Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Very Holy Week

I know it's a little late, but I've been intentionally away from the computer, recovering from what was for me a very powerful and draining Holy Week.
We made the decision to "do" all of HW in the gym where we have our Sunday services - and which also serves as living quarters for the volunteers who come to help our community. We convert their dining area into church every Sunday. We could have used some other local churches, as we did at Christmas and for our Bishop's visit, but there was no where we could go consistently all week, and I thought it too confusing to mix things up. So, with the great help of the Camp Coast Care folks, and with lots of hard work, we declared the gym as holy and sacred in time and space for HW. I think it worked wonderfully well.
We had Eucharist Mon and Tue, then on Wed we did Holy Eucharist with Healing. Formerlly this service was a huge part of who we were at St Patricks, very well attended on Wed evenings, gospel music, healing, Eucharist, then a shared meal. We have missed it terribly (me, especially, for I could truly relax and worship during that service). So we brought it back. Unfortunately, all the HW services were lightly attended by our folks, it was spring break for all the public schools so many were traveling, but also folks here are just plain worn out - and perhaps not really ready to walk to the cross this year. The service, though, was great and we will figure out ways to continue it.
Maundy Thursday was powerful and draining and spiritual. Most of the volunteers joined us (as they would the rest of HW) and washing their feet had special significance to me. We managed to dim lights and strip the altar and hold a watch at the altar of repose in the school building next door.
Two Good Friday services (I used the GF liturgy at noon and at 6) were very powerful to me, although again very lightly attended. I think I do my best preaching on Good Friday. But again, that service was probably too much for our folks to handle right now.
The Easter Vigil was glorious. We rearranged the chairs on the gym floor to focus on the center, where we placed the font. We lit the new fire and processed in with candles. We did 4 lessons, all presented by story tellers, instead of just reading them - they acted them out and put them in their own words. This was a major hit! I preached without a text, not knowing what I would say until I got up. Then we baptized 4 - one infant and 3 others from 15 to 7 years old. That was fantastic! Then it was time for the Alleluia's, we had stage spot lights that once the 3rd Alleluia rang out, came on and illuminated the altar, which was beautifully decorated. We even have a new "reredos", a cloth to match the seasonal color hanging on piping behind the altar. Folks - it looked like CHURCH in there! Bells rang and the lights came on and we welcomed the Easter season.
Easter Sunday was great, lots of faces I haven't seen in a while, wonderful music, an Easter egg hunt afterwards.
Then it was time to collapse! This was HARD to pull off. I have a brand new secretary, so creating bulletins for all these services was a chore. Working with the camp folks and trying to get my own setup folks a vision for each service was challenging. I moved lots of chairs, etc. Yet it proved to be a HW to remember......
If you care to hear the sermons, they are all posted here - just click the Sermons link.

Soon I will post on a most interesting travel week - and remind me to tell you about a couple of dreams. My friend Larry, see post below, was prominent in both of them.

2 comments:

St. Casserole said...

Get plenty of rest. Oh? Who am I kidding? Life in the Zone means no rest, more work groups, normal ministry troubles and distressed parishoners.

At least, take a break.

Praying for you.

Michelle Webster ohiofreebird@yahoo.com said...

Dear David, I'd love to hear more "Larry stories." Also, can you help me locate any of Larry's sermons???
His former secretary at St. James told me that some of Larry's classmates are discussing publishing his sermons. Are you a part of this effort? If so, will you please add me to the mailing list for the first copies?
If you would contact me, I'd appreciate it. 330-459-1258