Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

What a wonderful Easter Sunday we had!  The weather could not have been more perfect with blue skies and temperatures in the low 80s.  The church was filled with stunning flowers of every variety, and the Bach prelude at the 10:15 a.m. service, a violin sonata beautifully performed by Laurie Carney and Bob Sirota was followed by Jurhee Hong’s lovely Widor Adagio from the 5th Symphony. Our procession at 10:15 a.m. began with Deborah DeBride leading the way with sweet-smelling incense from Holy Cross Monastery, Anthony Johnson carrying the brass cross adorned with flowers, Elijah Henderson (soon to be baptized!) and Alicia DeBride carrying torches, Bob Sirota leading The Saint John’s Festival Choir in blue robes, and Debbie Holcombe joyously carrying the Gospel.  Candles were lit in the aisles, and everyone joyously sang “Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!” 

After our moving Maundy Thursday Service in which feet were washed, Christ’s body and blood was offered a last time with the remainder brought to the Altar of Repose and the chancel stripped of everything including altar hangings, lights were turned off as people moved to the side chapel for prayer and meditation by candle light.  On Good Friday, after a reading of the Passion and The Rev. Canon Claudia Wilson’s powerful sermon and solemn collects, the heavy wooden cross was brought forward.  We prayed and venerated it, and then shared the reserved sacrament for a last time until Easter Sunday.  The stark sanctuary was a fitting reminder of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion.

Easter Sunday’s glory, with the smell of lilies, hyacinths and incense, the beauty of music and joyous hymns, was blessed with the baptisms of four young people—Elijah Henderson, Jah’nasia Smith, Asisi Bellino and Samora Henderson (from 14 years old to 1) at our stunning baptismal font. The Saint John’s Festival Choir filled the Sanctuary with the joy of Christ’s Resurrection as they sang Vaughan Williams’ “At the Name of Jesus,” with the Congregation rising to join them in the last two verses.  Laurie and Bob offered the third movement of the Bach Violin Sonata as a communion meditation, and after singing “The Strife is O’er, the Battle Done”, Jurhee Hong completed the glorious service with the famous Widor Toccata.  The Reception after with food, cake, cupcakes, candy, and an Easter egg hunt for the children completed our Easter Day celebration.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this Holy Week and Easter Sunday so full of the love of God! Thanks to Ademir Nascimento and Pedro Cordero, our sextons; to George Morrison and Glenn Borghoff who helped with building matters; to Jan Valentine who typed up all of the bulletins; to Carol Craft and Barbara Zeigler who helped with the finances; to Carol and Peter Walsh and everyone who helped decorate the Sanctuary so stunningly; to Altar Guild members including Helen Hutchinson, Monica Harmon and Linda Brown; to those who helped in the kitchen for the Agape Supper and Easter Sunday Reception including Shelley Henderson, Debbie DeBride, Ival Debride, Mary Owens, Annie Davis and the Vestry; and to Jurhee Hong and to our wonderful choir Chris Canty, Joseph Clarke, Annie Davies, Ival DeBride, Denise Hackl, Vera Johnson, Ruth Montgomery, Mary Owens and Tara Seeley, with guest musicians Gabriella Will and Sam Krivda, as well as violinist Laurie Carney and Bob Sirota.  And thanks to Angie Piwinski who took some terrific pictures!

This is just the beginning.  We have 50 days to celebrate the sheer joy of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, of new life and resurrection!
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
In Christ and with love,

The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota


No comments: