This year’s Good Friday service will follow the traditional liturgy of Tenebrae for Holy Week, with readings from the Psalms and Thomas Tallis’s setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. In the contemplative service of Tenebrae (Latin for “darkness”), music serves as a reflection on the texts being read, and a candle is extinguished after each reading, until only one is left. Five singers, four drawn from the choir — Megan Sharp, Steve Patek, Jonathan Schakel, and Winston Barham — along with guest Emily Stubbs, will sing music from the Renaissance by Tallis, William Byrd, Giovanni Croce, and Lodovico Viadana.
Thursday, March 29—Maundy Thursday, dinner 6:00 p.m., worship 7:00 p.m.
Soup supper followed by worship with the Last Supper dramatized in tableau.
Friday, March 30—Good Friday worship service, 6:00 p.m.
Tenebrae service with sung lamentations, candlelight, and Psalms.
Sunday, April 1—Easter, worship services, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m.
Celebrate Christ’s Resurrection at 8:30 with communion and at 11:00 with reaffirmation of baptism. Between the services enjoy brunch and participate in the flowering of the cross.
Photo taken by Stan Kaslusky
Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018
6:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m.
As Lent begins, I want to invite you to attend a time of prayer and meditation on Ash Wednesday, February 14th. (Yes, I know that’s Valentine’s Day, too.) Typically, Ash Wednesday services are brief (20-30 minutes) and include music, prayer, liturgy, and the imposition of ashes. Again this year, you have two choices: 6:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. If you’re on your way to work or are generally a morning person anyway, you can stop by the sanctuary for a brief service at 6:30 a.m. and then join other early birds for a cup of coffee or tea and some pastries in the Gathering Space. Of course, if that’s too early, you can attend an evening service at 6:30 pm. Either way, the time of Ash Wednesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church should be etched on our minds: Just remember…6:30.
My favorite among Paul’s letters was sent to the church at Philippi. Paul gives thanks for them and their gift to him in prison, and asserts his well-being and bond with them in Christ. His emphases are ‘joy’ and ‘grace.’
Joy?—given his imprisonment and an undercurrent of opposition from fellow Christians? He rejoices in “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus”, and feels assured of God’s love, through faith in the risen Christ. Paul’s greeting and benediction commend grace: God’s love undeserved and unreserved, both received and extended. He is not basking in self-assured spiritual achievement; he is on a faith-journey that calls for perseverance:
…One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14
Like Paul and the Philippians, we are a post-Resurrection people. We claim to serve a risen Christ, yet admit how far short we fall from Christ-like living.
Lent is a pause in our faith-journey, to remember Jesus’ self-giving love and our own resentments and failures to love, to seek anew “the power of his resurrection” into new life.
Every Lent, I feel this challenge. How can I “press on” toward becoming a more faithful image of Jesus, a more authentic human being? Can I find ways in my church and community to extend respect and justice to the marginalized? For grace is also a collective offer, not just God’s private gift.
Do we recognize the opportunities for grace?
These days we witness acts of grace: a Jewish household hosts a Muslim refugee family; a church offers sanctuary to undocumented immigrants; demonstrators support Dakota Indians’ rights. Several years ago, a Palestinian boy of 13 was mortally wounded by Israeli soldiers. His family decided to donate Ahmed’s organs to Israeli children who needed them. “We want to send a message of peace to Israeli society”, the father said.
Two societies did not heed an act of grace. Often, we do not. Lent calls us to “press on,” “enabled by, and offering, Christ’s undeserved, unreserved love.
~ David Warren