So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
As we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, I find myself wondering “How can this be?” I’m not preparing people to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not making Maundy Thursday menu plans and shopping lists with Pete, not taking the big cross down from the parish hall fireplace so we can venerate it together on Good Friday, not rehearsing Easter Vigil Bible stories with the kids… we will be doing Palm Sunday and Holy Week differently this year, that’s for sure! And we are making ways for us to do all of those services together.
Paul recently sent me a beautiful idea from the Franciscan Community, inviting all of us to put a branch or sprig or bow on our doors for Palm Sunday – we’ll be doing that at our house and hope you will too. If you’re planning to join us for the on-line Palm Sunday service, bring a branch or sprig or bough in from your place and let it be your palm branch for this Palm Sunday. After the service, put it in a prominent place so that you will have the opportunity to reflect on this day in Jesus’ life and in yours. Beautiful music and images are planned and we’re looking forward to a wonderful service.
As we enter Holy Week, I would like to invite you to create a sacred space in your home. Think of it the same way you think about Christmas when you create a space for your Christmas tree or special Christmas decorations. Begin by thinking about what makes a space sacred for you and then get creative! You can make a home altar or set up a prayer corner or you can simply decide that for this most holy week, a favorite chair or special pillow will be sacred space for you. If you have children, encourage them to make a sacred space in their rooms. You can add your “palm” branch to your sacred space too.
One of the beautiful things that is happening as a result of not being able to gather together for worship is the emergence of what lots of people are calling domestic worship. Just this morning, the folks who typically gather for Thursday morning Eucharist gathered in their own homes for morning prayer. There are lots of ways to be church when we can’t be the physically gathered people of God. I continue to seek out resources for you and if there are particular things you’d like us to offer, know that I’ll try to do that. In Eastertide, I’ll likely begin doing at least one of the Daily Office services (Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer or Compline) Monday through Friday. Many of us started using
Hour By Hour
for our daily prayers in Advent last year - that’s a great resource too. And while we will be streaming services for all of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Great Vigil of Easter), we will also provide resources for you to use in your homes on your own. Look for more information next week. And parents, here’s the beautiful
Faces of Easter
Godly Play story to watch with your children! These are the stories (all rolled into 1) our children hear in Lent. There are many more on youtube!
Some fun things to share… I did an interview with the Bainbridge Review yesterday about being church when we can’t gather. Fun photos coming your way! Supper clubs are meeting via Zoom, and the prayer shawl knitters knit together this week on Zoom, too. We had an amazing Coffee Hour via zoom last Sunday which will happen again this Sunday at 11:20. Here’s what some of your fellow parishioners said:
I found the zoom time so uplifting and cheering. Some of the people on it, I don't know well, but they are familiar faces and it was so good to see them. We really are all in this together and it was wonderful to see part of our loving caring community. Maggie Ball
They say a picture’s worth a thousand (email!) words, and that was borne out by our first experience with Zoom. It was very easy to access and just lovely to see and hear so many friends. Thank you! Mo Godman
I really enjoyed the virtual coffee hour. We had to take turns talking, but you were talking with everyone at the same time – unlike a “normal” coffee hour, where you are talking with just two or three people at a time. I loved being able to see everyone, especially after being away for the last six weeks, and especially during this time of “stay at home” isolation. George Robertson
The opportunity to see cherished parishioners at our Zoom Coffee Hour on Sunday was wonderful during this difficult time. We were together even though we were not physically together. We're doing our part! Deena Hanke
It was lovely to see everyone, to laugh together, to hear what folks are doing or not doing, to figure out zoom together which was easy, to make plans for future gathers, and most of all to see the smiling faces. Rosalys Peel
Sunday's coffee hour was my rookie Zoom effort. Thanks for making the opportunity available to us. Lynn Whipple
Let’s keep doing it! Peggy and I thought it was great seeing everyone. It’s a little cumbersome when multiple people try to talk at once, but I found it nice to be back in a crowd of people I know, even if I couldn’t hear everything. I hope we just keep doing it .. I’ll make sure I have my coffee ready! Kirk Eichenberger
We had just arrived home after an arduous and anxious journey. It was so sweet to be warmly welcomed by many familiar faces! Patricia and George Robertson
I know some folks don’t like to use technology this way, and that is fine! It can be a bit frustrating,… “
not into it”
was also one of the comments! It can be a little tricky but there are lots of resources for learning… google “Zoom for beginners”! There are also two teens at Grace who are happy to talk you through your Zoom connecting and meeting – they are eager to help us and if you let me know you’d like some help, I’ll connect you with them.
I’ll leave you with one of the best things I saw this week… it was a note, tacked onto a utility pole somewhere in Pennsylvania…
And then the whole world walked inside and shut their doors and said we will stop it all. Everything. To protect our weaker ones, our sicker ones, our older ones. And nothing. Nothing in the history of humankind ever felt more like love than this.
Remember to wash your hands, say your prayers and keep doing what you’re doing. Jesus loves you and I do too. Bless your hearts, every one of you. Faithfully, Karen†