Thursday, April 13, 2017

Collect for Easter Sunday

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection,
may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We have now entered the Triduum Sacrum, the three holy days that commemorate the Last Supper, passion and death of Christ. Although Jesus was crucified like a common criminal, he never behaved like one. Even from the cross he forgave his enemies and revealed a kind of love that is beyond our own. While we stand grieving with his mother, disciples and friends at the foot of the cross, we also prepare ourselves for the miracle of Resurrection. Death does not have the final word.

Our Agape meal tonight is at 6 p.m. in the Guild Room with our Maundy Thursday Service at 7 p.m. in the Church. “Maundy” comes from the Latin “Mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment,” Jesus’s command to his disciples that they love one another. This beautiful liturgy includes the washing of feet, the celebration of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper, as well as the stripping of the altar. Following the service, we hold a silent vigil by candlelight with the Reserved Sacrament at the Altar of Repose.

Our Good Friday Service at noon includes a reading of the Passion according to the Gospel of John, the Solemn Collects, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson will be our preacher. At 3 p.m. our bell will toll for five minutes, the traditional time of Jesus’ death. Our Westminster Chimes will not sound again until Easter Sunday.

On Easter Sunday morning, the liturgical color for our vestments and altar hangings is now white and both services proclaim Christ’s resurrection with great rejoicing and numerous “Alleluias!” The Instrumental prelude for the 10:15 a.m. Easter Service will begin at 10 a.m. We are honored to have Laurie Carney, a Violin Professor at Manhattan School of Music and member of The American String Quartet join Bob Sirota, piano, to perform movements from the Bach Sonata #3 in E major as part of the prelude and communion music. The Saint John’s Festival Choir will be singing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ anthem on “At the Name of Jesus” at the Offertory, with the Congregation joining in on the 6th and 7th verses. And we are delighted that Elijah Henderson Smith, Jah’nasia Smith, Asisi Bellini and Samora Henderson will all be baptized at this service, the newest members of Christ’s church on earth. What a glorious Easter Sunday!

This is my first Holy Week and Easter in Yonkers. I feel so honored to be here with you at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Getty Square. May the Resurrected Christ fill your life with Easter joy!

In Christ and with love,


The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota

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