Beloved St. John’s community,

Lent is drawing to a close. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which inaugurates what we call Holy Week—the week when we journey through the whiplash of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when so many lauded and welcomed him, to the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday four days later, and then his betrayal, arrest, trial, and execution. Then the whole world stops, on Holy Saturday, the day that honors for all time those periods in our lives when we are without any hope, when our love and our dreams have died, and we do not know how to go on.

Jesus’ resurrection at Easter is what happens on the other side of these things. But there is no resurrection without crucifixion. As we move toward Holy Week, I invite us all to prepare. Set aside some time to sit quietly and allow the spiritual energy of this week catch you up in its current and carry you. Consider canceling some appointments. Consider making extra time for the depth of peace that comes from utter honesty about ourselves and the world. Consider what in your own life requires alignment with the holy, needs healing, needs to be let go or to end.

On Palm Sunday, you are all invited to watch the service together over zoom at 9:00am (find Zoom links in our service email that goes out Saturday evening at 5pm). Please do this—we will have a special dramatic presentation during the service by Jay Hornbacher, that explores the life and death of Jesus. After the service we’ll discuss his presentation and what it can teach us about Jesus and our faith.

In the days between Sunday and Thursday, you are invited to make your preparations for an Agape Meal on Maundy Thursday, our echo of the Passover meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples that night. Your family might shop for the ingredients together, and prepare the space together, enter into the Great Story using the instructions you can find HERE. We will not have the traditional Maundy Thursday service, but Elizabeth Lienesch has offered a brief homily you and your family can watch as you honor this day at home.

On Good Friday, join me at noon or at 7pm over zoom for a quiet, traditional prayer book service appointed for this day. And, consider also joining me in person at 3:30 pm at St. Matthew’s Episcopal church for a “Stations of the Cross” outdoor pilgrimage to Philando Castile’s memorial (more info found HERE).

On Holy Saturday, please allow yourself to face whatever you feel despair about. Is it the depth and breadth and pernicious cruelty of systemic racism in our country? Is it circumstances of health or wholeness in yourself family you are stuck about? Whatever it is, please allow yourself to face this fully—these hopes or dreams or relationships that have died, that lie in the grave with Christ.

And then, on Easter Sunday, we will meet each other in person, outdoors at Beard’s Plaisance, and see what the Spirit can do with all that pain, all that loss.

Dear community, I know we and our world have been through very much this past year. Let all of it be caught up in the movement of Holy Week—the central mystery of Christian faith, this endless dying and rising again, the source of our hope.

Faithfully, in Christ’s love,
Lisa