Holy Week and Easter at St. Mary’s

Beginning next Sunday, Christians all over the world enter the most sacred time of the year, Holy Week. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and continues until we arrive at the New Creation of Easter morning! All the fullness of Christian faith is anchored and turns on the events of Holy Week and Easter. We hope that you join in this great pilgrimage through the week and enter into the great mystery of the Passover of Jesus Christ from death to life. Here are the services of Holy Week and Easter that mark our pilgrimage:

Sunday, April 14, Palm Sunday, the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Both our 9 a.m. service in Little St. Mary’s and our 11 a.m. service in New St. Mary’s include the Liturgy of the Palms signifying Jesus’ triumphant and last entrance into Jerusalem. The center of this service focuses on a dramatic reading of the Passion Gospel narrative, read in parts describing the concluding days and hours of Jesus life.

Thursday, April 18, Maundy Thursday, 5:30 p.m. in New St. Mary’s:  The Maundy Thursday liturgy enacts that Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples and includes a footwashing, Holy Eucharist, and the Stripping of the Altar. Even if you would prefer not to come forward to have your feet washed, we hope that you join with your sisters and brothers to hear Jesus’ final farewell in his commandment to ‘love one another as I have loved you’.

Friday, April 19, Good Friday, 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in New St. Mary’s: In the Good Friday liturgy, the people of God are called to gather together at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, Holy Saturday/Great Easter Vigil, 7 p.m. in New St. Mary’s:  The ancient liturgy of the Church begins outside in the churchyard with the kindling of fire for the first light of Easter. The service continues in New St. Mary’s with the proclamation of God’s Saving Story of love from our first beginnings until today. Then we celebrate the First Eucharist of the Resurrection of Jesus!

Sunday, April 21, Easter Day!  ‘Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!’: Two celebratory, festive liturgies of the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus will be celebrated in New St. Mary’s at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.  We celebrate Holy Baptisms at both services to welcome new lambs into the flock of Christ. An Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the parish follows the 11 a.m. in the churchyard!

The Gift of Prayer

Weekly Reflection , Sunday, March 31, 2019

By: David May, Rector

I’ve been living with an image this Lent. It’s an image from childhood of me stepping into a small stream of water, barefooted. My feet sink into the silty bottom and stir up all those tiny particles and turn the water cloudy. Then I watch as gradually the water clears and I can see down to the bottom.

For me, an image like this is one of the ways I find myself drawn into prayer with God; where my spirit and God’s Spirit confer, heart to heart. That last part of the image – watching the water come clear again – is what I’m living with these days. My experience of being settled on the Northern Neck, and then suddenly, being wrenched out and plunked down in a new life here stirred up a lot of silt and made the water really cloudy! But gradually, it’s clearing, and I can see deeper now. This Lent, I’ve been still to let my spirit confer with God’s Spirit, heart to heart, to watch the cloudy water clear.

It’s hard for me to remember how important it is to spend this life-giving time with God; to pray with God. But more and more, I find that if I don’t allow God to draw me in, to incline my heart to God’s then something important in me becomes arid, stale, and lifeless.

This time has been a new gift and a reminder that prayer is not a conversation that I have to begin with clever words to entice God to respond. No, God has already begun the conversation, already spoken, and waits patiently for me to answer. A very wise person once encouraged me by saying, ‘just pray your life, whatever it is, with God’. That’s exactly right.

This gift of prayer, of letting our spirits confer with God’s, to draw heart to heart with the one who made us and will always love us, somehow settles the cloudiness that the ‘cares and occupations’ of the day stir up.

My prayer for each of us is to pray your life, let your spirit be drawn to God’s in holy conference, heart to heart. Receive that gift to let us see deeper, past the surface, into the depth of the clearing waters.