April 13, 2019
On Palm Sunday, our 10a.m. service will actually begin at 9:45a.m. on the Green with our neighbors from First Congregational Church and St. George Roman Catholic Church. Through this long-standing tradition, we begin our Holy Week observances together. If you want to sing "All glory, laud, and honor" to our Redeemer King, and hear the Palm Sunday story, you'll want to be on the Green! Once we make our way into our own building, the focus and mood shift to the day's other name, "The Sunday of the Passion." We'll sing "Ride on, ... in majesty ... In lowly pomp ride on to die..."
Because there are no Sundays in Lent, the daytime ECW is holding a Bake Sale and hosting Coffee Hour on Palm Sunday. If the prospect of Holy Week -- or the state of the world -- has you feeling glum, perhaps something homemade will brighten your day. The ECW also has a beautiful array of gift card holders on offer; check out their creativity!
Sunday's Rhythms of Grace service will begin with Palm Sunday and include activities that tell the Holy Week story. We gather at 4p.m. in the Parish Hall on second Sundays for this informal service for children of all ages and abilities.
We anticipated the beginning of Holy Week, this past Wednesday, by moving our service of Tenebrae a week early. Holy Week and Guilford Public Schools' Spring Break coincide this year. By moving a week early, we had a good group of youth leaders and a supportive congregation. As the candles were extinguished, the sunlight waned; the darkness seemed to be winning.
Lent Madness seems to be favoring the little known saints to whom we have been introduced. Three of the (final) Faithful Four were new to me. Gobnait, a medieval abbess whose convent was defended by the honey bees she kept; Pandita Ramabai (1889-1922), an Indian Anglican who championed the education and self-determination of women in India and England; and Zenaida, an early 2nd century physician (among the earliest women healers) in Asia Minor. But if I were going to bet, I'd bet on the fourth finalist, Martha of Bethany. The final voting will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week at LentMadness.org .
The times of our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are on our homepage. If you want to hear the stories, and sing the hymns, of the Last Supper and John's account of Jesus' trial,execution and burial, try to attend one of these services. The horror of Good Friday is mediated through the Organ Chorales which Music Director Mark Sullivan offers for our meditation and prayer between 1p.m. and 2:45pm on Good Friday.
Because today's Church Yard Clean-up was rained out (water was standing in the rectory backyard!), we will try again on Holy Saturday, April 20, starting at 9a.m.
The purple flags around town, and in our front yard, are not about Lent. (Red is the color of Holy Week.) Instead the color recalls a story of youthful solidarity against bullying and bad choices: When a high school student was ridiculed by bullies for her purple shirt, her friends, and those who wanted to put a stop to such bullying, all wore purple shirts to school. These flags wave a sign of solidarity and support for our young people who choose sobriety and responsible behavior in the face of the immature braggadocio that falsely equates a good time with intoxication.
Continued thanks for being Helping-Hands-for-Haiti! Our Sunday School's effort for the children of Martel have raised $1676 so far! Together with any last-minute gifts, these will help St. Luke's School end the school year well. Thanks so much!
On Saturday, April 6, I stopped by a Raise-the-Roof Habitat-for-Humanity house being finished on New Haven's Peck Street. Rose & Chris Robinson, Joan & Nick Rawlings, Ian Robinson and friend Meghan were busy caulking, sweeping, painting and installing a porch railing with neighbors from St. Andrew's in Madison. On my way home, I routed myself past last year's work site on Lenox in Fair Haven. All finished and occupied, it is a very handsome, and historic anchor for its neighborhood.
On Sunday, April 7, Christ Church was well-represented at the "Beating Guns" event at the United Church UCC on the New Haven Green. You can read about it, and see photos, in this news report. Attendance was easily double the 50 in the report.
The rain has stopped, the Green is drying out, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our Palm Sunday services.
In faith, hope, and love,
p.s.: Following-up on last Sunday's sermon, the Rev. Mary Anne Osborn checked out some Suicide Prevention resources for us. She recommends, if you are having thoughts of suicide, or if you know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK), or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!