Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Our Gospel reading from Mark continues Jesus' (sometimes harsh) teaching of His disciples. Here he predicts the Passion, to which Peter objects. Jesus rebuked Peter for placing his own desires ahead of God's plans.
Readings for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, Year B
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Our Gospel reading has Jesus in Jerusalem, just before the Passover. Here he acts to cleanse the Temple from the money changes and the sellers of animals for offerings.
Readings for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, Year B
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
On the last Saturday morning of each month, St. Elizabeth's ministers to our neighbors by helping them to do their laundry.
After a brief hiatus, and with the assistance of Bayaud Enterprises' "Laundry Truck," our Laundry Love ministry will restart at St. Elizabeth's on March 24th, 2017. While our clients' laundry is being done inside the truck, they will be welcomed into the Church for a light meal, coffee, and/or snacks. We also plan to provide basic essentials (toiletries et al) to complement their clean clothes.
As each month comes to an end, many families are simply "tapped out." Laundry can be a significant expense when one must choose among paying the rent and/or utilities, buying food, and all the other necessities of life.
This is a ministry that even a small church like St. Elizabeth's can perform with a few people and a modest budget.
Our traditional Maundy Thursday Liturgy begins the "Triduum" (Latin for Three Days) liturgical arc. It recalls Jesus' Last Supper with the Twelve, which was the Seder meal that marked the start of the Passover that year.
Jesus demonstrated his humility in washing their feet before they sat down (actually reclined) for the Seder. We will do likewise.
This is the final celebration of the Holy Eucharist during Holy Week. Any bread and wine that remains will process to the Altar of Repose at the south side of the Church, which has been decorated to recall the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Altar and surrounding area will then be stripped of all decorations, the altar washed, and the Cup will remain (on its side) to mark the utter emptiness left after Jesus' arrest that evening.
The People depart in silence without a dismissal. We will resume the Triduum liturgy at our Good Friday observance.
Our observance of Good Friday begins with the Stations of the Cross.
The Good Friday liturgy opens with the Solemn Collects, after which the reserved Sacrament is brought back from the Altar of Repose and consumed by all present. There is no celebration of the Eucharist on this day.
As on Maundy Thursday, the People depart in silence without a dismissal. We will resume the Triduum (Three Days) liturgical arc at the start of our Easter celebration.
History of the Great Vigil
The Great Vigil of Easter is the most ancient rite in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. It has its origins in the very early Church, when Christianity was not yet practiced openly and the process of instruction for Holy Baptism (catecuminate, the source of the word Catechism) took three years in order to weed out infiltrators.
After three years of instruction, during which the Catecumens were escorted from the worship service prior to the Holy Eucharist, the Great Vigil became the time for their Baptism and admission as communicants of the Church.
The Great Vigil properly occurs overnight on the Eve of Easter, starting at sundown (the start of the Jewish day) and continuing until sunrise (hence the modern tradition of Easter Sunrise services). Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran churches vary in their practices, but at St. Elizabeth's, we will begin at 7pm (even though it's a bit prior to local sunset) and plan for a slightly longer service than our Sunday morning Holy Eucharists.
The Lighting of the Paschal Candle
We gather in darkness. Candles will be distributed to members of the congregation.
At the rear of the Church, the New Fire will be lit, traditionally using steel and flint.
The Paschal Candle, which will remain lit throughout the Great 50 Days of Easter, is blessed, and the five incense spikes (representing Jesus' wounds at the Crucifixion) placed into it.
It will be lit from the New Fire, and an acolyte will take a flame from it.
The Deacon (or Priest) will slowly process the Paschal Candle to the front of the church, stopping thrice to chant "The Light of Christ," to which the congregation replies "Thanks be to God." The Acolyte will share the flame with the Congregation behind the procession.
The Paschal Candle will be placed in its stand next to the Lectern. The Deacon/Priest will then chant the Exsultet, which dates several centuries to before the Reformation.
The Liturgy of the Word
At this point, a series of Lessons, responses (Psalms/Canticles), and Collects will tell the story of the "Gods's saving deeds in history." The Book of Common Prayer lists nine such sets, of which we will use four. "Israel' deliverance at the Red Sea" is always included.
Holy Baptism/Renewal of Baptismal Vows
If there is anyone to receive the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, that will be performed at this time. In any event, this is the time for the People to renew their own Baptismal Vows.
At the Eucharist
The Celebrant declares the Resurrection with the words "Alleluia, Christ is Risen!"
The People reply "The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia."
This will be repeated three times, raising in volume each time.
All are encouraged to ring bells and make make joyful noises to celebrate the Risen Christ.
As voices raise in song, the lights are raised, the Altar Party vests in white, and the Sanctuary is prepared for the first Easter celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
The Epistle, Psalm, and Gospel are read, followed by the Easter Homily and the Peace.
Festival Holy Eucharist
The service continues as on any other Sunday, but with the much celebration and many Alleluias.
Our Easter Celebration opens with elements of the Great Vigil of Easter (the origin of Easter sunrise services), which began in the darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter morning.
At the rear of the Church, we will first ignite the "new fire," from which the Paschal Candle is lit. The Paschal Candle remains lit (at least for worship) "continuously" through the feast of Pentecost, a period known as the "Great Fifty Days of Easter."
We will also renew our Baptismal Vows. In the early Church, Holy Baptism occurred during the Great Vigil of Easter, and it concluded a three year time of preparation (during which infiltrators could be weeded out in the days before the Church was allowed to operate openly).
The Risen Christ will be proclaimed with the words, "Alleluia! Christ is Risen!"
The People respond with, "He is risen indeed! Alleluia!"
Our long abstinence from Alleluias thus comes to an end with much joyful noise.
(Bring bells to ring at that time.)
From there we move to our Festival Holy Eucharist, to celebrate the Risen Christ.
The High Plains Region includes some 26 congregations (generally east of I-25) from Castle Rock north and east to Sterling. Each spring, those congregations gather at St. John's Cathedral in Denver, where the Bishop will perform the Laying-on of Hands for three groups.
- Confirmands: Baptized members who have been prepared for Holy Confirmation, by which they affirm the Baptismal Covenant in a public act.
- Receptions: Those who have previously been Confirmed in other faiths are Received as Confirmed members into this Communion.
- Reaffirmations: Baptized & Confirmed members are welcome to make a public Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant, especially at times when they are beginning or renewing their walks of faith.
St. Elizabeth's will be blessed by 3 Confirmands, 2 Receptions, and 3 Reaffirmations this year.
A reception will follow.
We invite you to join us. Parking can be tight, so carpools are encouraged.
Please see Fr. Bill for assistance.
St. Clare's Ministries is a Jubilee Ministry of the Diocese of Colorado that serves the homeless and working poor from the Episcopal Church of St. Peter & St. Mary in Denver's Baker neighborhood.
A hot meal is served at 6pm on Tuesday evenings, serving between 75 and 200 guests each week (holidays included). An optional Holy Eucharist takes place at 5:15pm, and this growing "emergant church" demonstrates how St. Clare's has evolved from a "soup kitchen" to a caring community.
St. Clare's clothing closet opens at 6:30 to provide toiletries, new underwear, clean clothing, and other essentials. During the winter months, we provide hats, gloves, coats, heavy socks, blankets, and a limited number of sleeping bags to meet the needs of our guests.
Teams from St. Elizabeth's help with both the Supper and the Clothing Closet on 5th Tuesdays of the month (four times each year). You are invited to join us.
Holy Eucharist, Rite I (Traditional)
Mark's Gospel returns to Jesus' Baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. From there Jesus is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days, just as we have begun our own 40 days of Lent.
Readings for the 1st Sunday in Lent, Year B
1 Peter 3:18-22
Holy Eucharist, Rite II
The season after Epiphany closes with the Transfiguration.
It began with Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan River at the hands of John the Baptism.
It concludes with Jesus taking Peter, James, and John (the usual witnesses to important events in Jesus' ministry) up the Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus meets with Moses (the Law giver) and Elijah (the foremost of the Prophets).
In both cases God is present and speaks to them.
At the Baptism, God says to Jesus, "You are my Son, in whom I am well pleased."
At the Transfiguration, God says to Peter, James, and John, "This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him."
Readings for the Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year B:
2 Kings 2:1-12
2 Corinthians 4:3-6