

2) Online sources.  The Episcopal Church as a whole is quite active in environmental protection.  You can visit their website on Creation Care: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/office-government-relations/creation-care/.  Or take the step of pledging to become a Steward of Creation: https://cnyepiscopal.org/2019/04/becoming-an-environmental-steward/ (This is a 2019 initiative, but still valid.)
There are literally thousands of environmental conservation groups in the world.  Perhaps pick one and donate.  I currently support both the Ocean Conservancy and the National Parks Foundation, but if you have a different interest, there’s probably a group representing your cause.

3) In person:  You don’t have to pack your gear and camp out in the woods.  (Although if you want to do that, the Adirondacks and Catskills are lovely almost any time of year).  Any local park with a nature area will do.  If you are fortunate to live in a rural setting, there’s plenty of nature available.  You can even find nature in the city – we have peregrine falcons and red-tailed hawks in this area, insects galore, and dandelions that can grow almost anywhere.  (Please consider leaving the dandelions alone this year – they don’t last long, and they provide early spring food for bees and other pollinators.)
It only takes a few minutes.  Just breathe and observe.  Close your eyes and listen for bird calls, or the wind in the trees, or rain on the roof.  Take a walk along a nature trail at the Nathanial Cole Park, or Greenwood Park, or even Otsiningo Park.  No fancy equipment needed – just comfortable clothing and some time.  

The Sierra Club, a noted environmental group, has a Susquehanna Chapter that meets monthly in Endicott (or on Zoom) on the third Tuesday of each month.  (Their website is here: https://www.sierraclub.org/atlantic/susquehanna.)  Or you can watch for “clean-up” days sponsored by local groups; they choose an area and spend a day or afternoon picking up trash and/or plant new growth.

God has provided a planet to meet all our needs.  Let’s help take care of it, in whatever way we can.

Triduum – One Liturgy, Three Days

Each Holy Week is an invitation to live, die and rise with Jesus.  Central to our Episcopal liturgy is the Triduum, the three days from sundown on the Thursday before Easter to  sundown on Easter Day.   This is all one liturgy, though many miss the first part and essentially arrive late if only present on Easter Sunday.   

Whether you are able to immerse yourself in Holy Week this year in person or online, or whether work and family vacation or duties take precedence, I invite each of us to enter into the liturgy before Easter Sunday.  

Admittedly Thursday – Saturday evening (days one and two), require our willingness to face betrayal, suffering and death, all experiences we prefer to avoid.  Yet, this experience helps us be present to the suffering in the world as Jesus is present in it each day for us and for others. 

Today we gather for a simple meal with friends and share in love by serving one another and washing one another’s feet.  This last can be especially uncomfortable and not because as in Jesus’s day it would have been the job of a servant, but because we avoid gently caring for one another through touch.  Too often touch has been a matter of abuse rather than care.

Let’s appreciate the best of the Agape meal and our love for one another.   For at the conclusion of the meal  Jesus lays out the Eucharist, the full offering of his body and blood through the bread and wine.  This is a sign of his imminent death and gives us a central way to meet Jesus in the future by taking him into our very bodies. 

Tonight we see the direct betrayal of Judas, and the betrayal of friends who flee, and those who deny Jesus, such as Peter.  Let us not just point to Judas as the villain for we all are capable of betraying Jesus by thinking our own way forward is better than God’s.  There is much to be said for seeing Judas’s act as a way of shifting the Jesus movement to a more political basis and a different way of taking care of the poor.  Judas tragically misses the point.

Day one is long and concludes with Jesus’ death and burial, but not before the crowd that once shouted “Hosanna” screams out, “Crucify Him!”  Here again is a moment of personal reflection that we are fully capable of following the crowd, of being confused and afraid and calling for Jesus’s crucifixion.  

Day two allows us space to read and pray while Jesus is in the grave.  He has been buried thanks to Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  We can sit and pray and ponder in our hearts.

There is no traditional dismissal to the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday services.  These are all a piece of our liturgy the concludes with dismissal on Easter Sunday.  

Let us take the next two days from tonight to Saturday night to ponder our own tendencies to set God’s agenda rather than listening to God, our ability to betray God and one another, and our capacity to be cruel.   In this may we find deep compassion for ourselves and one another.  In this may we come to know the awe and wonder of God, who loves us so deeply despite our tendencies he suffered and died from faithfulness to that love and a willingness to hold our evil, hatred, fear, and prideful intent.   

With every blessing for a Holy Triduum,

Mother Elizabeth

Let Us Immerse Ourselves in Holy Week

Via Dolorosa

Holy Week marks the height of the Christian year, the culmination of Jesus’s teachings while incarnate among us, his trial, crucifixion, burial and Resurrection.  

Holy Week takes us on a difficult but important journey.  It is a process, an emotional roller coaster if you will.  It is a time we allow ourselves to feel the joy and triumph of the entry to Jerusalem, the betrayal of Jesus’s close companions, the further betrayal of the crowds who chose Barabbas over Jesus.  It is a time to know deep in our being Jesus’s faithfulness to the truth, to love, even with the torture of death on the cross, and to recognize the faithfulness of the women who come to anoint the body and discover He is Risen.

The music, dramatic reading and actions, the play of light and darkness; our liturgy engages all our senses.  This is the season to show up and to be present whether in person or online for the daily opportunities to walk the path of Holy Week.  Wherever you are this year, however you feel comfortable being present in person or online, please try to participate in Holy Week.

What follows are the services for Christ Episcopal Church ( christepiscopalbing.com ) in Binghamton, New York. Where you are, you may be able to add an Easter Vigil service to Saturday as well.

On Palm Sunday we are one with the crowd shouting “Hosanna” and before long shifting to “Crucify Him”.   Simple Eucharistic services on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday remind us again of the sacrifice and love of Christ.  

On Holy Wednesday we gradually enter darkness and ponder a range of emotions in the service of Tenebrae.  With psalms, canticles and the music of Max Richter and Arvo Part we allow ourselves to go deep into the darkness trusting in God, in even one ray of light.

Maundy Thursday begins with an Agape Meal sharing fellowship and food with friends and washing one another’s feet.  This evening ends in betrayal and the stripping of the altar and removal of Jesus as the Sacrament leaves the Tabernacle and our sanctuary.

Through the broken liturgy of Good Friday,  we confront Peter’s further betrayal in denying Jesus,  we sit at the foot of the cross and sense confusion after Jesus’s death and burial.

From here we move to Holy Saturday and gather for prayers and readings acknowledging our sorrow and grief.  

Immersing ourselves in Holy Week, we shall be transformed.  When we allow ourselves to sense the suffering and betrayal with our full being, and feel the grief of death, we can know most completely the joy of Easter morning.  For sorrow and joy are one, each helping us better know the other, each reflecting our full humanity and the nature of love.

  Let us be companions on the way and stay with Jesus.