Date: April 16
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearC_RCL/Easter/CEasVigil_RCL.html
Contributor: Marion Hunner
Here we are at the close of Lent. Many took on a Lenten discipline – perhaps adding or subtracting something in their daily lives. Some diligently accomplished their goals; some wavered, returned, wavered, and returned; others started out strong and lost their way. Whatever your journey was, there is value in the path you took.
And now, on Holy Saturday, we wait. Christ has been crucified and buried. For many years, at St. Christopher’s, we held an Easter Vigil - coming together and sharing of stories of God’s People. If you click on the lectionary link above, you will see that there are LOTS of readings. At the vigil we shared many of them. Some were sung, some were acted out, and some were read. It was a way to revisit the journey that God’s people took from the Garden of Eden to Golgatha.
I believe that the telling of our stories is important. People bond over common experiences, and they grow closer when they reveal personal stories. This has been harder to do over the last two years, but I look forward to returning to in-person activities and reconnecting with God’s People of St. Christopher’s and beyond.
I want to close this reflection project with a prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book. I feel like Lent has been our day, we settle into night, and Easter is the new dawn:
Lord, it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be. The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities. In your name we pray. Amen.
Date: April 15
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/GoodFri_RCL.html
Contributor: Josh Kattelman
Josh chose to respond with an oil painting. This painting will be used in both the Good Friday Liturgy at noon and the Way of the Cross on Friday evening, so you will have a chance to see it in person. Photos never quite do oil paintings justice.
Date: April 14
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/MaundyTh_RCL.html
Contributor: Angela Robinson
We gather as beloved community to share the Collect:
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Mystical Supper
Behold the mysteries of faith
We gather as beloved community
We gather as lovers of the Lord
We gather as Jesus and the disciples did
We share Jesus’ last festival of the Passover
We wash feet as a deep acknowledgement of humility
We feel the love poured out as the wine, unknown to the disciples
It would be blood shed for us
We break the bread, unknown to the disciples
It would be a body broken for us
Behold the mysteries of faith
We gather as beloved community
We gather as followers of Jesus
We gather together to remember and obey the mandatum
This Maundy Thursday
Behold the mysteries of faith
We gather as beloved community
We gather in His name
We gather to share a new commandment,
“…that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Date: April 13
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/HolyWed_RCL.html
Contributor: Chris Mayr
From September to May, I do a daily meditation program based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius entitled CHALLENGE by Mark Link, S. J. As I read today's Gospel, I thought the following was one I would share with you to reflect upon.
"After the Passover meal, Jesus and his disciples sang the "Hallel." No doubt tears flooded their eyes as they did. Jews has been singing it now for over a thousand years. Its words read:
"I am your servant, Lord....
I will give you what I have promised....
I will not die; instead, I will live and proclaim what the Lord has done...
The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.
This was done by the Lord;
what a wonderful sight it is!
This is the day of the Lord's victory;
let us be happy, let us celebrate! "Psalm 1116:16, 19, 118: 17, 22-24
What phrase of the "Hallel" strikes me most as I reread it slowly and reverently, meditating on how it applies in a special way to Jesus as he began his final hours on earth?"
Date: April 12
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/HolyTue_RCL.html
Contributor: Connie Hendrick
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.
I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Schroeder, struggling to explain the difference between a simile and a metaphor to a classroom of nine-year-old students at my parish school. She was a widow with young children and the only “lay teacher” among a sea of Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, so she was accustomed to struggling. Mrs. Schroeder would be proud of me, because I noticed that in Psalm 71, verse 3, we have four metaphors providing images of strength and refuge. Castles and strongholds provide refuge, security, and survival. And the image of a strong rock also sounds comforting to me. But I’m a little disturbed by the metaphor of crag.
The word crag may have a Celtic origin from the Irish crec “rock” and carrac “cliff.” When I picture a crag, words like rugged, steep, broken, rough, projecting come to mind. The word crag produces images of power, but images unlike those evoked by the words castle, stronghold, and strong rock.
I grew up on Lake Michigan in an area where no steep rock faces or cliffs were found. My experience with crags is limited to hiking along the sea cliffs on the shoreline of Lake Superior, especially the majestic expanses of rock above the lake at Split Rock and Palisade Head.
So I’m contemplating the word crag today and remembering that a metaphor is a suggestion of likeness or an analogy. And somehow crag seems to me an apt Lenten metaphor. The word crag reminds me of climbing above Lake Superior, being mindful of the path, and adjusting to the broken and rough terrain. I need to be engaged in the world before me, be thoughtful, and adjust my path while I find a way forward.
Date: April 11
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC_RCL/HolyWk/HolyMon_RCL.html
Contributor: Lyn Lawyer
“Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the poor?”
Today’s Gospel presents an all too familiar dilemma; How best to worship and honor
God with our money. I find it odd that this issue is given to us at the begging of the
most somber week of the church year. It will be a quiet week of reflection and reliving
the story of Christ’s suffering commingled with the preparations for the greatest feast.
Do we celebrate with the banks of flowers, new clothes, fantastic music, big meal? Or
do we take that money and use it to help the poor and the refugees?
There are times when we simply must celebrate. At those moments we do spend cash
that could be used to help the poor, but our souls need to rejoice and honor God in the
best and most beautiful way possible. And that is as important as taking care of the
poor. In other words it is part of the balance of life and very appropriate.
When the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City was being built there was
much conversation around the expense of building such a thing as a Gothic Cathedral
when a simple church would do. And it was explained how the building was to the
glory of God and would be well used to tell the story of our faith. And indeed it has
been so used in many ways. One thing the builders did do which I thought a good
answer was to hire the local folks who had no jobs, taught them stone masonry and
paid them to help build the church. They struck a good balance between building to
the glory of God and helping the poor.
So I would like to suggest that this week we seek a balance in our priorities. Jesus
seems to imply that honoring him in a generous way is on a par with caring for the
poor. Don’t hold back on your Easter celebrations, while keeping those “always with
us” less fortunate folks in mind. How do we include them in the feast?
Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we do not have a reflection today. We will be back on Monday.
Date: April 8
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/WeekdaysOfLent/FridayFifthWeek.html
Contributor: Pippa Lindwright
“The breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.” Psalm 18:4
There is so much fear in the world. Over and over we are told to fear … animals, the weather, future events, other people, failing to live up to our expectations … and the list goes on. Often, we are told we need not fear if we buy this product or that service, and our whole commerce system seems to depend on buying things to guard against our fear. Our minds too, excel at thinking up things we can fear. While perhaps there were solid evolutionary reasons to hear a rustle in the bushes and think “lion” instead of “wind,” it is also true that excess fear can freeze us in place, psychologically and spiritually.
Today’s psalmist pulls no punches and does not try to minimize their fear. They say that “the breakers of death rolled over me, and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.” And truly, isn’t that our ultimate fear? That in death we will find, not God, but oblivion? As Jesus prepares for Palm Sunday, arranging the loan of the donkey and preparing to enter Jerusalem, I wonder how much of his mind focused on the possibility of the “breakers of death” leading to oblivion instead of God. Did he doubt? Did he worry?
Of course, I cannot know for sure what Jesus thought as he approached Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week. But I have faith that like the psalmist any fear he felt was confronted by his faith. After all, as scared as the psalmist is, he has great faith that once his call reaches God, God will come down in power and might to scare off anything troubling the psalmist. And why does God do this? He rescues the psalmist “because he delighted in me.”
In the midst of our fear, we are reminded that we have a God who delights in us, coming to our side, and never leaving us alone. We might face adversity, danger, grief and pain, but we never do so alone. Indeed, we are protected by God’s love, which nothing can overpower. Even when Jesus dies, God’s love will stay with us, constant and sure. There is much to fear in the world, but ultimately, we are reminded that it will not, cannot triumph. We are blessed with a God who became human for us. A God who lived and walked with us, and even debated with those who would stone him, trying to teach them a better way in the midst of their fear and violence (John 10:31-42). So when the breakers of death cause you to fear, worry not. Your God is a strong rock, and you are standing firmly on solid ground.
Date: April 7
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/WeekdaysOfLent/ThursFifthWeek.html
Contributor: Mary Rowe
As I have been witnessing the courage and resiliency of the Ukrainian people over the past few weeks, a line from the collect jumped out at me,
“Arm us with such trust in Him that we may ask no rest from His demands and have no fear in His Service.”
In repenting and turning away from fear and despair, thousands of Ukrainians are choosing to face the evil that is upon them and to face suffering and death rather than to cower. Their trust is in The power of good that will triumph over evil. Their trust is in the victory of our God to bring order and peace out of chaos and darkness. In choosing hope in the face of death, they have chosen life regardless of the immediate outcome.
As Christians we are called to witness the eternal Hope that is ours in Christ Jesus and to always look forward. Thousands of Ukrainians are serving as a cloud of witnesses to us.
My prayer is that they will hold strong in faith, hope, and and in an awareness of God’s spirit with them. When our time of trial comes, I pray that we too will respond with such resolute courage and be acutely aware of the Spirit’s presence in our midst. Amen
Date: April 6
Lectionary Link: https://www.lectionarypage.net/WeekdaysOfLent/WedFifthWeek.html
Contributor: Becky Lucas
Almighty God our heavenly Father, renew in us the gifts of your mercy; increase our faith, strengthen our hope, enlighten our understanding, widen our charity, and make us ready to serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The lessons for today were a struggle for me. I am not sure that if I were with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that I would always have the faith to go into the fire. I can remember as a child wondering why the Jewish people put on the yellow star when they knew the horror they might face by doing so. As an adult I understand the importance of keeping faith and better understand the choices the people of great faith make when facing evil. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had great faith and showed great courage. As they stepped into the fire they had faith that God would be in the fire with them but they had no way of knowing that they would walk out untouched. They might have perished in the fire like millions of people over millennia who stood strong in their faith in the face of evil and perished. In the collect I can see the beauty of it as it gives up to God the prayer to “ renew in us the gifts of your mercy; increase our faith, strengthen our hope, enlighten our understanding, widen our charity”. I see it as a prayer that empowers us to move forward in the uncertainty we face today and I can only imagine that it was words such as this that helped Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego step forward to the flames. It is my prayer that this lent we can hold these words close and ask God to “ renew in us the gifts of his mercy; increase our faith, strengthen our hope, enlighten our understanding, widen our charity”
God be with you.