Monday, April 9, 2012

St. James Anglican Church - Easter Service 2012

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Easter lillies adorned the church.  Part of the festivity of Easter. Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen, Indeed.  Hallelujah!  George Telemann's Trumpet Air began the Entrance Rite.  We all stood.  Even Gilbert who'd had his own rambunctious entrance jumping up and down to see his friends, Elizabeth, Phil and Alice.
Now the Solemn Festal Procession of clergy in finest raiment took place.  Around the church they walked to end before the Easter Garden, a hand crafted scene of the tomb of Jesus opened.  On the third day he rose.  The processional hymn was "Hail thee, festival day!"  Collects and Greetings and Kyrie Eleisen followed. Gloria in Excelsis.
The first reading was from the Book of Acts, Act 10:34-43, Peter telling the disciples they are witnesses. "They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead."  Thanks be to God.   The cantor sang the psalm with the line "His mercy endures forever."
The second reading was from Paul to the Corinthians, 1 Corintians 15:1=11 saying "Christ died for our sins.....that he was raised from the dead...."  The word of the Lord, Thanks be to God.   Alleluia.  We all sang the Sequence Hymn, Christians to the Paschal Victim.
Then there was reading from the Holy Gospel, John 20:1-18 telling of Mayr Magdalene coming to the tomb and finding it open.  "Woman why are you weeping."  Then Jesus said to her ""Mary", and she said "Rabbouni" And he said "I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. "   The Gospel of Christ, Praise be to thee, O Christ.
We took our seats to listen to Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins give his moving sermon. He began reviewing the week's teaching done in services by Mother Jessica Schaap.  He went on to give his message that Jesus' resurrection was a message to us for our 'own breaking out of the tomb'.  We too could share in the new life offered to us if we break out of the tomb.  From death to life was the message in his celebration of the central mystery of Christian rebirth. It was a mesmerizing uplifting sermon followed by sacred silence.  We stood and all the congregation together recited the Nicene Creed.  I found myself especially hearing "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son.......I believe in one, holy catholic and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sin.  And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the Life of the world to come. Amen.'
Phil on his last day with the church before going with Elizabeth to work in medical research in Saudi Arabia shared the prayers of the people. "Hear us, Lord of Glory.!"Following that we shared the Peace. Gilbert loves this best because we all greet each other and people about come and pet him and speak to him and he jumps up on anyone he can. I keep him on short leash but he forgives me this because it's a great break in the service for him. He'd been lying quietly till then resting his chin on the kneeling cushion.
The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist followed. The choir sang, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.  The prayer of consecration was recited by the priest. Then we all recited the Lord's Prayer kneeling.    In time Laura and I and Gilbert joined in the lines that lead to the altar where Laura and I but not Gilbert received the blood and body from the priest.  Returning to our seats we knelt meditating on Jesus and Easter.  The communion Motet was chanted, "Christ the Lord is risen again! Christ hath broken every chain! Hark, the angels shout for joy, singing evermore on high, alleluia! The communion hym was "Now the green blade riseth.There was the concluding rite.
And Elizabeth and Philip were called to the altar whre where they were blessed and anointed before moving to their new home in Saudi Arabia.
That was followed by the blessing for all and the dismissal.  The deacon chanted "Let us go forth in the name of Christ, alleluia, allelulia, Thanks be to God, alleluia!.  The cantor sang Regina Coellie "O queen of heaven be joyful, Alleluia," We all followed with "Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
The final hymn was "Jesus Christ is Risen Today".  I love this hymn of celebration and we all sang with the choir rejoicing.
In the church hall Gilbert wanted to join the children on an Easter Egg hunt but chocolates are not good for dogs and he'd no doubt knock over a 2 or 3 year old in his exuberance.  After when we shared in the going away cake for Elizabeth and Phil I did let Gilbert lick my fingers.  Matias was there and he's grown so tall. I'm always amazed at the growth spurts of children. Often it's week's or months between times I see them and despite my negligence they've been growing furiously on their own. After coffee Laura and I departed to the sunshine outdoors ready to begin another Christian year.
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