Thursday, April 19, 2018

Youth Sunday is May 6

We are blessed with talented, intelligent and great young people here at St. Andrew’s.  Our youth are involved in several aspects of church life, including being acolytes and serving church and community through outreach projects.

On Sunday, May 6, our youth will be taking a leadership role in the 10:00 a.m. Eucharist.  They will be ushering, reading the Epistle, giving a reflection on the Gospel of the day, as well as leading the Prayers of the People, which they have written themselves.  They will also be involved in the ministry of music and sharing a special presentation of the Lord’s Prayer. 

We will also have the recognition of our great acolytes who have faithfully served at the altar. 

It will be a great day of our youth being celebrated and participating more fully in the service. Afterwards, we will all be treated to a delicious brunch! 

The Rev. Lorna H. Williams 

(We will also have our usual 8:00 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist – Rite I on May 6.  Please note that the Youth Service will begin at 10:00 a.m.)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Did you hear that?

From the Collect for Easter 3:

 “…Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work…"

Easter Sunday at St. Andrew’s, the beginning of Communion – Doug Burgoyne, Sarah Charlock and Dan Waddill began the Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah.”  Not far into the song the congregation started singing the refrain very softly.  The sound was other-worldly, a moment in time I’ll never forget. For me, those few minutes were a “thin place” – where heaven and earth seemed more intermingled. The eyes of my faith were opened wider for a while.  All one can do in such holy moments is pray a quiet “thank you.”

Brad Norris
Minister of Music

Monday, March 26, 2018

Alleluia: Our Word for the Season

Finally!  On Easter Day, finally, we welcome the word Alleluia back into our worship – and we do so in droves!  In Easter season, Alleluia is the first and last word of every Eucharist.  We begin with, “Alleluia.  Christ is risen,” and we end with, “Thanks be to God.  Alleluia!”  And in between, we sing hymns full of Alleluias.  Throughout these 50 days, the word Alleluia punctuates our worship.

Alleluia is a form of Hallelujah, which comes from the Hebrew Hallel Jah, or Praise God.  Praising God is a very appropriate thing for us to do – especially in Easter season, as we raise our joyous shouts of acclamation for the miracle of resurrection, the gift of new life.

We are accustomed to dropping the use of Alleluia in the somber season of Lent (although occasionally we forget – even clergy!!).  But did you know that the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer also call for a limited use of the word Alleluia in seasons other than Easter?  If you look at the rubrics on pages 340 or 366, you’ll see that the words Alleluia, alleluia are to be added to dismissals only in the 50 days from Easter through the Day of Pentecost. That’s why our clergy add them to the dismissal only in Easter season and not all year through.

Why would the BCP limit the use of Alleluia in such a way?  My guess is that saving it up only for the 50 days of Easter marks Easter as the exceptional, priceless, ultimate season that it is.  We make unfettered use of the joyous word throughout these 50 days, and then we restrain ourselves so that we may celebrate more fully when the season circles around again.  So let those Alleluias roar this Easter!  And then let us lovingly store them up for our celebration next year.


Walking through Holy Week

Dear friends,

It has arrived: the holiest time of the year, the days when we commemorate Jesus’ saving actions that give our lives their ultimate hope and meaning.  We are poised once again to walk through the searing sorrow of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to the all-encompassing joy of Easter, when we will once again proclaim, “Alleluia!  Christ is risen!"

How shall we mark these sacred days?  By walking through them together, by gathering with one another for prayer and song and reflection, by recalling once again the boundless depth of God’s love for us.  No matter what else is happening in our lives – whatever joys and sorrows, tragedies and triumphs – all of it is eclipsed, reclaimed, and given new meaning in light of the Resurrection.  I am reminded of a line in the Eucharistic prayer we use at funerals: For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended.  That’s what we learn through Jesus’ death and resurrection: through him life is changed, not ended – even when we die; even when things we’d hoped for die.

We are Easter people, resurrection people.  We need to be together in this holiest of seasons to remind ourselves of who we are (and Whose we are).  Why?  Ultimately, so that we may go back out into our troubled, suffering world and be spreaders of light, catalysts of hope, proclaimers of resurrection.

I hope that our Palm Sunday and Holy Week services have helped you to immerse yourself anew in the miraculous story of death leading to life, sorrow giving way to joy.  I look forward to celebrating Resurrection with you on Easter Day.

As is customary here at St. Andrew’s, an Easter offering envelope is enclosed for your use.  Please bring it with you on Easter Day along with your Mite Box offering for Episcopal Relief & Development.

May God bless you abundantly in this holy season.  And may you and your family join us here at St. Andrew’s so that together we may walk in faith and hope through these holiest of days.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Maundy Thursday: What Does It All Mean?

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to walk through Holy Week together, I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the rich symbolism embedded in our Maundy Thursday worship.  Because we do this liturgy only once per year, it’s easy to lose sight of the many layers of meaning it contains.

Holy Eucharist
We celebrate Holy Eucharist in almost every worship service, but this is where it started:  on the night before he died, Jesus gathered his disciples together for a meal and “instituted” Communion, identifying the bread as his body and the wine as his blood of the new covenant, and asking the disciples to continue the practice in remembrance of him.

In John’s gospel, there is no mention of bread and wine at the Last Supper.  Instead, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and tells them to serve one another in the same manner.  Maundy Thursday draws its name from John’s account—“Maundy” comes from the Latin Mandatum, which means “commandment.”  Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment:  to love one another.  

The Stripping of the Altar
This ritual does not appear in the Book of Common Prayer but is practiced in many churches, including St. Andrew’s.  It symbolizes what happened to Jesus:  being stripped bare and left naked and vulnerable.  During the stripping of the altar we remove all of the usual adornments, and we also empty the aumbry, the storage space behind the altar which normally contains consecrated bread and wine.  In essence, we remove Jesus from our midst, just as the crucifixion removed him.  I wash the stripped altar in remembrance of those who washed Jesus’ body once it was taken down from the cross.  The stripping of the altar can be done in silence or can be accompanied by psalm 22, which this year Sarah Charlock will chant for us.

I pray that our worship together on Maundy Thursday will be a blessing to you and to us all.