Wednesday, April 21, 2010

playing catch up

where on earth have i been? working hard, and sending out regular weekly blasts to the crossing community ... but NOT posting them here. sorry for the silence -- to catch up, allow me to post the highlights from the last month's blasts:

Christ is risen! The Lord is risen, indeed -- alleluia! For the last six weeks, lots of Christians have "buried the alleluias" -- holding back on celebration in order to walk the hard road with Jesus, the road that led to the cross. But at Saturday night's Soulful Easter Vigil, we let it all go (check out attached pics to see the glory for yourself). The "alleluias" flowed and the Spirit was high.

Now we're in the season of Eastertide: 50 days of celebrating resurrection and looking for the risen Christ in the world around us. There's one place where he's told us we can find him: whenever we give water to the one who is thirsty, whenever we clothe those who are exposed, whenever we serve alongside people who are struggling (believe it: click here to read Matthew 25:34-40). And there's an amazing way our whole community is stepping up to meet Jesus in just that way: joining the Hope in Action campaign for economic and social justice in the Boston area. The details are below, but the short story is this:

Saturday, April 10 @ 12-4pm
Copley Square (come into Trinity Church-Copley if it rains)

As part of Hope in Action, dozens of people at The Crossing are committing 1% of our time and/or money to a cause close to our hearts: creating sanctuary and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who are homeless or at-risk and supporting transgender civil rights legislation at the State House. Please come out on Saturday to build energy and decide how we'll make an impact as a community that's seriously following the Risen One into new worlds.

POSTED TUES. IN HOLY WEEK: "Holy Ground, Holy Week"
We are walking on holy ground. This is Holy Week -- the week Christians all over the world turn our attention to Jesus, to the cross, to the hope for transformation, salvation and new life. Holy Week began on Sunday with Palm Sunday (the crowds threw palms as Jesus made his triumphant yet ironic entry on a donkey into Jerusalem, a center of the Roman Empire's power). Monday-Wednesday tend to be the quiet days. But tomorrow, Thursday, the Triduum begins. Triduum literally means three days, and it's no exaggeration to say these three days -- really three nights -- completely changed the world:

** On Maundy Thursday, Jesus gathers his friends for a final Agape Meal and washes their feet. We will do the same. On Thursday at 6pm, in lieu of our usual worship, we will share an Agape Meal and foot-washing with the four communities that call St. Paul's Cathedral home: The Crossing, the Sunday morning congregation, the Episcopal Boston Chinese Ministry and Common Cathedral. Come share the love of Christ with our amazing extended family!

** On Good Friday, the temple and state authorities set their plot in motion and take Jesus' life. We will have the opportunity to witness and grieve at the cross on Friday at noon, when The Cathedral hosts a 3-hour vigil service of prayer, preaching, glorious music, outdoor veneration of the cross and Eucharist. Three women -- Bishop Barbara Harris (first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion), Tina Rathbone and our own Stephanie Spellers -- will preach on "Women at the Cross."

** On Holy Saturday night, Jesus rises from the grave and tells a new ending to the story, and life begins again. The Crossing community will celebrate that story, and usher in that new life, with our Soulful Easter Vigil at 7-9pm this Saturday. We begin in the basement of the church, returning to the catacombs with the early Christians to tell the old, old stories in a new way. Then we make our way upstairs, into light, into resurrection. And isn't that what we've all been waiting for? Bring friends to share this unforgettable night.

** On Easter Sunday, the world woke up to a new day. By all means, go to church that morning (Cathedral services at 10am). That evening, you're welcome to an Easter Feast at Rev. Steph's house in Cambridge at 7-9:30pm. RSVP by Saturday at 10am. Details are below.

There is no way to fully inhabit the despair and loss or the glory and surprise of these three days. But we can walk through them, praying to be fully aware, taking it all in, carving out time to go to the cross and the tomb and beyond with Jesus. I will see you there ...

Want more info about the Triduum? Frank Logue's booklet on Lent.

"Falling Down and Getting Up"
It is the week before Holy Week. I always approach this time with great anticipation: What will God reveal in the week to come? How will I humbly, prayerfully walk in Jesus’ footsteps? How deeply will the week’s beautiful and heart-breaking liturgies take all of us into what the church calls the “Paschal Mystery”: the arc of Jesus’ radiant life, his suffering in solidarity with everyone who has ever suffered, his death the hands of the domination system, and his rising by the power of God?

The conclusion of Lent tends to bring a whole other set of questions: How did I fall short during this holy season of intention? How do I participate in the narcissistic, domination systems that crucified God on earth? As we move through the days and week ahead, gently let yourself move into these questions. Be honest. Ask for a new heart. And hold this song close to your heart: :
“We Fall Down.” It’s a gospel song by Donnie McClurkin, and it never fails to reassure me of God's mercy. Click the link to listen and pray, or meditate on the simple words below:

We fall down, but we get up
We fall down, but we get up
We fall down, but we get up
For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up

It’s not too late to run back into his arms
You can get back up again
Run into his arms
For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up

You will fall down. There is no way to avoid it in this life. Perhaps the biggest question is not, "How have I fallen?" but "Will I let God raise me back up again?" That’s the promise that carries us, the hope we’re living for, throughout the season of Lent.


Blessings all around,
Rev. Steph

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