Dear People of St. Anne’s,

Holy Week begins this Sunday and I hope you will journey with us as you are able along this pilgrim’s way of faith. Some things at St. Anne’s will be different this week from other weeks and even from previous Holy Weeks. The difference is intended to invite you into an intentional time of spiritual alertness and mindfulness, heartfulness too, if you will allow such a word.

On Palm Sunday, weather permitting, we will begin outside of the church and walk around Church Circle, putting us in the mind of pilgrims walking from Galilee to Jerusalem. It is crucial that today’s Christians do as much as possible in the public square, for that is where Jesus carried out most of his ministry among the people of the community.

Monday through Friday we will continue the many years of Evening Prayer at 5:30 at the Holy Family Altar. Note that on Wednesday, we will be singing the prayers in the long time Anglican tradition of Choral Evensong. Please join us.

We will also offer the regular Tuesday 12:10 PM and Wednesday 8:00 AM Eucharists at the Holy Family Altar.

Our Maundy Thursday experiences at 6:00 PM will be a little different from previous years in that the simple supper in the Parish Hall that brings us into union with Jesus and his disciples in the Upper Room will be merged with the service of scripture readings and prayers that remind us of that night and bring us to foot washing and Eucharist. Our Eucharist that night will be around the tables where we have just shared a meal. We will serve each other Communion, calling our neighbor by name and proclaiming, “The Body of Christ for you; the Cup of Salvation for you!”  We will walk in silence to the church where the choir will sing Jesus’ Psalm uttered from the cross, the 22nd Psalm. We will hear his words inviting us to stay and pray with him for a while, and indeed, the church will be open throughout the night and you may stay or come and go as you feel so led.

On Good Friday we will once again take to the streets at 10:45 AM, imaginatively linking our walk to the Via Dolorosa, the road along which Jesus carried his cross to Calvary. Our stop at the Court House will bring echoes of Jesus’ trial. The tourists along Main Street will remind us of all who probably wondered what was going on that day so long ago that changed human history forever. We will conclude at the church, at the foot of the Altar, the place of sacrifice and gift with a simple prayer.

That night at 7:00 PM we will read the Gospel Passion of Jesus and offer the final solemn collects. The choir will lead us in music that stirs the heart as only the arts can sometimes move the soul. We will be in total darkness and silence as we leave that night to ponder what a world without God would be like.

Saturday is a quiet day in the cycle of Holy Week, but at 2:00 in the afternoon we will gather in the Church for a Service of Light and Baptism focused especially for children and young families. Then that night at 7:00 PM one of the most profound services in the history of Christianity will take place. The Great Vigil of Easter begin with the lighting of a fire on the front lawn of the church, bringing us back to the days when early Christians would light a bonfire and tell stories through the night of how God always leads his people to freedom and life. The great word that has been absent from our experience all of Lent will be shouted out for all the town to hear, the lights will blaze, the flowers abound, our Baptisms will be recalled and all God’s people will be sprinkled with water from the font reminding us all that “We belong to God!”

Easter morning will be glorious at St. Anne’s at our regular service times of 8:00, 9:30 and 11:15 AM. I can hardly wait for the sights, the sounds, the Spirit to abound!

A note for all those of you who usually worship with us on Sunday nights. This Easter we invite you all to worship in the morning and then enjoy the rest of the day.  There will be NO Sunday night service on Easter.

Well, that’s a long overview, but I hope you can see that it’s purpose is to bring you closer to God and one another in a way that is grounded in prayer, scripture and community. Don’t forget to pick up your Holy Week booklet and let it be your prayer guide and schedule reminder throughout the week. We will also place the guide on our website.

We are the beloved community of God for the world, and I feel very blessed to be able to share this journey with you.

Yours in Christ,

 

 

For more on Lent and Holy Week at St. Anne’s, please click here.