Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tenebrae, Wednesday of Holy Week

Last night was our Tenebrae service, not something that is practiced in many Christian churches much less the Episcopal Church. But we have a five-year tradition going. The service has evolved each year. Last night we started with some of the church’s artificial light on and with candles all around the altar. We chanted the Psalms, had three readings, extinguishing candles as we went. When it came time for the 51st Psalm all artificial light was turned off. And then for the Eucharist only the two altar candles and the Christ candle were lit. Communion was celebrated in the light of three candles. It was a lovely service and well attended by our standards, nearly 40 were present.

By observation there were folks there from our Sunday eight o’clock Rite One service and young adults from St. Brigid’s Community. However, there was a noticeable absent from our Sunday nine o’clock, traditional Rite 2 BCP with organ, crowd. Where were they? Why didn’t they attend this service? I have noticed that the Rite One crowd attends the Wednesday night healing services with an occasional St. Brigid’s person thrown in. Where are the traditional 1979 BCP with organ people?

Is the idea of healing, chanting, and praying in the dark foreign to foreign to that generation? It is my generation, but I love the service – what’s going on here? Have these folks been infected by the “happy Jesus, life is always about Resurrection, theology?” There is something here and I can’t quite get my theological finger on it – just yet – but I will keep mulling it over.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday of Holy Week

Tuesday of Holy Week 2011

Governor Jan Brewer did the sensible and reasonable thing and vetoed a bill granting the right to carry an open or concealed weapon on any right of way of a college campus. Thank you for using common sense – something evidently that was lost on the Arizona State legislators.

Of course the Governor did sign the slashed budget that will cost hundreds of educators their jobs and further reduce the quality of education in this State (where are already 50th only a spot or two to go and the conservatives will have achieved their “goal” of one more “reason” for the complete privatizing of public education). On a personal note, Avondale Elementary School District where Cathy, my wife, is the Superintendent, had to cut $1.5 million out of their budget and eliminated several positions district-wide. That was a gut-wrenching and heart-breaking decision for Cathy and the Board, but they had no choice.

The reduced State budget also eliminated Department of Economic Security support for poor working parents to receive childcare – meaning that potentially, nine children in St. Augustine’s Preschool will have to go without quality childcare. Where is the sanity in that?

It is Tuesday of Holy Week – in Arizona Lent has been long and arduous on many levels. But, we still come to this week walking with the hope of the humble God who risked divinity to become one with us, so that God might fully be with us in our moments of pain, frustration and even our death. Thanks be to God that we worship and follow a God who knows our troubles at the deepest and most personal level. In times like these, that hope seems to be all we have to move us forward to the next day.