On Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship, eight leaders of St. Paul’s and I will be giving instruction about the meaning of the sacrament of Holy Eucharist and its ancient roots. I hope you’ll join us! Our 9:30 a.m. Family Worship congregation will receive copies of the booklets, even though we are committed to being paperless!
I want to thank the Rev. Mary Lee Wile for collaborating with me on the booklet and helping with the instruction during worship. And thank you Peter McCracken, Andree Appel, Cristle Judd, Bob Judd, Macauley Lord, Julia Walkling and Emily Levine for volunteering to help with the instruction. There won’t be a sermon on Sunday; just a brief, 2 minute homily, so we’ll have plenty of time for instruction and worship all at the same time! My goal is that the instruction provides enlightenment and inspiration for our weekly assembly as a Body of Christ around God’s table. I hope that the instruction this Sunday will enrich your participation in worship as we draw to the end of Lent and consider Holy Week and Easter observances. I also hope that you might want to share some of the meaning with others, family and friends.
In today’s email, I am reprinting some of the information found in the Introduction page of the Instructed Eucharist booklet that you will receive on Sunday:
Since the time of the Last Supper, Christians have gathered together each Sunday for the “breaking of bread and the prayers” of the Church. The Eucharist has been celebrated in every conceivable way, formally and informally, in freedom and under persecution, with two or three, or thousands upon thousands. You should join us Sunday at 8:00am if you enjoy quiet, meditative early morning worship. Or Sunday at 9:30am in the “Upper Room” where we encourage young families and youth to help us celebrate Christ’s feast. We call this “Family Worship where we praise God with our outdoor voices!” Or you’ll find traditional worship with our St. Paul’s choir and hymn-singing and chanting on Sunday at 10:30am.
At St. Paul’s, the Holy Eucharist is the central act of our life as a Christian community. “Eucharist” is from an ancient Greek word that means “thanksgiving.” In the Eucharist we bring our thanks to God as we receive God’s gift of himself. We hear the proclamation of the Gospel, the Good News of Christ’s saving love. We respond in prayer and praise, and experience the forgiveness of sins; and in obedience to the command of Jesus, we take bread and wine and share them in remembrance of him. When we eat the bread and drink the wine of the Eucharist, we are nourished and renewed by the Body and Blood of the Lord.
The Eucharist is more than a glance back into history or a social gathering. It is a meeting with Christ. That is why we speak of it as a celebration. It is a celebration of God’s self-giving love, and of all that God has done to demonstrate that love in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a celebration of Christ’s presence with us now, and the confidence he gives us for the future. In the Eucharist we learn more
of the meaning of the past as it becomes a reality for us today, and we gain new hope for the future because we already grasp something of the loving purposes of God.
The liturgy of the Holy Eucharist falls into two distinct parts. The word “liturgy” is from a Greek word that means the “work of the people.” The first part, the Liturgy of the Word, has its focus in the Holy Scriptures. The Risen Lord is proclaimed and revealed as we sing, read, pray, and listen to God’s Holy Word. In the second part of the Holy Eucharist, which we call the Holy Communion, Christ makes himself known in the action he instituted at the Last Supper when he took bread and wine, blessed them and gave them to his disciples.
I am looking forward to this special time of worship and instruction on Sunday!
See you in church,
A Note on Sunday’s Music
Sunday’s 10:30 worship includes several hymns with the “lift up” theme drawn from the Gospel reading (John 12:32), “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” Our service begins with a set of character pieces from a little-known French composer from the late seventeenth century that call us to a worshipful frame of mind. Our first hymn is “My faith looks up to thee,” written by Ray Palmer about 1830. It is a prayer for forgiveness, the gift of grace, and restoration. At the gradual we sing “We walk by faith, and not by sight,” written by Henry Alford (1844). It is a prayer for faith: “Help then, O Lord, our unbelief, and may our faith abound.” At the offertory the choir sings the spiritual “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” a reminder of God’s provision for us: Jesus, provided to save us, and save all who are wounded. At the communion we sing “When Christ was lifted from the earth,” written by Brian Wren about 1980. Its theme is God’s love for all, as unique individuals. God “loves us as we are”; where “generation, class, or race divide us to our shame,” God sees “a face, a person, a name.” Our final hymn is “Lift high the cross,” written by George Kitchin about 1887. It is a processional proclamation of the “triumph of the cross,” the victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, as well as a prayer that the promise of John 12:32 be fulfilled: “as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee.” We conclude worship with a setting by the early eighteenth-century composer Francois Couperin that cries out an emphatic “Lord, have mercy!”
TODAY, March 22
• 8:00 & 10:30 “An Instructed Eucharist.” The Rector, Deacon, and members of the parish lead the congregation in worship that is explained.
• 9:30 a.m. St. Paul’s Family Worship, where we praise God with our outdoor voices! Church School: Lions and Eagles-Godly Play “Jesus’ last Passover.”
• 2:00 p.m. A benefit fundraiser for the Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden. Admission is $10. Seating is limited. Tickets are available at the door.
• 4:00 p.m. Lenten Evensong led by St. Paul’s Choir, refreshments and fellowship time to follow.
Note: Limited tech help will be offered by one of our teens after the 8:00 and 10:30 services. Please bring your Mac product (iPad, iPhone, laptop) or other smartphone, along with any questions you might have.
FUTURE DATES. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Sunday, March 29, 12:30 p.m. Middle and High School students are invited to the Rector’s home for conversation, pizza and make-your-own sundaes.
Women’s Bible Study and Lunch. Taking a midwinter break and will resume Tuesday, April 7.
Hot Cross Buns are back! Orders taken today. The high school youth group will be making and baking hot cross buns for delivery on Palm Sunday, March 29, as part of the fundraising toward their 2016 journey to the Dominican Republic. The cost is $5 for a box of 4 buns. Orders will be taken today after the worship services. Thank you for your support!
Window Dresser Project. St. Paul’s Church will once again be the sponsor church for the 2015 Window Dresser Project. Many of us that took advantage of these window inserts are quite happy that we had this added protection this winter. If you are interested in more information about these inserts or would like to have your windows measured, please contact the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Measuring is scheduled to begin in June with our build scheduled for the week of September 28.
Observing Lent at St. Paul’s
Sunday, March 22, 10:15-11:00 a.m. Blessing our Children. This Sunday completes a five-part informal small group facilitated by Linda Ashe-Ford. Meetings will be held in the Library. Blessing our Children is an important topic for parents, but it is also appropriate for anyone (grandparents and caretakers of all kinds) who deal with children. The group will discuss the biblical history of blessing as well as various ways in which we can bless our children today. Coffee, tea, and simple snacks will be available for this adult time together in an informal setting.
Tuesdays, March, 24. Lenten Supper, Study and Sharing. Supper (5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and forum with discussion (6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.). Presenter: Macauley Lord (candlelight reflection). Our Lenten book selection is Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus, by Michael Curry, the Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina. This is a book about “radical discipleship.”