Thursday, April 2, 2020

Holy Week and Easter online worship


Dear friends,

The holiest days of our Church year are upon us, and this year we will walk through them in new and different ways because of the pandemic.  This is a brief description of what you can expect when you join us online for worship:

Palm Sunday
The liturgy on this day begins with the blessing of the palms and typically includes the passion reading, with parishioners taking on roles in the narrative. The passion narrative actually belongs on Good Friday but is included on Palm Sunday for folks who might not attend other Holy Week services and thus would miss the story of the crucifixion.  Our Palm Sunday worship this year will focus on the first part of the liturgy:  the blessing of the palms and the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Our service will be live at 10:30 AM on Sunday, April 5.  Look for the link in your email on Sunday morning, and bring your palm!  (We are delivering palms to our homebound members and will have a cross set up at our River Road entrance on Friday, April 3, beginning at 10:00 AM so that you can come and pick up palms for your family.)

Maundy Thursday
On this night, the theme is sacrificial love.  We hear the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and the service ends with the stripping of the altar.  Our online worship will end in silence, with pictures of our altar being stripped.

Good Friday
We have mailed to you a hard copy of the service of the Stations of the Cross so that you can follow along as we walk those stations at St. Andrew’s.  We will post the service at noon, the hour when Jesus was crucified.

Holy Saturday
Marc will lead us through this short and somber service.

Easter Sunday
This year our service will begin with two elements from the Great Vigil of Easter:  the lighting of the Paschal candle from newly kindled fire, and the story of God’s deliverance of Israel in Exodus.  We will renew our baptismal covenant and celebrate the glory of resurrection, replete with numerous Alleluias!  (Watch for the unpacking of the Alleluias from the wooden chest where the children stored them for us at the end of Lent.)  This service will also include the first round of your Easter Project videos!

Two additional ways you can celebrate Easter:

  • Our flower cross will be in front of the church on River Road all day, on Easter.  Please come and add your flowers to it.
  • Watch the Easter Sunday service at the National Cathedral by going to cathedral.org.

–Anne

Tridu-wha?


Following the spiritual roller coaster that is Palm Sunday (shouts of "hosanna!" as Jesus makes his "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem followed by a Passion narrative from one of the synoptic gospels), toward the end of the week we enter into a three-day period known as the Triduum (most common pronunciations are TRI-doo-um or TRI-dyoo-um, with a short i, though I have heard tri-dum and tri-DOO-um) - "tri" for "three," and "duum," related to the Latin word for "days": Maundy Thursday, from which comes Jesus' Eucharistic adaptation of a Passover meal and foot-washing; Good Friday's commemoration of Jesus' crucifixion; and The Great Vigil of Easter, often held on Saturday evening or very early Easter Sunday morning, which, except for the Eucharist, is an entirely different service than we experience on Resurrection Sunday.

For those who are familiar with the three services of Holy Week, or at the least Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, you might notice that neither of those services conclude with any kind of dismissal; they just end with the ministers leaving in silence (often on Maundy Thursday with the stripping of the altar - a very powerful moment to allow that stark silence to stand on its own).  This is because the Triduum actually is one service, walking through the entire paschal event in sequence.  For reasons of modern life, however, we have come to observe each of the three parts of the service across three days because to do all three in one sitting would take anywhere from four to six hours, maybe even longer depending on just how elaborate you make the Vigil!  These days, fewer and fewer people are observing even Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, much less the Vigil, in their churches.  Not sure how many (if any) people would show up if we proposed to offer the entire Triduum service(s) all at once!

Still, especially with circumstances as they are this year, we invite you into a Triduum experience, maybe deeper than usual, by joining together online, walking through the Prayer Book (pp 274-295) and adapting what you can for home use (or finding other resources our Episcopal tradition offers), or even developing your own practices that bring the Triduum fully to life in a new way (we'd love to hear what you come up with!).  Regardless of circumstances and adapted practices, all Triduum blessings be with you!

-Marc

The St. Andrew’s Easter Project - Please submit your video by Wednesday, April 8!


Background
This Easter, we will hear the story of Jesus’ resurrection as told in John’s gospel.  Easter is the high holy day of Christianity, the day that gives everything else and all of our lives meaning.  Most years we celebrate Easter together in worship, with glorious music, exquisite flowers, a (hopefully!) rousing sermon, and shared Eucharist.  This year, our lived Easter experience will actually be much closer to that of Mary Magdalene, who was alone when she met the resurrected Jesus.  So let’s take this opportunity to engage deeply with the Easter story from our new vantage point of social distancing.  What insights do we gain about the meaning of Easter when we encounter it in a more personal, individual way?

What is the St. Andrew’s Easter Project?
The St. Andrew’s Easter Project will be a collection of videos filmed by parishioners in which they share reflections about John’s Easter story.  It will be a way for us to hear from one another about what Jesus’ resurrection means in our lives right now.

Who can participate?
Anyone and everyone. Your video can be of just you yourself; or of your family all together sharing their reflections. You can be 5 years old or 95 years old. If you have a smartphone or laptop with filming capacity but don’t know how to make a video, we have folks who can talk you through the process. If you don’t have access to video technology, we can find someone to interview you by phone and record your reflections that way.  We can work together to ensure that everyone who wants to participate is included.

How do I prepare to make my video?
Read John 20:1-18.  Read it again.  And probably again.
Think and pray about these questions:

  • What part of the story resonates the most for you right now?  Why?
  • Where and how have you encountered the risen Lord?

Plan what you want to say to answer those two questions. Your video should be no more than 3-5 minutes long.

How do I submit my video?
If you took your video on your computer: 
Start an email to be sent to  standrew@standrewsepiscopalchurch.net. Then click on the paperclip to attach a video. (When you choose your video, it will probably tell you that it is too large and it's sending it as a google drive link.  That is fine.) Once the file is attached, simply send the email.
If you took your video on your phone:
More than likely you'll need to save your video to Google drive and send it that way.  Here’s how: 
Click on the video, then the share button, and then on the Google drive symbol. 
Once the video has been saved to google drive, start an email to be sent to  standrew@standrewsepiscopalchurch.net. Then click on the paperclip to attach and choose “insert from drive.”  Once the file is attached, simply send the email.

If you have any questions or concerns, email our Easter Project technology person, Raven Cadena, raven.cadena@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Focus on “Worship” – St. Andrew’s new mission statement, “Building God’s Kingdom Through Worship, Outreach, and Fellowship”



The irony is not lost on me that this reflection focuses on worship at precisely the moment in which we are unable to participate in worship as we’ve (almost) always engaged in it before.  While I briefly considered waiting to write this reflection, I realized that now might be the perfect time to examine worship at St. Andrew’s and why it matters enough to be one of only eight words chosen for our new mission statement.

When most of us think of worship, I imagine we associate it with sanctuary, liturgy, ritual and/or music.  A little research indicates that the word originated from the Middle English word worshipe, which meant “worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being.”  That origin suggests that our understanding of worship can be a flexible one provided we emphasize reverence and respect to a divine being.  In other words, while certain images immediately rush to mind when we think of worship at St. Andrew’s, our current inability to live out those specific images does not mean we cannot worship in new ways.

For instance, if you’re following your weekly newsletters, daily emails, the church website, or our Facebook page, you will notice:  opportunities for worship through Anne’s and Marc’s daily reflection videos; a daily Signs of Life Lenten “challenge” and prayer; and musical selections from Brad.  Coming soon will be new chances to engage with different forms of worship through a special Stations of the Cross offering and a live, interactive Palm Sunday service (and perhaps more!)  As our mission statement reminds us, worship – in whatever form it takes – is but one of the ways we at St. Andrew’s will realize our goal of building God’s kingdom. And until we’re back together in our church building, perhaps “being the church” in this moment means, among other things, embracing new forms of worship that might bring us all a little closer to God.  

Lindsey Nicolai      

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Easter Project

No public worship until after Easter
In a recent letter to our diocese, Bishop Haynes wrote:  In light of Bishop Curry's advice, the advice of health professionals monitoring the pandemic and the directions of government officials, public gatherings for worship continue to be suspended in the Diocese of Southern Virginia until further notice - a time frame which regrettably includes the liturgies for Holy Week and Easter . She concluded her letter this way:  
I do realize that none of this is news that you wanted to hear today. I did not want to deliver it. I do want to remind you, however, that in this time when social isolation might cause us to feel disconnected and separate, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Not even the coronavirus! And if we all make our life in Christ, from whom we are joined, then we cannot be separated from one other either!

So what does this mean for us at St. Andrew’s?
It means that the clergy and staff are hard at work creating ways for us to walk through Holy Week and celebrate Easter together online, in print, and in spirit. Good Friday will still include the Stations of the Cross. On Easter we will set up the flower cross in front of the church for parishioners and neighbors to decorate while keeping the required social distance. We are inviting everyone to participate in “The Easter Project” (see below). We are working on details of all our upcoming services and will keep you posted. 

The St. Andrew’s Easter Project

Background
This Easter, we will hear the story of Jesus’ resurrection as told in John’s gospel. Easter is the high holy day of Christianity, the day that gives everything else and all of our lives meaning. Most years we celebrate Easter together in worship, with glorious music, exquisite flowers, a (hopefully!) rousing sermon, and shared Eucharist. This year, our lived Easter experience will actually be much closer to that of Mary Magdalene, who was alone when she met the resurrected Jesus. So let’s take this opportunity to engage deeply with the Easter story from our new vantage point of social distancing. What insights do we gain about the meaning of Easter when we encounter it in a more personal, individual way?

What is the St. Andrew’s Easter Project?
The St. Andrew’s Easter Project will be a collection of videos filmed by parishioners in which they share reflections about John’s Easter story. It will be a way for us to hear from one another about what Jesus’ resurrection means in our lives right now.

Who can participate?
Anyone and everyone. Your video can be of just you yourself; or of your family all together sharing their reflections. You can be 5 years old or 95 years old. If you have a smartphone or laptop with filming capacity but don’t know how to make a video, we have folks who can talk you through the process. If you don’t have access to video technology, we can find someone to interview you by phone and record your reflections that way. We can work together to ensure that everyone who wants to participate is included.

How do I prepare to make my video?
  1. Read John 20:1-18. Read it again. And probably again.
  2. Think and pray about these questions: a. What part of the story resonates the most for you right now? Why? b. Where and how have you encountered the risen Lord?
  3. Plan what you want to say to answer those two questions. Plan for your video to be no more than 3-5 minutes long.
  4. Don’t make your video yet, as we still have some technology details to work out.
How will I submit my video?
Stay tuned for specific details coming soon.