May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
It is hard to believe that Holy Week is almost here. We have been journeying through Lent for the past 5 weeks, and we are about to accompany Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, and stay with him through the final week of his life.
This story of Holy Week is at the heart of our identity - at the heart of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ, as travelers on The Way. From Palm Sunday with a parade (or protest?) as Jesus enters the city with the celebration tempered by political overtones, through his final farewells to his beloved friends, to the betrayal, pain, and suffering of Good Friday, through the threshold day of empty waiting on Holy Saturday, on to the joy and excitement of Easter, the empty tomb, and resurrection - this is the great story of who we are.
For me personally, some of the lessons of Holy Week that I carry with me throughout the year, that I look forward to remembering and re-membering each year, include:
- God is with us, no matter what we are going through. God, in Jesus, has experienced the full range of human experiences - from joy and love and laughter, to pain and abandonment and death; and so no matter what we are going through in life, God has been there before and God is with you now.
- The Maundy Thursday commandment - "love one another as I have loved you." This is Jesus's farewell to his disciples - even if they don't remember anything else he said or did, he wanted them to make sure to remember this. Love one another.
- The resurrection is our eternal source of hope. At our check-in today, I paraphrased author Frederick Buechner who reminds us that resurrection means that the worst time is never the last time. No matter how deep the valley of shadows that you are traveling through is, new life is not only possible but it is always drawing closer.
You are invited to join us on our journey through Holy Week, either in-person or online.
Saturday March 27, 10am-12pm - Exploring Easter
Gaby is going to be hosting a hands-on (in a Covid-safe way) experience of the Holy Week story at Westfield United Church on Saturday. This is for the whole family (however you define family) and for all ages. Click here to view the poster. Please bring a food bank donation if you attend.
Sunday March 28 - Palm Sunday (9:15 at Summerville, 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook)
We will celebrate Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, and explore what exactly we are celebrating. We will also get to hum my favourite Palm Sunday hymn ("He Came Riding on a Donkey"). If you are not going to be attending the service in-person, but would like to participate in a Palm Sunday parade, meet Gaby at Westfield Primary at 12pm for a car parade past Westfield United as the service is finishing and people are returning to their cars. (Those of us who will be in the service - we will get to head outside to watch and cheer as the parade passes!)
Thursday April 1 - Maundy Thursday (7pm at Westfield and on Facebook)
We are unable to have the meal that we usually share on Maundy Thursday, so we will be gathering in the sanctuary rather than the basement. Both Thursday's and Friday's services will be grounded in the story of Jesus's final days as we read and reflect on the story. This service will be a communion service.
Friday April 2 - Good Friday (11am at Westfield and on Facebook)
The story continues. We will continue to read and reflect on the story that began the night before as we stay with Jesus right to the cross, and beyond to the tomb.
Sunday April 4 - Easter Sunrise Service (6:45am at the Brundage Point River Centre)
We will gather outside to celebrate the empty tomb - the sign of hope and new life. This will be a short service, and we will keep our fingers crossed for good weather since we will be outside! Unfortunately, we won't be able to gather for breakfast afterwards, but we will celebrate communion at the service.
Sunday April 4 - Easter Sunday (9:15 at Long Reach; 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook)
We will celebrate the Risen Christ with all the Hallelujahs, as we explore what resurrection means in the world! This will also be communion services at both churches.
I look forward to seeing you, in-person or online, as we journey together through Holy Week with all of its ups and downs. If you want a short outline of the worship services, click here to get the poster.
And in the meantime, let's keep on loving our neighbours by keeping them safe through physical distancing, hand hygiene, masks, and getting the vaccine when it's our turn.
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!
Rev. Kate Jones
Two Rivers Pastoral Charge
(506) 757-2201 (office)
(506) 343-1307 (mobile)
"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."