April, 2015 Page 1

APRIL 2015

 As we begin the month of April, we are in the midst of the intensity of Holy Week which leads us to the joy of Easter Sunday.  During this "special" time of the church calendar, I am always acutely aware of how much I appreciate being an Episcopalian with our wondrous liturgies.  On Wednesday evening, we will conclude our Stone Soup Lenten Study on "Embracing Forgiveness," in which we have been doing an alternative form of compline.  Then, we enter into the Triduum, one three-day-long ancient liturgical rite, starting with Holy Thursday, continuing through Good Friday, and into Holy Saturday, reaching its high point at the Great Easter Vigil. These three days draw us more deeply into the mystery of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection, preparing us for the celebration of Easter Sunday.

 Our worship on Maundy Thursday, we recall and participate in the events of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, remembering Jesus' institution of the Eucharist, the traditional feet washing and the stripping of the altar in preparation for Good Friday. This year, we will be washing hands instead of feet, thus signifying the need to love and serve one another in Christ. With our dramatic narration of the Passion story from the Gospel of John and our veneration of the cross on Good Friday, we experience the depth of anguish and despair of Jesus' trial and crucifixion.  And, then out of the darkness and depths of that despair, we celebrate again Christ's victory over death in wonder and awe at what the mystery of the empty tomb really means.

 On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the single most defining moment of our Christian faith and the principle feast of the church year.  It is the central mystery of our Christian faith, the foundation of our Christian experience and the goal toward which our lives move as we live into the transformational power of the resurrection. Those who believe in Jesus are invited into the power of that reality, living in the ultimate hope that nothing is lost and that nothing is beyond redemption. So, on Easter Sunday, glorious music will lift our hearts and souls heavenward. The aroma of lilies will fill our sanctuary. The Paschal Candle will burn brightly in our church and continue to be lit throughout the fifty days of the Easter Season until Pentecost. The color during this season is white and all the liturgies are jubilant and inspiring. And, my beloved "Alleluias" will return. The beauty of the Eastertide as we celebrate it in our tradition is that each Sunday we too learn a bit more about the miracle and its startling implications for our lives.

 I pray that your Easter experience this year is filled with joy and exhilaration, but also with gratitude for have been taken out of the darkness and loss of Christ's crucifixion into the glory of the Resurrection. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Wrote, "In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our achievements in comparison with what we owe others." May we be prayerfully mindful of this throughout our lives.

 Gordon and I wish you all another Happy Easter!!! Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

In Christ's love,