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Holy Week 2019

Holy Week contains very special important meaningful and coincidentally fun activities in our church.

Holy week starts with Palm Sunday on April 14th. At 10:30 a.m. we will have the Liturgy of the Palms in the Courtyard (weather permitting), and we will process into the Sanctuary for the Eucharist.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, an animal that represented peace, and people laid down their cloaks and also branches of trees for him. Doing this showed the people felt he was worthy of the highest honors. In Jerusalem palm tress were very common.

Maundy Thursday is April 18th. We will observe the Liturgy for Maundy Thursday, The Holy Eucharist and the Stripping of the Altar at 7:00 p.m.

The ceremony of washing feet was also referred to as “the Maundy.” Maundy Thursday celebrations also commemorate the institution of the eucharist by Jesus “on the night he was betrayed.”

The very first Holy Eucharist included the very first communion. At the Last Supper, on that Thursday night so long ago, Jesus blessed and shared bread and wine and commanded his disciples to also do it in memory of him. The Holy Eucharist encompasses a whole lot more, come to Maundy Thursday and share with us. Some of the bread and wine, also called the sacrament, will be reserved for use on Good Friday.

The Stripping of the Alter is an ancient custom. In removing everything from the alter area and leaving it as bare as possible, it represents how Jesus was stripped of his garments and it helps us demonstrate the barrenness of the cross and emptiness of the world without Jesus.

Good Friday is April 19th.

  • The Stations of the Cross in downtown Luling begin at Noon at the Thump Pavilion.
  • The Proper Liturgy for Good Friday at 6:00 p.m.

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. It is interesting that the Holy Eucharist isn’t performed in this service. Communion is given using a reserved sacrament that was blessed at the Maundy Thursday service. This practice goes along with the Stripping of the Alter idea demonstrating that Jesus is not on the earth during this time.

  • The Stations of the Cross also known as the Way of the Cross, imitates the practice of visiting the places which recall a series of events at the end of Jesus’ life from his condemnation to his burial in the Holy Land by early Christian pilgrims. In Luling, we hold the Stations outdoors and walk between each station.

  • Easter Sunday, April 21st:
    • 9:00 a.m. Easter Brunch
      9:30 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt
      10:00 a.m. Flowering of the Cross
      10:00 a.m. Digging up the Alleluia
      10:30 a.m. Festal Easter Eucharist

    Easter is when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Faith in Jesus’ resurrection on the Sunday or third day following his crucifixion is at the heart of Christian belief.

    We eat brunch as a way to kick off this great wonderful happy day! Food and festival go hand in hand.

    The flowering of the cross has been traced back to the 6th century. It is an especially striking and beautiful way to reflect upon the resurrection, to symbolize the new life that emerges from Jesus’s death on Good Friday.

    Digging up the Alleluia is a tradition we have borrowed from the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox Churches literally write the Alleluia on a board, bury the board on Shrove Tuesday and dig it up on Easter Sunday. We don’t use the word “Alleluia” during Lent. On Easter Sunday we can say the word again. It is a very graphic way of making the point that Christ is risen on this day. In our church the children bury the word Alleluia and special messages on strips of paper. They will dig them up from our garden. Alleluia literally means Praise the Lord in celebration of his rising from the dead.

    Festal is defined as festival or celebration. The Festal Easter Eucharist Is very joyful and a celebration that really is the only response to Jesus’ rising. Easter Sunday is the start of 50 days of celebration in the Easter season.

    Father Mark, Sermons

    Advent 2C; Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6

    My father shared the hobby of coin collecting with my brother and me as boys.  We were fascinated by the art, beauty and history in coins.   I found the contrast between raw silver ore and uncirculated–untouched silver coins to be fascinating.   The coins are shimmering as they reflect light.  The silvery light from shiny coin catches the eye.   

    What does your eye gravitate towards, the raw ore or the finished coin?    

    Refined silver is much more attractive that in its unrefined state.  Refined silver is benefits us in many ways:  as the best thermal and electric conductor there is. Silver’s antimicrobial qualities make it useful in medicine.

    The light that silver reflects holds our attention.  I’ve never seen a group of women who are introduced to a new piece of silver, gold or diamond jewelry, to react apathetically to it.  They know of the value of the beauty reflected in the refined metal.

    Perhaps this is why Malachi describes the messenger of God as one who acts as a refiner and purifier of silver, beckoning the question:  Where in our lives are we like refined silver—reflecting the beauty of its creator and where are we like raw ore that has yet to be refined? 

    John the Baptist speaks of a refiner’s fire.  He has spent his life in the wilderness allowing God to refine his soul.  

    I expect that each of us is like a silver mine.  John says the One who is coming will take to mining and refining that which is precious within us, separating out the slag.  There’s always more to be mined and refined and so the messenger keeps coming to us.  The mining and refining takes time and deliberate inner work.   

    Raw ore is crushed, chemically washed and fired to extract the pure ore that it is to reflect the light of its true nature.   Mining is hard work—mining involves digging.

    Prayer and spiritual study are like digging for and processing the ore that is within us into refined silver. 

    The point to remember is that it is the refiner, not the metal itself that does the work. The ore is not the refiner.  The ore is worked on by the refiner.  We are not the refiner but the ore.  

    The messenger points to the refiner and his skill of applying the laser of Divine Love so that we reflect more and more of the beauty of who we truly are.  Where it’s easy for us to muck things up is to possess a belief that something is wrong with the ore.  Ore is natural.  There’s nothing bad about it.  It’s just not finished yet.  

    When we look at our unfinished selves, it is easy to react–feeling shame when we look at the unfinished state of our ore.  But this is not God’s intention. The danger in this is that the shame might inhibit us into withdrawing from the love of the refiner’s fire which would be counterproductive to our becoming refined.  

    Shame is a distortion that is only productive when it motivates us to move back into the refiner’s hands. 

    God has created us to shine.  We await again for the One who will free us to do so.