Tag Archives: Newsletter

Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Fire Descends

On Pentecost the fierce love of the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples of Jesus (Acts 2:1-21). Jesus also talked about the Holy Spirit as the living water poured out for those who thirst for him (John 7:37-39). Those who declare that Jesus is Lord have received a manifestation of this Spirit given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:3b-13). Jesus’ original disciples received the Holy Spirit after his resurrection and were sent out to continue Jesus’ mission (John 20:19-23). The glory of God is revealed as all of creation is renewed and purified through the power of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 104:24-34, 35b).

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

The Ascended Christ Sends His Spirit and Makes us One

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower his followers until his return (Acts 1:6-14). This promise gives us the strength to pray and follow God, even in the midst of suffering and anxiety. These things may last for a little while, but we are encouraged to stand firm knowing that Christ himself has prayed for us (1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11). Though orphans, he has promised us a home (Psalm 68: 1-10; 32-35). He has granted us eternal life and the fellowship of other believers, even while we wait (John 17:1-11).

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

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

We are not promised an easy life and may even suffer for our faith (Acts 7:55-60). Call out to God in the midst of shame and confusion, trusting in God’s steadfast love (Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16). Jesus is the cornerstone of salvation who was rejected on our behalf. Through Him, we have received mercy so that we may proclaim the mighty acts of him who has called us out of darkness into light (1 Peter 2:2-10). He is the way, truth, and life who has promised to prepare a place for us in the presence of the Father (John 14:1-14).

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

Shepherd of the Sheep

Jesus is the gate to salvation (John 10:1-10). He is the guardian and shepherd of our souls (1 Peter 2:19-25). Those who follow and know his voice are called to patiently endure suffering and pray for abundant common life (Acts 2:42-47). Take comfort, God watches over his children and will lead them through death and into safety (Psalm 23).

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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 – Fifth Sunday In Lent 2020 (Year A)

God Gives Life

God can make dead bones live (Ezekiel 37:1-14). We call out to him in the depths of suffering and wait patiently for his promises to be fulfilled (Psalm 130). Spiritual life and physical resurrection await those who are in Christ, so set your mind on the Spirit and refuse to live in hostility towards God (Romans 8:6-11). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has power over life and death. He cares for his friends and defies their expectations, proving that he is Lord and Savior (John 11:1-45). 

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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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