Today is the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. We recall the conclusion of 40 days after Easter in which Our Lord Ascended to the Father. We prepare for the sending of the Holy Spirit ten days from today at the Feast of Pentecost.
The sermon is titled: “Divine Distancing” and we consider what Ascension means in the life of the faithful.
The service is at 6:30 pm tonight, May 13, 2021.
We are still wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.1
How precious … are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.2 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!3 Thy love is better than wine.4
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.5 Thou art fairer than the children of men.6
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.7 His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.8
What are we to make of things? How should we approach each day? The Psalmist suggests we start with gratitude. Do you want to make a difference? Don’t start with grievances. Start in gratitude and end in joy! Let us bless this and every day!
You may have heard this phrase from Christians celebrating Easter. What does it mean?
It means that Jesus “rose from the dead.”
That is an odd phrase, but it was a unique event. Jesus was not resuscitated, he did not simply heal from the wounds of crucifixion.
Jesus really died and then, on the third day following, he appeared again alive, but with a new kind of life.
Jesus had a physical body, a body that showed the signs of the nails. But his body was “glorified” as St. Paul later described it.
Jesus was able to enter a locked room and to travel apparently instantly from place to place.
Did this really happen? Yes!
Jesus’ resurrected appearances gave his followers confidence to defy authorities that were trying to persecute them. They received energy to carry the news about Jesus throughout the world.
Jesus said that he had come to show us a cure for sin and evil and death. To prove it, he lived a sinless life and defeated evil and death.
Following Jesus, we too can survive death and live with God forever. This is a big deal. We celebrate this event for 50 days from Easter Sunday to the day of Pentecost. Join us in this great feast of the church and find out more.
We meet on Sundays at 10:00am, the pre-service music begins 10 minutes prior.
Cyril is the one we have most to thank for the development of catechetical instruction and liturgical observances during Lent and Holy Week. Born in Jerusalem about 315, Cyril became bishop of that city probably in 349. In the course of political and ecclesiastical disputes, he was banished and restored three times. His Catechetical Lectures on the Christian faith, given before Easter to candidates for Baptism, were probably written by him sometime between 348 and 350.
The work consists of an introductory lecture, or Procatechesis, and eighteen Catecheses based upon the articles of the creed of the Church at Jerusalem, All these lectures (the earliest catechetical materials surviving today) may have been used many times over by Cyril and his successors, and considerably revised in the process. They were probably part of the pre-baptismal instruction that Egeria, a pilgrim nun from western Europe, witnessed at Jerusalem in the fourth century and described with great enthusiasm in the account of her pilgrimage. Many of the faithful would also attend these instructions.
Cyril’s five Mystagogical Catecheses on the Sacraments, intended for the newly baptized after Easter, are now thought to have been composed, or at least revised, by John, Cyril’s successor as Bishop of Jerusalem from 386 to 417.
It is likely that it was Cyril who instituted the observances of Palm Sunday and Holy Week during the latter years of his episcopate in Jerusalem. In doing so, he was taking practical steps to organize devotions for countless pilgrims and local inhabitants around the sacred sites. In time, as pilgrims returned to their homes from Palestine, these services were to influence the development of Holy Week observances throughout the entire Church. Cyril attended the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople, in 381, and died at Jerusalem on March 18, 386.*
Collect of the Day
Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem and Teacher of the Faith, 386
O God, our heavenly Father, you raised up your faithful servant Cyril to be a Bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (dailyoffice2019.com)
Holy week begins on March 28, 2021 this year with Palm Sunday. We open the service with “The Liturgy of the Palms” remembering Our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. Holy week is a time to immerse ourselves in the faith by walking in the Lord’s steps and remembering His life and ministry. Join us for Holy week this year to deepen and transform your faith. The scheduled services are listed on the calendar tab, as well as an entry on this page.
We will be together, with covid precautions, after many months of modified worship. Beginning on Palm Sunday, each service will start at the scheduled time and will be a continuous liturgy. Holy week is remarkable week in the life of the church and each individual believer. The culmination of this week for centuries was the Easter Eve vigil. We continue that tradition and invite you to experience the many blessings this week bestows upon the faithful.
*Church Publishing. Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Kindle Locations 3805-3819). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.*
Patrick was born into a Christian family somewhere on the northwest coast of Britain in about 390. His grandfather had been a Christian priest and his father, Calpornius, a deacon. Calpornius was an important official in the late Roman imperial government of Britain. It was not unusual in this post-Constantinian period for such state officials to be in holy orders. When Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by a band of Irish slave-raiders. He was carried off to Ireland and forced to serve as a shepherd. When he was about twenty-one, he escaped and returned to Britain, where he was educated as a Christian. He tells us that he took holy orders as both presbyter and bishop, although no particular see is known as his at this time. A vision then called him to return to Ireland. This he did about the year 431.
Tradition holds that Patrick landed not far from the place of his earlier captivity, near what is now known as Downpatrick (a “down” or “dun” is a fortified hill, the stronghold of a local Irish king). He then began a remarkable process of missionary conversion throughout the country that continued until his death, probably in 461. He made his appeal to the local kings and through them to their tribes. Christianizing the old pagan religion as he went, Patrick erected Christian churches over sites already regarded as sacred, had crosses carved on old druidic pillars, and put sacred wells and springs under the protection of Christian saints.
Many legends of Patrick’s Irish missionary travels possess substrata of truth, especially those telling of his conversion of the three major Irish High Kings. At Armagh, he is said to have established his principal church. To this day, Armagh is regarded as the primatial see of all Ireland.
Two works are attributed to Patrick: an autobiographical Confession, in which he tells us, among other things, that he was criticized by his contemporaries for lack of learning, and a Letter to Coroticus, a British chieftain. The Lorica or St. Patrick’s Breastplate (“ I bind unto myself today”) is probably not his, but it expresses his faith and zeal.
*Church Publishing. Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Kindle Locations 3761-3789). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Here is an excerpt from the Song of the Three Young Men, part of the Old Testament Book of Daniel in some versions.
Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers; *
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you forever.
Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; *
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you forever.
Glory to you, beholding the depths; *
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you forever.
There is a lot of Old Testament imagery here, but what comes through strongly is the unqualified praise for God. There is no description too great for him.
What a contrast with our daily life! Famous people in political life, sports, entertainment, even in the Church, fail, disappoint, even get entangled in scandal. God alone is worthy of unlimited praise forever. If you want to follow someone, pick God. Here is some good news: God wants to live with you forever! Join us and find out more. Our Sunday liturgy begins at 10:00 am.
A prayer for the Tuesday that follows the third Sunday in Lent:
Heavenly Father, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look with compassion upon the heartfelt desires of your servants, and purify our disordered affections, that we may behold your eternal glory in the face of Christ Jesus; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is good news! God has made us for himself, to live with him forever. That is why our hearts are restless until they rest in God (the phrase comes from St. Augustine, who wrote around 400 A.D.). The way to God is both easy and hard. God draws us and wants us by to live with him, but we must be willing to let him purify our disordered affections, our pride and misplaced priorities. We must become humble and obedient, but humility and obedience are appropriate when confronting the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Remember to Spring Forward by one hour this Saturday night! Otherwise you will be late for our 10:00 am to Noon liturgy.