One of the most beautiful prayers in our entire Book of Common Prayer comes near the end of the Morning Prayer office. No matter what day we pray it, it always speaks to the purpose of Good Friday and reminds us of our mission as Christians every day of our lives:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross
that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace:
So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love,
may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you;
for the honor of your Name. Amen.
~Collect for Mission, BCP p. 101
As we enter into this holiest time of the year, let us join hands and hearts with one another and walk together through the pilgrimage of this Holy Week:
-Resting together in shadows and light (Tenebrae on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.);
-Sharing a simple supper together, hearing Jesus’ last words to His disciples, stripping and preparing the altar to receive the body of Christ on Good Friday, and following Him in procession to the garden in the chapel to keep watch (Maundy Thursday agapé supper, liturgy, and overnight vigil beginning at 6:00 p.m.);
-Praying Morning Prayer together at the end of the Vigil (8:00 a.m.), walking the Stations here at Saint Matthias’ (9:00 a.m.) and later through the village with the Ministerium (Noon, starting at Immaculate Conception), sitting Shiva with Mary in her grief (5:30 p.m. in the Chapel), and experiencing the finality of the Passion as we pray together in the shadow of the cross (7:00 p.m.);
-Gathering in front of the church to kindle a new fire – a fire of hope in which we find the Light of Christ, hearing the ancient and beautiful Exsultet sung at the Paschal Candle, hearing the story of salvation history, remembering and renewing our own baptism through which we are brought with Christ through death and into new life, and joyfully making the first proclamation of Easter with loud shouts of Alleluia (Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday at 7:00 p.m.);
-And finally, making our way into the glorious celebration of the Day of Resurrection with joyful hearts and voices (Easter Sunday at 8:00 and 10:00) and witnessing to the joy of our little ones as they partake in an Easter Egg hunt at 9:00.
Come and experience for yourself the Love of the Lord who stretched out His arms of love on the hard wood of the cross out of love for you, and who draws you daily into His healing and loving and saving embrace. Come and nourish your own heart and soul from the deep well of His presence in our midst. Come walk in love and worship in the beauty of holiness with your parish family so that together we can reach out our hands to a world that so desperately needs to come to know the true love of God, grab hold, and draw that world into God’s gracious and generous embrace.
I so look forward to greeting you all throughout the week!
Yours in Christ’s love,