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A Holy Week Message from Bishop Scanlan

Our Journey from Hosanna to Alleluia
Holy Week 2022


Dear friends in Christ,

As we stand on the edge of Holy Week, please know of my prayers for you, your families and your parish communities as you mark this most sacred time. Thanks to the waning pandemic, we are able to be in church this year for Holy Week and worshipping with fewer restrictions than in recent years. I pray that you will make an effort to participate in the liturgies of the week in your parish and to experience the journey of Jesus from the Hosannas of Palm Sunday to the Alleluias of Easter, and all that comes in between.

What follows are some suggestions for additional meditation during this week—for those who are unable for health or other reasons to be in person, and for the hope that across the diocese we might consider these things together, as a diocesan community, as we journey through the week. You might use these ideas as a personal devotion each day and know that people across our 63 parishes are praying with you.

The hardship of these last two years has left many of us exhausted, mourning, and feeling the effect of social isolation. The continued anxiety that we experience is borne of uncertainty and fear, and the deep divide in our country and the war in Ukraine works against us finding an equilibrium of peace. Know that as you participate in liturgies in church, and as you join across the diocese in these suggested moments of meditation that you are not alone. We have each other, and we have Jesus.

May your Holy Week be a blessing for you and for those with whom you worship. And may the dawning of Easter day fill your heart with hope and unbridled joy.

In the Way of Love,

[/vc_column][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Suggested Meditations for Holy Week” color=”violet” style=”double” border_width=”5″][vc_custom_heading text=”Palm Sunday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]On Palm Sunday as we remember Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, allow yourself to imagine standing with the other pilgrims at the city gate as the humble King is welcomed to the city. Reflect back on other moments of excitement that you have felt in different crowds.

Where were you? Who was the featured “star?” What were you feeling inside? 

While the people excitedly welcomed their Lord on a pathway strewn with cloaks and festal branches, Jesus himself knew of the danger in his advancement. Read through the various accounts of this event and notice the high emotions.  It is not too long before the exuberant “Hosannas” yield to shouts of “Crucify Him!” but in this Palm Sunday moment of celebration, can you feel the excitement and hope?

What is your hope today?  What captures your energy?  What is your prayer for this Holy Week as we begin the journey together?

[Read the account of the Triumphal Entry and compare them in each of the gospels:
Mt. 21: 1-11, Mk. 11: 1-11, Lk. 19: 28-44, Jn. 12: 12-19]

The different gospels assign different activities to Jesus and his disciples in the early part of this week. Luke, the gospeler whose stories we hear in this third year (Year C) of the lectionary cycle, focuses on three different ideas: The Cleansing of the Temple, Teaching and Encounters with Questioners, and the offering of an Apocalyptic Vision. We will reflect on one of these in each of the early days of this week.[vc_custom_heading text=”Monday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]The Cleansing of the Temple: This event takes place in each of the four gospels though John places it early on, in his second chapter.  In Luke, Jesus enters the temple immediately after the Triumphal Entry and, using words from the prophet Isaiah (Is.56:7), he decries the desecration of the holy space and drives out those whose mercenary ways are distracting from the solemnity of worship.

[Read the account in Luke 19: 45-48).]

What in your life distracts from your ability to worship God?  What are the barriers in your everyday life that get between you and God? When have you experienced the rage of injustice and how have you responded?[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Tuesday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]Teaching and Encounters with Questioners: Jesus spends the next couple of days teaching in the temple and encountering opposition. He tells the parable of the Wicked Tenants (Lk. 20: 9- 19) which is a story of his own rejection and foretold death, he sidesteps traps from the chief priests, scribes and elders that attempt to catch him on issues of authority and allegiance, he goes toe to toe with the Sadducees on the issue of resurrection, and then turns to denounce the Scribes and their public displays of piety, lifting up the widow’s mite as a more faithful example.

[Read these encounters of opposition and questioning in Lk. 20: 1- 21:4]

Imagine for yourself our Lord as he sat in the temple, teaching and refuting, dodging traps and making clear his message of Love. Of all of Jesus’ teachings, which do you hold on to as your truth, your “go-to?” The Beatitudes? The Lord’s Prayer? The Great Commandment? What has the rabbi Jesus taught you?[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Wednesday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]Apocalyptic Vision: The remainder of Luke’s chapter 21 is his version of the synoptic apocalypse.  Each of the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) have a version of this picture of end times; In Mark it is in Chapter 13 and in Matthew it is in Chapter 24. Here, in Luke, Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple and the Holy City Jerusalem, and of the coming of the Son of Man for the redemption of the faithful.  Jesus preaches the need to be alert for the signs that will tell of the coming of the Kingdom, and for us to be prepared.

[Read Luke’s apocalyptic vision in Lk. 21:5-36.]

Reflect on what, in your life, has had to come to an end in order for a new order to take hold? Was it a gentle passing or a dramatic ending? How do you experience the power and force of Jesus in your life today? What signs do you see that Jesus is an active presence in our world today?[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Maundy Thursday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]On this day, we turn to the Gospel of John for his story of the Foot washing and a final meal with the disciples. (John 13: 1-15, 16-35)  (Luke’s gospel offers an account of the meal and the institution of the Lord’s Supper but does not include the foot washing.)

Read this section of John’s gospel and pray the mandatum, the “new commandment” to “love one another as I have loved you,” (John 13: 34). Reflect on how you have served others and how others have served you, in love.

Then, return to the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 22:39-53) and join Jesus’ vigil in the Garden as he prays his way in the night and is later arrested.

Of these scenes, what stays with you?  Jesus’ words with his Father? The betrayal? The violence in the Garden? Jesus’ declaration of the power of darkness?  What words might you choose to offer as a prayer for Jesus in this time?[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Good Friday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]On this day do not shy away from the pain of the cross and its suffering.

Read Luke’s version of the Trial, Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus. (Lk 22:54- 23 ff.)

Reflect on Jesus’ words from the cross in Luke’s gospel which are generous and loving. Remember those who suffer their own crucifixion each day—those oppressed and victimized in political warfare, those who suffer trauma and whose memories of trauma assault them daily, those who fight addiction, those who suffer because of the color of their skin or their gender or sexual identity. Where do you encounter the pain in our world? Pray for those who hurt others, who wield power through violence, and who manifest evil in this world.

[These parts of our prayer book may be helpful:  prayer for The Oppressed (BCP pg. 826), for Social Justice (BCP pg. 823), for Victims of Addiction (BCP pg. 831), The Rites of Reconciliation (BCP 447-452) and Psalm 22 (BCP pg. 610)][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Holy Saturday” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]In your meditation today, notice the quiet. Be quiet.

The lectionary appoints Mt. 27: 57-66 as a reading for the day which highlights Joseph of Arimathea’s care for Jesus’ body and the sealing of the tomb.

Wonder about the gathering of God’s might behind the rock that has sealed the tomb, and the depth of a love that will not allow for death to be the last word.  Make your preparations for the feast in anticipation of a God who does not disappoint, who is faithful and steadfast, and whose mercies know no end. 

[These psalms may be helpful for your meditation: Psalm 33 (BCP pg. 626-7), Psalm 37: 1-9 (BCP pg. 633), Psalm 61 (BCP pg. 668-9), Psalm 130 (BCP pg. 784-5][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Easter Day” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:45|text_align:center|color:%238224e3″]

Greet the day with joyful Alleluias and give thanks for the gift of resurrection and eternal life. 

In your private devotions, pray the Pascha Nostrum -Christ our Passover- (BCP pg.83) and rejoice that “you are alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.”

Reflect on the wonder and the mystery of God and the power of this story that has carried us through millenia and into eternity. 

Easter blessings to you!

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