Category Archives: Liturgy Letter Year A

Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Third Sunday of Easter 2020 (Year A)

Astonished Hearts, Opened Eyes, Enlightened Minds

God has heard the cry of his people (Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19) and ransomed them from futile ways through the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-23). Repent, and be baptized (Acts 2:14a, 36-41). Jesus is risen and has revealed himself to those who had lost hope. He is the Messiah. The Suffering Servant whose blessed body was broken and given to those whose eyes were opened. They were astonished that he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13-35).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Second Sunday of Easter 2020 (Year A)

Faith in the Risen Son of God

Jesus Christ has risen from the dead (Acts 2:14a, 22-32). Therefore, God is always before us. He has the power and authority to save us from the curse of death and show us the path of life (Psalm 16). Through Jesus, we have been given new birth into a living hope, as we wait in faith, for the promise of salvation to be fully revealed (1 Peter 1:3-9). Jesus has sent his Holy Spirit to guide us on our journey toward the consummation of our faith. Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have come to believe (John 20:19-31).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Holy Week 2020 (Year A)

Holy Week

Lent began over five weeks ago on Ash Wednesday. Over the course of this week, Christians around the world will re-enact and remember the days leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection. This journey towards the cross began on Palm Sunday with a commemoration of Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people who confessed and praised him as the Savior King later cry out, “…crucify him, crucify him!”

On Monday and Tuesday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem from Bethany and purified the Temple, fulfilling prophecies from the Old Testament (ex. Malachi 3:1-5). In Jerusalem, tensions continued to run high between Jesus and the religious rulers. Wednesday of Holy week is traditionally called “Spy Wednesday” because the enemies of Jesus were watching him closely and looking for an opportunity to capture him. On this day, the anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany is juxtaposed with the tragic betrayal of Judas.  

Paschal Triduum

The most striking worship celebrations of the Christian church happen every year at the end of the Lenten season. There is no greater contrast between darkness and light than the eclipse and glory that were experienced by Jesus’ disciples between the Last Supper and Easter morning. For centuries, Christians have marked the progression of these events through worship. They reenact these bedrock events to honor Christ, celebrate salvation, and grow in the way of Jesus through imitation and reflection. This period of time in the Church’s calendar has traditionally been referred to as the Paschal Triduum or “The Three Days.”

Maundy Thursday

On this day, Jesus commemorated the Passover meal with his disciples, an observance of God rescuing his people from slavery in Egypt. In celebrating this observance, Jesus was pointing to the new covenant he would make with God’s people, rescuing them from spiritual slavery to sin and death. Before the meal, he washed the feet of his disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper (Communion, Eucharist, Mass). In so doing, our servant King provided a means of grace and an example for us to follow. Christian participation in these practices reflects upon the new command of Jesus to, “Love each other as I have loved you.” 

Good Friday

Good Friday is a reminder of the darkness experienced by Christ on our behalf. Out of true death, comes true life. His death and resurrection comprise the mysteries at the very heart of the Christian faith. On this day, Christ became the, “…Paschal (Passover) Lamb of our salvation, by whose blood we have been purchased unto God as His own consecrated people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Christians today gather at the foot of the cross with Mary the Lord’s Mother, the beloved disciple John, the repentant Mary Magdalene and her several companions, the confessing Centurion and all others who have, down through the ages…been made holy by the redeeming act of the God who loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Holy Saturday

This is officially the last day of the Lenten fast. There has been some controversy as to what exactly happened on this day, but the profound symbolism of Christ resting in the tomb while humanity waits for the resurrection runs deep in Eastern and Western Christian traditions. On this day, we wait for his resurrection and rest in prayer, by meditating on his passion, death, and descent to the dead.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, also has been a traditional symbol connected to Holy Saturday. In Western Catholic tradition Mary represents the entire Church on Holy Saturday, “As she awaited in faith for the victorious triumph of Her Son over death on the first Holy Saturday, so we too wait with Mary on the present Holy Saturday.” This prayerful waiting has been called the “Ora della Madre” or Hour of the Mother.

God does not redeem from afar. The Word descended into our humanity; the Lord descended into the depths of our suffering; Christ descended into the very realm of death itself in order to set free its captives. There is life in the midst of death because love dwells in it. Thanks be to God.

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Palm/Passion Sunday 2020 (Year A)

Submission, Death, and Glory

God is with us in our suffering (Isaiah 50:4-9a) as we cry out to him and trust in his unfailing love (Psalm 31:9-16). We praise God for opening the gates of righteousness through the suffering and death of Jesus (Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29). He humbled himself (Philippians 2:5-11) and demonstrated submission to God’s will in the midst of ultimate suffering (Matthew 21:1-11). He was crucified so that we might have eternal life and forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:14 – 27:66).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fourth Sunday in Lent 2020 (Year A)

Light Dispels Darkness

“God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearances, as he showed when choosing David as king, prefiguring Christ (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Like David, we trust God; we have confidence in his protection even when we are in the midst of great difficulty (Psalm 23). The light of Christ’s grace and forgiveness dispels the darkness of sin (Ephesians 5:8-14) — he is the light of the world (John 9:1-41).” – Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Third Sunday in Lent 2020 (Year A)

Living Water

“Water is used throughout Scripture as a symbol of faith. In the Old Testament, it sometimes foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (Exodus 17:1-7). In the New Testament, Jesus offers forgiveness to all, regardless of race or past misdeeds, and ‘living water,’ which is the Holy Spirit and eternal life (John 4:5-42). Through his death, we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:1-11), our Creator and King, to whom we offer praise and thanks for our salvation (Psalm 95).”
– Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Second Sunday in Lent 2020 (Year A)

Faith and Life Through Jesus

Like Abraham, we are called to follow God in faith (Gen. 12:1-4). We must keep our eyes fixed on the one who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121). God cares for us and has promised to provide rest and grace for those who put their faith in him (Romans 4:1-5,13-17). God came to us through Jesus so that we might be made new and inherit eternal life through his name (John 3:1-17).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Ash Wednesday / First Sunday in Lent 2020 (Year A)

Remedy Against Sin
“Adam succumbed to temptation and brought sin on all generations of people (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7). We confess our sin and rejoice in God’s forgiveness (Psalm 32). Just as Adam’s sin brought sin on all humankind, so is Christ’s redemption of sin available for all (Romans 5:12-19), because Jesus alone was able to resist temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).”

 –Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Feast of Transfiguration 2020 (Year A)

The Illumination of Transfiguration

God has revealed to his people the paths of righteousness that lead to life (Exodus 24:12-18). God is holy and loves justice, delighting in those who follow his ways. He transcends the politics and postures of this world and is worthy of our worship and praise (Psalm 2 and Psalm 99). We pay close attention to Scripture and the words of Jesus (2 Peter 1:16-21), who is gloriously revealed as the beloved Son of God who takes away our fear (Matthew 17:1-9) and leads us into joy.

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany 2020 (Year A)

Purity of Heart in Human Relationships

“To look with lust violates relationships. To swear an oath disguises God’s mercy. The law of God is a pattern against pretense. It affects how we perceive others, the relationships that we enter, and what comes forth from our mouths. The lesson is twofold: let how we behave be obedient, and let what we say have integrity.”

-Rev. James Kirk, When We Gather: Prayers for Worship

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

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