Growing up in central Pennsylvania in the ‘fifties, and attending a non-liturgical church, I thought it pretty cool to be given a palm branch once a year, and to shout words like “Hosanna”. I had seen lots of snow (the “old days” always had more snow), but never a palm tree. I have now seen palm trees, and still like to receive a frond, but truly enjoy walking, singing, and making an arch for people to walk under-better than just sitting in a pew holding the palm branch and wondering if I could reach to tickle a friend.
In our services at St. Paul’s, we hold few solid physical items that evoke significant events in the life of Christ, but two of them-the palm on Palm Sunday, and the touching of the cross on Good Friday-prepare us for the next step. The next item-the stone that was rolled aside-is only in our prayers or imagination, but it leads to the life in Christ.
May your palm branch call forth memories of earlier Palm Sundays in your life, and prepare you for Holy Week.
In deep peace,
For a full schedule of Holy Week at St. Paul’s please click here.
The music for Palm Sunday helps orient us to the coming days of Holy Week. We remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as we carry palms in procession and sing “All glory, laud, and honor to thee, redeemer king,” a ninth-century hymn that echoes the hosannas that Jesus heard. Our thoughts, this side of the resurrection, also recall how fickle those voices were, and indeed how fragile our own can be. At the gradual we sing “Ride on, ride on in majesty,” another beloved hymn closely associated with Jesus’s entry. During communion we will sing “My song is love unknown,” a moving meditation on Jesus’s work on the cross: “Love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be.” We conclude with a reprise of the epistle, “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,” a reminder of our Lord’s present kingship: as we will recount on Good Friday, “it is finished,” and Jesus reigns now.
The choir will sing Handel’s passion-related chorus “Surely he hath borne our griefs” from The Messiah. Its text: “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows! He was wounded For our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
This Week in Church School
This week in church school the children are learning about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we have come to call “Palm Sunday.” They’ll be participating in the whole parish Procession of Palms at the start of 10:30 worship, but then will proceed to their classrooms to finish out the morning in more age-appropriate discussion of the day’s events. The littlest ones will make some paper donkey puppets, K-2nd graders will make plasticene models of some of the items in the story (donkeys, palms, cloaks), and older elementary kids will play a game that involves putting the events of Holy Week in proper sequence. Meanwhile, Rite 13 examines the story in a more grown-up way and J2A finishes up their sequence on confirmation.
This Sunday’s Announcements
This morning we welcome The Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace as celebrant. Rev. Blaine-Wallace will also celebrate all services during Holy Week here at St. Paul’s. He is the Multifaith Chaplain at Bates College, and served at Emmanuel Church in Boston for thirteen years. For almost three decades, Bill has acted as a family therapist, spiritual director, and a hospice administrator.
Becoming an Episcopalian: Bishop Lane will be at St. Paul’s on April 14 to confirm and receive new Episcopalians and recognize those choosing to reaffirm vows made at an earlier time in their lives. EXPLORE classes are preparation for those making that commitment or for anyone wanting to learn more about the Episcopal Church. The classes conclude on April 7. Deacon Mary Lee will present the Baptismal Covenant from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m.
A light lunch will be provided.
The Bishop is coming! On April 14th, Bishop Stephen Lane will be present to celebrate the Eucharist at two worship services–our 9:30 Family Worship upstairs in the new church school/choir space, and 10:30 in the main sanctuary. He’ll be confirming teens and adults that day at the later service and will be present for a reception after 10:30 worship. Please join us for this very special day!
Easter Flower memorial envelopes are available in the pews. Please PRINT the necessary information and place the envelope in the plate or return it to the church office by Sunday, March 24.
Maundy Thursday (the Thursday of Holy Week) is the day in which we commemorate Jesus’ last supper and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. In keeping with that tradition, it is customary for churches to strip the main altar of decoration and place any reserved sacrament in a “garden of repose,” a beautifully decorated altar outside the main worship area, where it is kept until Easter morning. Members of the parish are then asked to “keep watch” over the body of Christ as it rests in the “garden”–taking turns praying or meditating near the garden from the end of Thursday’s service (roughly 8p.m.) until midnight that night. If you would like to take a turn keeping watch, sign-ups are available on the church bulletin board in the main hallway. You may sign up for one half-hour shift, or the entire evening until midnight. Please consider joining in this deeply meaningful commemoration of Christ’s agony in the garden.
Women’s Group will not meet this week, regular meetings will resume April 4 at 2 p.m.
A Hearty Invitation from our Earth Care Commission – to protect and preserve God’s creation. Dr. Paul Mayewski, Director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, will speak on Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium at Bowdoin College. Three Brunswick churches, including St. Paul’s Earth Care Commission, Bowdoin College and the United Nations Association of Maine are the sponsors. Dr. Mayewski, a scientist and mountaineer, will discuss climate change realities and opportunities and what earth’s most remote places tell us about the state of our world and our future. The discovery of abrupt changes in the climate system have revolutionized climate science thinking. Please don’t miss this evening.
St. Paul’s is on its second season of hosting the Gathering Place in the Great Hall during the colder months of the year. The Gathering Place is unable to use its current location due to building issues for the next few months. We have agreed to host the Gathering Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-3, meaning that we are extending our welcome to the three middle days of the week.
Warden’s Office Hours Pat Ryan or Terry Leitzell will be in the office Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon for a number of weeks. Please drop in, say hello, provide advice, or volunteer for one of the needs we see in this next transition period. Personal contact with you will sustain us.
Listening Post Bill Blaine-Wallace, our priest for the next few weeks, will offer a “listening post” on Monday and Tuesday evenings (March 25 & 26), 6 to 8p.m., in the rector’s office. The listening post is a time for parishioners to be in conversation together about the changes and transitions that are presently shaping our life together. Bill also is available some evenings for individual conversations when and if parishioners desire or need to meet with him. Bill’s cell is 781.307.8288.