|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on April 1, 2020 at 11:45 AM|
Dear St. Alban’s:
As we approach the central days of the Church year, I invite you on a sacred journey. This Sunday we begin a period of very intentional contemplation of what the Prayer Book calls “those mighty acts, whereby God has given us life and immortality.” Following the tradition of the ancient Church, we will walk together with Jesus through the key events of the last week of his earthly life: his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; gathering with his disciples on Maundy Thursday; his death on Good Friday; and his Resurrection on Easter. But we do so this year with the knowledge that our worship will be unavoidably different from what we usually do in observance of these sacred days.
One of the aspects of our current situation that is very painful is that we will not be celebrating Holy Eucharist together for a while. Our original plans for Holy Week included ten different Eucharists during Holy Week! It’s especially hard to imagine Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday without Holy Communion. Some churches are continuing to offer Holy Eucharist with only the small number of people present receiving, and that is a faithful response to the challenging question of how to continue worshiping during this time of mandated social distance. But Kevin and I have decided that until we are able to gather in person, we will worship in other ways. We feel that the sacrament of Holy Eucharist is meant to be shared by the whole Body of Christ, not just a small subset. And we are fortunate to have the rich liturgical heritage of other kinds of services from which to pull for however long we must. This approach has been affirmed by our Presiding Bishop and I commend his pastoral letter to you.
The joy of Easter means so much more when we’ve walked with Jesus through the sorrows of Holy Week, so I encourage you to join us online for as many of our services as you are able. Yes, it will be different this year. But let us remember that the first Easter was a far cry from our typical celebrations. To quote a fellow clergyperson, The Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath, “The first Easter didn’t happen at a church. It happened outside of an empty tomb, while all the disciples were sequestered in a home, grief-stricken and wondering what was going on. So, we’re all going to be keeping things pretty Biblical this Easter.” I hope you’ll join us for Holy Week and Easter—we need these holy days now as much as we ever have.
Yours in Christ,