Apr 16, 2017
Through Death to Life: Easter Day

As of the conclusion of the service on Holy Thursday, our worship life had moved toward starkness and silence, the silence of death.

Today, that all changes. Every stop is to be pulled out. Everything removed is returned to its place. Flowers may abound. Music may become lavish. Today, we move from sorrow to rejoicing, from silence to loud praise, from death to life. In the words of the Orthodox Easter Troparion alluded to in today’s suggested Great Thanksgiving, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, to those in the tombs restoring life.” And we rejoice.

Today’s service, themed “The Dawning,” begins by walking with Mary Magdalene on her journey from grief and fear to boldly proclaiming the Resurrection of Christ to his other disciples. The sermon follows the Easter Proclamation and singing, and concludes with Mary’s proclamation followed by more singing in which we confess and declare the Resurrection together.

From the singing we move immediately into a joyous Great Thanksgiving. The service concludes with more bold Easter music and a sending forth with joy. It is customary in many churches to conclude such Easter services with the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. A link to a score you may freely reproduce for congregational singing is included.

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  • Apr 16, 2017Through Death to Life: Easter Day
    Apr 16, 2017
    Through Death to Life: Easter Day

    As of the conclusion of the service on Holy Thursday, our worship life had moved toward starkness and silence, the silence of death.

    Today, that all changes. Every stop is to be pulled out. Everything removed is returned to its place. Flowers may abound. Music may become lavish. Today, we move from sorrow to rejoicing, from silence to loud praise, from death to life. In the words of the Orthodox Easter Troparion alluded to in today’s suggested Great Thanksgiving, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, to those in the tombs restoring life.” And we rejoice.

    Today’s service, themed “The Dawning,” begins by walking with Mary Magdalene on her journey from grief and fear to boldly proclaiming the Resurrection of Christ to his other disciples. The sermon follows the Easter Proclamation and singing, and concludes with Mary’s proclamation followed by more singing in which we confess and declare the Resurrection together.

    From the singing we move immediately into a joyous Great Thanksgiving. The service concludes with more bold Easter music and a sending forth with joy. It is customary in many churches to conclude such Easter services with the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. A link to a score you may freely reproduce for congregational singing is included.

  • Apr 9, 2017Through Death to Life: Palm Sunday
    Apr 9, 2017
    Through Death to Life: Palm Sunday

    We hear and feel the juxtaposition of violence, love, and hope dramatically in the contrast between the processions that begin and end this service.

    We begin with Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem, met with both joyous expectation by some, and curious or hostile wonder by others. We conclude with the reading of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ procession to his place of execution and what unfolds there.

  • Apr 2, 2017Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Believe
    Apr 2, 2017
    Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Believe
    Today is the fifth Sunday in the Lenten series, “Living the Baptismal Calling.” Today’s focus is on the last baptismal question, the call to profess, with the church, the faith of the whole church “into” our Triune God. The idea of faith “into” comes from the New Testament and the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds themselves. The most frequent way the New Testament describes the nature of our faith is not “faith in” (i.e., giving intellectual assent to), but rather “faith into” (meaning, entrusting ourselves entirely to). That is why the phrasing of the questions preceding each of the three articles of the Apostles’ Creed in the Entrance of this service is “do you entrust your life to” rather than “do you believe in.”
  • Mar 26, 2017Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Nurture
    Mar 26, 2017
    Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Nurture
    Today is the fourth Sunday in the Lenten series, “Living the Baptismal Calling.” Today’s focus is on the fourth and eighth baptismal questions: To parents and sponsors: Will you nurture these children/persons in Christ’s holy Church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life? 
  • Mar 19, 2017Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Confess
    Mar 19, 2017
    Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Confess
    Today is the third Sunday in the Lenten series, “Living the Baptismal Calling.” Today’s focus is on the third and fifth baptismal questions: “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his
  • Mar 12, 2017Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Accept
    Mar 12, 2017
    Living Out Your Baptismal Calling: Accept
    Today is the second Sunday in the Lenten series, “Living the Baptismal Calling.” Today’s focus is on the second baptismal question: “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?”
  • Feb 26, 2017The Great Invitation: Shine!
    Feb 26, 2017
    The Great Invitation: Shine!
    Today we exult in the vision of God’s exaltation of Jesus and in anticipation of our own transfiguration now and in the age to come. That hope, that vision, drives us not to stay where we are on the mountaintop, but to get into the valley of sin and suffering and be a healing and formative presence for all who seek God’s salvation with us in the weeks of Lent that lie ahead. 
  • Feb 19, 2017The Great Invitation: And Now, Your Reward
    Feb 19, 2017
    The Great Invitation: And Now, Your Reward
    Blessings are a gift of God in God’s kingdom. Rewards are the result of living more fully into the ways of God’s kingdom, or as we might say, “growing in holiness of heart and life.” Jesus reminds us of ways we can stay on or stray from the trail God’s kingdom blazes for us in this life.  
  • Feb 12, 2017The Great Invitation: This, Not That
    Feb 12, 2017
    The Great Invitation: This, Not That
    Last week, we were introduced to the righteousness that fulfills the law and prophets. On this sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, we start to see exactly what that entails, as Jesus shows us the contrast between how the law and prophets are normally interpreted on a variety of issues related to interpersonal relationships and then gives us his own.
  • Feb 5, 2017The Great Invitation: Salt, Light in Abundance
    Feb 5, 2017
    The Great Invitation: Salt, Light in Abundance
    On this fifth Sunday after Epiphany, we are introduced to the nature of the righteousness Jesus teaches, a righteousness made possible by the coming of the kingdom of God.