Dear friends in Christ,
At beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter, the celebrant bids us, “the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer…” Perhaps there has never been a time when the church was so dispersed as at this moment. For we are dispersed not just across nations and peoples, but even from our congregational gatherings into our homes. Around the world, in many nations, there will be no full churches for Easter. Instead, we are dispersed into our homes.
And, yet, as that bidding reminds us, we are still the church. Though are we not together, our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not taken away. We are united by indissoluble bonds, even when we are not physically together.
Last week I wrote a bit about my own grief over Holy Week. This week, I want to offer some specific suggestions for ways to get through the Three Holy Days (Triduum Sacrum) of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve.
First of all, if your church is offering resources or online worship, by all means, join with your local congregation. Please let them know you’re grateful for whatever they’re doing. Your church leaders are trying to figure this out as they go, and they’re almost certainly doing their very best. This is a time for grace and prayer.
If your church isn’t offering online worship, don’t despair! There are lots of options. I have been enjoying the offerings from St. James’ Church in New York, NY. Another New York church, Trinity Wall Street, is also offering excellent worship online. Either place allows you to watch the liturgy and join in by looking at the service leaflets they provide.
This might be the year for us all to really dive into the scriptures. You can get the lessons for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve online. Spend some time reading and meditating on the lessons, especially the gospel readings. With everything else pared away, we can really savor God’s word—and the most amazing story ever told.
If you cannot receive Holy Communion, perhaps these prayers of spiritual communion from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book will help. Or you might find an image of Jesus Christ and pray a Eucharistic devotion called the Holy Hour.
Whatever you do this week, know that you are not alone. You are a member of the church, and you are in the body of Christ, joined with Christians dispersed around the world. You are never separated from God’s love.
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
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With Vicki Garvey
For six weeks this Easter, meet with other students from around the world for a free, live, online class on the Gospel of Matthew with Vicki Garvey, a respected teacher and author and former Canon for Lifelong Education at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
In this class, Vicki will teach us about the author, origin, setting, and message of the Gospel of Matthew. Classes will meet live on Thursday nights via zoom from April 23-May 28, 2020, and they will last an hour.
This class is ideal for people participating in the Good Book Club 2020, and for anyone interested in learning more about the Gospel of Matthew.
Find a special episode of the Forward Day by Day podcast that was released April 4th, where some of our favorite authors discuss Mary Magdalene and the angels at the tomb!
Available anywhere you listen to podcasts!
In The Heart of a Leader, Bishop Edward S. Little moves through 2 Timothy, drawing on the lessons and teachings of Paul as a guide for mentoring and encouraging others to a life deeply committed to Christ. While we live in a radically different culture than Timothy and Paul, we struggle today with some of the same hard spiritual questions. We puzzle our way through intractable conflict. We face a world that is sometimes indifferent to the gospel and other times, outright hostile to it. Like Timothy and Paul, we wonder: What is essential to our Christian faith?
Paul’s second letter to Timothy can instruct us as surely as it taught its early readers. We are all Timothy. We stand in need of mentoring. We are all Paul, with apprentices in our care.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the printing of this title has been delayed until late summer. Pre-order your print copy today, but also know that we’ve made the e-book version available early. You can find it on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and at the iTunes store.
In case you missed it…