Spring inspires!”Brief even as bright” (Shelley).
The Week Ahead…
Online Learning during Lent – “Signs of Life -Why Worship Matters”. Online.
You still have one more week to use the following online Lenten resources. St. Peter’s Lenten page
April 1 – 10:00-12pm – Ecumenical Bible Study – online
April 5 – Genesis “Joseph’s Family Reunion, Finally” Genesis 45-1-28 – online
April 5 – Palm Sunday
Handling the Pandemic – Spiritually
Update – We have some new ones for March 29. Check out the link.
Here are some aids to help with this trying time – learning new things, getting outside, participating in online activities…
As the National Cathedral states “Social Distancing does not have to mean Spiritual Isolation.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:25–27
“Save us from the time of trial . . . “— The Lord’s Prayer
“To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers ― so many caring people in this world.” – Mister Rogers
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” – Julian of Norwich
Bishop Curry sets the scene for Palm Sunday
"It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.
"Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.
Read more with a video link.
Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020
We are nearing the end of Lent. Lent proper began on Ash Wednesday and ends on Palm/Passion Sunday, a day that in turn inaugurates Holy Week.
While Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the events of that day set in motion Jesus’ death 5 days later before the Passover begins. Zechariah had forecast "Zion’s king" coming "righteous and victorious" on a donkey. It looked like Jesus was proclaiming himself King of Israel to the anger of some of the Jewish authorities.
Palm Sunday has two liturgies – the Liturgy of the Palms where we consider Jesus arrival in Jerusalem from Galilee and the Liturgy of the Passion, a foreshadowing of Holy Week.
Palm Sunday is the hinge between Lent and Holy Week. Lent has been the 40 day season of fasting and spiritual preparation intended to understand in practices, ritual and disciplines critical to living in the way of Jesus and Holy Week. Holy Week is a time of more intense fasting, reading and prayers in which we pay particular attention to the final days, suffering, and execution of Jesus.
Here is a page of the significance Palm Sunday– meanings, the path and art of this important day.
Palm Sunday: The Setting: "We are going up to Jerusalem"
From Killing Jesus – Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard
"Jerusalem is just a forty-minute walk from the village of Bethany, where they stop for the night. They stay at the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, rather than risk traveling after sundown and on the start of the Sabbath. This will be their base throughout Passover week, and Jesus and the disciples plan to return here most nights for the promise of a hot meal and easy rest.
"Just on the other side of Bethpage, the two disciples stand waiting. One holds the bridle of a donkey that has never been ridden. The animal is bareback. A disciple removes his square cloak and lays it across the animal’s back as an improvised saddle. The other disciples remove their cloaks and lay them on the ground in an act of submission, forming a carpet on which the donkey can walk.
"Following this example, many of the pilgrims remove their own cloaks and lay them on the ground. Others gather palm fronds or snap branches off olive and cypress trees and wave them with delight. This is the sign everyone has been waiting for. This is the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. “Blessed is the king!” shouts a disciple. The people join in, exalting Jesus and crying out to him. “Hosanna,” they chant. “Hosanna in the highest.”
Voices about Palm Sunday
1. David Lose – The Key to the Story
"Jesus suffers, that is, so that when we are suffering we know God understands and cares for us. Jesus is utterly alone by the end of the story so that when we feel alone we know God understands and is with us. Jesus cries out in despair so that when we become convinced the whole world has conspired against us and feel ready to give up, we know that God understands and holds onto us. Jesus dies because so that we know God understands death and the fear of death and reminds us that death does not have the last word. "All that we see and hear, all that we read and sing, all of this is for us.
Why was Jesus Killed ?
Arland J. Hultgren
"People colluded to have Jesus killed. The most certain fact we have about Jesus as a historical person is that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, just as we say in the Apostles’ Creed. Even though he had no intentions of being an earthly king, some people thought that that was what he wanted to be. The title on the cross says it all: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews" (27:37). As such, his crucifixion was a political act by the Roman government. If Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews (which Pilate does not actually think, but others in power do), that was treasonous, requiring his death."
From a Roman perspective, why did Jesus have to die?
• Because he disturbed Roman order.
• Because he spoke seditiously of a coming kingdom other than that of Caesar.
• Because he allowed himself to be called “King of the Jews.”
• Because he made a nuisance of himself at the wrong time (Passover), in the wrong place (Jerusalem), in the presence of the wrong people (Pilate and the temple leadership under his command).
• Because his crucifixion would be a powerful deterrent that might keep other Jews from following in his footsteps.
Father Jim Cook
"Jesus was executed for three reasons, says Luke: "We found this fellow subverting the nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King" (Luke 23:1–2). In John’s gospel the angry mob warned Pilate, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar" (John 19:12).
"In short, "He’s subverting our nation. He opposes Caesar. You can’t befriend both Jesus and Caesar." They were right, even more right than they knew or could have imagined. "
Lectionary, April 9, Palm Sunday
I.Theme – "Strength is concealed in humility, pain is hidden in triumph, victory, in defeat, life, in death, God, in human form" -Diedrik Nelson
"Palm Sunday" – Giotto (1305-06) "Betrayal & Arrest of Christ" – Fra Angelico (1450)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
"Borg and Crossan (The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem) imagine not one but two political processions entering Jerusalem that Friday morning in the spring of AD 30. In a bold parody of imperial politics, king Jesus descended the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem from the east in fulfillment of Zechariah’s ancient prophecy: "Look, your king is coming to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Matthew 21:5 = Zechariah 9:9). From the west, the Roman governor Pilate entered Jerusalem with all the pomp of state power. Pilate’s brigades showcased Rome’s military might, power and glory. Jesus’s triumphal entry, by stark contrast, was an anti-imperial and anti-triumphal "counter-procession" of peasants that proclaimed an alternate and subversive community that for three years he had called "the kingdom of God."
This week has two liturgies – Liturgy of the Palms and Liturgy of the Passon.
"The church is called to reckon with paradox on this week: triumph and rejection, death and rebirth." So writes Melinda Quivik in Working Preacher. The week begins with Jesus triumphant arrival and by the end of the week he is killed. Next week we trace the path day by day. God is sacrificed by those he brings life.
"Strength is concealed in humility, pain is hidden in triumph, victory, in defeat, life, in death, God, in human form" -Diedrik Nelson
The theme is established by the first lesson The servant is disciplined by suffering so he may bring strength and refreshment to the oppressed, but there are those who oppose him. Willingly he submits to those who torture and humiliate him. But God is his helper, so he is not disgraced or shamed. God vindicates him, no one can convict him.
The servant willingly suffers humiliation at the hands of his adversaries. He is not disgraced or put to shame because Yahweh vindicates him and helps him; no one can declare him guilty.
The servant of the Lord is opposed (Isaiah), is obedient to death (Philippians). He is betrayed, tortured and crucified by those who should have listened to him, and is recognized as Son of God by a centurion (Matthew). He will be vindicated (Isaiah), exalted by God (Philippians), and honored by the unexpected (Matthew).
The Passion story can be broken down in the following scenes
1. Jesus is anointed by an unnamed woman at Bethany.
2. Judas agrees to betray Jesus.
3. The disciples are instructed to prepare for the Passover meal.
4. Jesus shares a “last supper” with his disciples.
5. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times.
6. Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.
7. Jesus is arrested.
8. Jesus is interrogated by the high priest and his council. Peter denies Jesus three times.
9. The high priest and his council find Jesus to be deserving of death; they hand him over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.
10. Jesus is tried by Pilate.
11. The crowd, given a choice between Jesus and the bandit Barabbas, choose to have Barabbas released and Jesus crucified.
12. Jesus is manhandled and mocked by the Roman soldiers.
13. Jesus is crucified and dies on the cross.
14. Jesus is buried in a tomb provided by Joseph of Arimethea.
Matthew’s Passion Account
Each of the Gospels stresses something different about the event according to Catholic writer Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.:
- Mark: the suffering of Jesus, how he was tragically rejected, unfairly condemned, viciously beaten, horribly insulted, and cruely mistreated by multiple groups .
- Matthew: the kingship of Jesus, how the de-facto ruling powers (esp. Pilate & Caiphas) conspired to get rid of someone they saw as a political threat.
- Luke: the innocence of Jesus, how Pilate said he did not deserve death, and others (Herod Antipas, centurion, repentant thief) also recognized his innocence.
- John: the exaltation of Jesus, how he remains in charge, driving the all action, completing the will of the Father, and being glorified as he is lifted up.
Year A, the current church year, features Matthew’s story of the Passion. Matthew’s account portrays Jesus as a regal figure, a king who suffers and dies for his people. His purpose in coming into the world was to save his people from their sins (1:21). In his gospel, Matthew shows that Jesus is an obedient, faithful seeker of God’s will in his life, and that Jesus pays heed to the Torah. Jesus carries out his role as the obedient Son of God, innocent of any wrong; yet he is crucified. He goes willingly to the cross.
His crucifixion has to do with his saving work, the forgiveness of sins. In his ministry he forgave sins (9:2). He assures the forgiveness of sins to those who pray his prayer (6:12) and partake of his supper (26:28). He gives to his people (the church) authority to forgive sins on earth in his name (9:6-8; 16:19; 18:18). He can do this because he has all authority in heaven and earth (28:18).
Mark is the major source of Matthew’s Passion account but differs with Matthew at key points in the story. Both gospels have Jesus, on the cross, reciting the first verse of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew, leading into the scene of the death of Jesus, adds another direct quote from Psalm 22:8 in the words of mockery by the chief priests: “He trusts in God, let God deliver him now, if he wants to” (27:43). That’s not found in Mark’s gospel.
Matthew says that right before he died, Jesus cried out in a loud voice and breathed his last, that is, “handed over his spirit.” Most interpreters think that Matthew is evoking a very Jewish concept of the obedient death, in which a person returns the breath of life to God.
Matthew’s account includes earthquakes. Suddenly the veil in the temple tears in two, a series of earthquakes shake the earth, the rocks split, the tombs open, and the holy ones come out. The centurion who watched Jesus die states that “Truly this was the son of God.” The trust of Jesus in God is vindicated, even in the midst and through the mystery of death.
In his gospel, Matthew highlights the innocence of Jesus (with details not in his source, Mark): Pilate’s wife calls Jesus righteous (27:19); Pilate finds no fault in Jesus and washes his hands (27:24). The Sanhedrin sought false testimony (26:59). The chief priests and elders seek Jesus’ death (26:3-4; 27:1), and they influence the crowd (27:20-22). Judas conspires with them (26:15). The crowd accepts guilt for Jesus’ death (27:25).
4. April , 2020 Server Schedule
10. Recent Services:
Lent 1, March 1, 2020 Photos from Lent 1, March 1, 2020
Lent 2, March 8, 2020 Photos from Lent 2, March 8, 2020
Lent 3, March 15, 2020 Photos from Lent 3
Lent 4, March 22, 2020 Photos from Lent 4, March 22, 2020
Block Print by Mike Newman
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Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.
Daily meditations in words and music.
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Saints of the Week, – March 29 – April 5, 2020
|John Donne, Priest, 1631|
|Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, 1872|
|James Lloyd Breck, Priest, 1876|
|Mary of Egypt, Hermit & Penitent, c.421
Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253
|Martin Luther King, Jr., Pastor & Martyr, 1968|
|Harriet Starr Cannon, Monastic, 1896
Pandita Mary Ramabai, Missionary, 1922