The Easter Morning Music was a
. . . and yet, such sorrow - with the vision of Notre Dame burning, the deaths during mass in Sri Lanka, and the on going struggles world wide to find compassion and grace in the midst of violence, even as Christians celebrate the power of courage and love in the midst of adversity and hatred. It was a complicated day, for a struggling, yet still beautiful world. Will there ever be an Easter morning when we have ceased killing one another?
Good Friday, April 19th
Our Good Friday Service, at 7 pm Friday evening, is a beautiful meditation on waiting in sorrow, patiently and faithfully, following as it does the reform tradition of the theology of the cross. Before the celebration of Easter, there is the time of waiting at the foot of the cross in mystery. Bruce and the Shelburne Pastoral Choir will lead us through
this contemplative hour with grace.
I encourage everyone to attend, in the faith, or otherwise.
Below are two pieces of music - What Wondrous Love is This? and The Agony, by John Stonier - that are part of the service. Below is the equally thoughtful Lux Aeterna, for your listening pleasure, followed by the prayers of the people for Good Friday.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Judas betrayed you in the garden,
But we have all betrayed you, and continue to do so even today….
Peter denied you, and so too, we deny you in the living out of our lives, forgetting your way of love and compassion, even as we know it to be right and true.
We like to think that we would be the ones to stay strong and faithful and good. But the truth is, we forsake you, we betray you, we are a part and a parcel of an economy and a society that spits in your face and laughs at the perfect justice of your cross. Forgive us.
But you have remained true and faithful to us
Your forgiveness abounds
Your generosity astonishes.
Your mercy is beyond our comprehension.
You remained faithful to God, to us, to your way of love.
There you are stretched out on the cross, arms wide open to the world, heart fully open to God, in your last breath granting grace and forgiveness to all…..
Strengthen us, that we might be faithful too,
not turning aside,
not turning away,
not betraying you or denying you,
but following you through the sunlight and through the shadow,
for you have claimed the final victory over evil and darkness
with your gentle way and your humble spirit.
May we be worthy followers,
and steadfast friends,
leaning upon your council
and seeking out the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in all things.
Easter Sunday, April 21
Both Easter Morning Services, at Primrose and Trinity, are largely led by the Shelburne Primrose Pastoral Choir. With an original Easter Chorus as our theme, and well known pieces of this celebratory season beautifully arranged by our musical director, Bruce Ley, you will have every reason to feel joyous this season of new beginnings. If you wish to come early, find your way to the lovely little church in the country - Primrose United. Or if a later hour suits you better, join us at Trinity United at 11 am in Shelburne. Either way, you will enjoy an hour of gentle reflection and encouragement to begin again. The heart of the Christian faith is the hope of new possibilities
in the midst of failure and despair.
Chin up. There is more before you than you can see.
James Broughton, beat poet
Shake out your qualms.
Shake up you dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water and head for the open, even if your vision shipwrecks you.
Quite your addiction to sneer and complains.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with the wildfire.
You are closer to glory leaping an abyss than upholstering a rut.
Intrepid all the way walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad be prepared to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable out of the mundane.
Honeymoon with Big Joy!
“As the author E.B. White watched his wife Katherine planning the planting of bulbs in her garden in the last autumn of her life, he wrote, ‘there was some thing comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance . . . the small hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection.
“The spiritual life does not come cheap. It is not a stroll down a Mary Poppins path with a candy-store God who gives sweets and miracles. It is a walk into the dark with the God who is the light that leads us through darkness.”
I beg you, wait for God quietly, and don’t be so religious. To have nothing to show for yourself and to wait for God is better than to be polishing your piety. You shall not become godless by waiting for God. On the contrary, the truth of God’s cause will grow in your heart, and that is all that matters. A true word once in ten years is dearer to God than a daily sermon. It is your genuineness that matters. . . .
The incomparable Alison Krauss with her acoustic version of 'Be Thou My Vision', which we will be singing this Sunday. The words are inspiring, her rendition, a prayer. Be still and listen.
This Sunday we will be reminded of the strong powers that Jesus and his followers opposed. The odds against them were overwhelming. Like today.
There was nothing much to do back then, but stay faithful to what they knew was right - to care for one another, to love the great mystery they had named God, but did not really understand, to listen to Jesus' instruction and do their best.
We can do that still.
And we must.
Because the voice that is gentle, is also the strong one.
And the power of love, yes, it is the one that holds the power to create.
It has never been any other way.
To think otherwise is foolishness.
Come to church on Sunday, and be reminded that the power of brass and steel and gold is not where the real power lies.
Be reminded of the vision.
The early community that followed Jesus was a community of practice. Jesus’ followers did not just sit around the campfire and listen to lectures on Christian theology. They listened to stories that taught them how to act toward one another, and what to do in the world. They healed people, offered hospitality, prayed together, challenged traditional practices and rituals, ministered to the sick, comforted the grieving, fasted and forgave. These actions induced wonder, gave them courage, empowered hope, and opened up a new vision of God. By doing things together, they began to see differently.