Posts tagged “Holy Week

Sermo Dei: Palm Sunday 2017

Posted on April 9th, 2017

It’s nice to talk about resurrection, but the words I speak at the time of death sometimes feel hollow. It’s all future-oriented, and while I believe it, we’re still left with the corpse. Someone has to call the funeral home, someone has to open the grave, and then there we are, looking down into the earth. Most of our life is so sanitary, and even at death, we farm out the dirty work to others. But there, when the casket descends, and you see off in the distance the men waiting to come and close the vault and cover it with dirt – for just a moment, you see and you know that our clean lives are a lie. Squirt the anti-bacterial fluid, rub…

Holy Week letter

Posted on March 23rd, 2013

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ JESUS, This Sunday we enter into that week called Holy. It is unlike any other week in the Christian year. Throughout the rest of the year time is compressed. We fly from creation through the long centuries of Old Testament history to the birth of Jesus to the end of time. In Holy Week, everything slows down. We move step by step through that fateful week in Jeruslaem in _Anno Domini_ 33. We hold aloft fronds of palms and shout with the crowd “Hosanna!” as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. We sit with Him in the Upper Room as He washes the disciples’ feet. We follow Him to Gethsemane, to the sham trial before Annas, then Caiaphas, then to…

The Separation of the Lenten Fast from the Paschal Fast

Posted on March 22nd, 2013

Many commentaries have considered the six weeks of Lent to be a still further extension of the paschal fast, but that seems to be a serious oversimplification. In the West we are accustomed today to a six-week lent of which the final week is Holy Week, and our tendency is to see that as only the last and most solemn week of the longer fast season. Such a total of six weeks was urged also at Alexandria in the time of Athanasius, but it is clear from his festal letters, of which we possess a great many, that his church understood the final week of the six to be distinct. Some of those letters, such as the first, announce only the beginning of the…

Prayer for Holy Wednesday

Posted on April 20th, 2011

Collect for Wednesday in Holy Week: Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Holy Thursday

Posted on April 9th, 2009

The words of the great Swedish bishop Bo Giertz damn us all: “There are no worthy guests at the Lord’s table. None has deserved to come.” Those words damn us all – yet they are also filled with grace. For tonight we are invited guests to the Lord’s table, despite our unworthiness. This is not my table or your table, my meal or your meal, but it belongs to our Lord, and we are unfit to come.

Adoro Te Devote

Posted on April 9th, 2009

My annual Holy Thursday post: For me, it isn’t Holy Thursday unless we sing Aquinas’s “Adoro, Te Devote” in the translation by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore, Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art. Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived: How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed; What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true. On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men, Here thy very manhood steals from human ken: Both are my confession, both are my belief, And I…

Holy Tuesday

Posted on April 7th, 2009

Sermon for Holy Tuesday Vespers–The Passion of St. Mark The death of a man is not unique. All men die. And the death of a man on a cross is hardly unique. Thousands of men died this way. What makes the death of Jesus unique is that in His death, sin is being put to death, and the consequences of sin are heaped upon Jesus. The consequence for sin is separation from God. This is what Jesus experiences; it is why He cries, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Palm Sunday

Posted on April 5th, 2009

Dearly beloved, this week is our holiest of weeks. Holy Week comes at the end of a season of self-denial, a season of repentance, a season of renewal in prayer. Perhaps it’s been such a season for you. But for at least some of you, it hasn’t. Lent has been a disappointment and a frustration, as it seems instead of becoming more holy, more of a disciple of Jesus, you’ve been exposed for what you really are. A fraud, perhaps; or a traitor; or a pragmatist, going along with the crowd in order to keep your job, your position, your reputation, what’s left of your savings. Lent is a time to discover anew the love of God, and how much good can come from…