In these next three days we shall be re-living the events of the Triduum, the three holy days which are the culmination of Lent and Holy Week and the beginning of a newness called Easter. We shall be, as in the words of an old hymn, “standing in the living present, memory and hope between” (i.e., the present is always between memory and hope). So we come to these stories about Jesus, about salvation history in the last days of his life, his death, and the new chapter, new testament that God wrote two thousand years ago.
As many of you know, this has been a year of new experiments in how we minister to the youngest among us at St. Paul's. A notable example is the "Worship and Wonder" children's sermon at the 9 a.m. mass. At the heart of this effort is the knowledge that an age-appropriate homily for a 5-to-9-year-old child looks and sounds very different from our usual Sunday-morning sermon.
Pledging is important! – Stewardship and the 2014 budget
The Vestry approved a 2014 parish budget in January of $863,711 in income and $850,979 in expenditures, for a modest projected surplus of $12,732. Total income is based in great part on projected pledge income of $730,431, a figure that approximates actual 2013 pledge receipts.
This coming Sunday, Lent IV, is more commonly called Rose Sunday, named for the color of the vestments of the day. It is a foretaste of Easter and the Resurrection, and just as in nature it seems to be getting lighter early on and then darkens again before the dawn breaks, so we experience that liturgically. There is a bit more joy and hope expressed, and the Latin name for the day, Laetare (“rejoice”), taken from the Introit, carries that joy.
At 6:40 a.m. and 5:40 p.m. each weekday, St. Paul’s church bell peals throughout the neighborhood, to be followed by the following recitation: “The angel of the Lord announced unto Mary. . .” The rich tone of our bell heralds that, in the center of worldly, urban DC, something unworldly is being unveiled in worship, prayer, and deed, at regular points during the day. The praying of the Angelus is one of the real treasures of the Anglo-Catholic tradition. I find it extremely powerful that this reminder of the Incarnation can mark in a special way the cornerstones of each day. “And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.” Don’t those words send chills down your spine? And wasn’t the Annunciation itself a form of evangelism? Wasn’t Gabriel offering Good News to Mary? No doubt, it was a terrifying revelation to a young, virgin, Palestinian woman over two thousand years ago, but yes, good news indeed!