Good afternoon, Dear saints of All Saints; I hope you are all well!
We WILL have Open Mic tomorrow, Wed. 3/29 @ 7:00pm after Evening Prayer at 5:00 & Soup Supper at 5:30. Please come join your parish family for a contemplative service of Evening Prayer, light supper and good fellowship, and then fabulous music and other entertainment, including a special Lenten Offering from our own Flora Newberry: Come and See!
All Saints’ SPRING FLING is COMING Saturday, May 6th! Please help us by (a) committing to be present and welcoming friends and neighbors new and old that day and (b) recruiting volunteers to help make this a smashing success for our community. We especially need and welcome young people who are physically mobile and are able and willing to help out with this fun and exciting event. Thanks for helping us NOW with getting those volunteers!
The Holy Week/Easter Issue of The Servant, the quarterly newsletter of my community, the Brotherhood of St. Gregory has been published online and is available here:
I did not submit an article on our Ashes to Go this year, but will do so next year. There is a wonderful photo of my Brother and our Diocesan Youth Missioner, Br. Angel Gabriel Roque, BSG and Bishop Michael imposing ashes on each other as they prepare to offer them to students, faculty, staff and other pedestrians at UNM. (Maybe next year we could partner with other Episcopal churches in El Paso and have a similar offering at UTEP, EPCC and/or the Texas Tech Health Science Center?)
HOLY WEEK BEGINS THIS SUNDAY— PALM SUNDAY:
Beginning this Sunday we enter Holy Week, the most solemn, powerful and important week of the Christian calendar year. In previewing this dramatic week, I am borrowing heavily (and with verbatim quotation where indicated) from the words and reflection of the Rev. Carolyn Metzler, a wonderful priest of our diocese who supplied in retirement at the Church of the Ascension in Cloudcroft and who led us on several Holy Week journeys there.
Carolyn writes, “The services of Holy Week are incredible in their transformative power. They are six ‘acts’ in a drama which pulls us all in. All parts of the drama are essential if we are to journey on pilgrimage together. There are no ‘cliff notes’ for Holy Week, no short cut to resurrection. So I am inviting you to lay aside all that is not essential next week and center your life around these six parts of the drama of Christ’s life, passion, death, and resurrection. Eat the story. Drink the Story. Dream the Story. Be the Story, because it is truly our Story”. Take time each day for silence and contemplation. Pray Morning Prayer with us on Facebook; Pray one or more of the other Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 37-143); Pray with the Daily Office Lections (assigned Scripture readings found in the BCP on p. 956); Follow the reflections in Forward Day by Day. Take time to pray with faith and passion.
Palm Sunday April 2 @ 10:00 a.m.: Liturgy of the Palms, with Procession, Narrative Gospel & Solemn Sung Eucharist with Incense . We will begin with the commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal and glorious entry into Jerusalem and enter quickly into the Passion Narrative, before celebrating with a Solemn Sung Eucharist. Carolyn+ has called it “the shortest parade in history, the visible sign of the easy betrayal of the human heart”.
Maundy Thursday April 6 @ 6:00 p.m.: Holy Eucharist, Footwashing & Stripping of the Altar. We celebrate Jesus gathered at table with his friends for the Passover meal, the event on which every Eucharist is based. There he gives a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. He turns everything on its head. He washes their feet and asks them to wash each other’s feet also, and so we will. I understand if this is not your tradition, but invite you to prayerfully enter the intimacy of this powerful ritual, which has transformed families and entire communities in its humility. Following the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, we will strip the church bare and wash the altar in ritual ceremony.
Good Friday April 7 & 6:00p.m.: Tenebrae. Good Friday tells of the mockery of Jesus’ trial, Passion, crucifixion, and death. The church is naked, the liturgy is bare bones, stripped of all adornment. The church has become the tomb. Death is real. We will observe Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness”), commemorating the Seven Last Word of Christ as we extinguish candles and enter into the darkness of his death. Then we will leave the Church in silence.
Holy Saturday April 8th: Though there is no service scheduled until this evening, this is still a day of significance for us. Even Jesus, formed of the Earth in his incarnation, goes back to the Earth in death. But more than that – Scripture and tradition tells of Jesus himself going all the way to Hell to bring back everyone there. This “harrowing” (emptying) of Hell, widely observed especially in the Eastern Church, is the ultimate declaration that there is NO place where God will not go for love. It is often portrayed in Christian art with Jesus dragging a reluctant Adam (all of us reluctant Adams) determinedly out of Hell in his penultimate act of redemption.
Holy Saturday April 8 @ 6:00 p.m.: The Great Vigil of Easter: A Service of Light, Lessons, Renewal of our Baptismal Vows and Sung Holy Eucharist “It is from this service that every other service draws its life. It is the most important service of the year. It begins with the lighting of the new fire, the Light of Christ, whose light we all hold in our hands. We hear the Exultet sung, one of the most ancient and beautiful pieces of liturgy in existence. We hear the history of salvation, from Creation through the major stories of God’s romancing bumbling, imperfect human beings. Then we renew our baptismal vows, pick up the story of Resurrection, pronounce the Great ‘A _ _ _ _ _ _a’ for the first time since Epiphany Last, and dance into the Eucharist of Resurrection”.
Easter Sunday April 9 @ 10:00 a.m.: Holy Baptism (!) and Festal Holy Eucharist. Easter Sunday could seem a little anti-climactic after the Great Vigil, but not here at All Saints, where this year we will have the great JOY of Baptizing a new Christian, 12-year-old Joshua right here at All Saints. So come celebrate and welcome Joshua and his family into the Body of Christ at All Saints!
Finally, I pass on to you Carolyn’s invitation to us in Cloudcroft, with my own endorsement: “We have something of profound value to offer the world: the story of Salvation, not individualized, ‘my little thing with Jesus’, but cosmic, transformative, touching every part of us, inviting our fullest participation. It is a gift to share. So I strongly urge you to invite at least one other person to walk this week with us. If this is meaningful to you, then why wouldn’t you share it? Studies have showed that the average Episcopalian invites someone to church once every ——- 36 1/2 years. Every person is welcome; every voice needed. Please invite someone who is hungry for God” to join us in this transformative, life-giving experience of Jesus Christ this Holy Week.
Soli Deo Gloria, with love and gratitude,
David-Luke, BSG +