Sunday, March 25, 2018THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION: PALM SUNDAY
The liturgies on the morning of Palm Sunday are designed by the Book of Common Prayer to take us through the week to come. So, since this is Holy Week, Palm Sunday covers both the triumphant entry into Jerusalem (the Blessing of the Palms and the Palm Procession) as well as Christ's Passion, which we unpack each day of the rest of the week. The idea here is that a person could attend church only on Sundays and still participate in the entirety of Holy Week and Easter: Palm Sunday takes us through Christ's Crucifixion, and then Easter Sunday celebrates Christ's Resurrection.
Of course, we're not suggesting you skip the rest of Holy Week—indeed, we encourage you to spend the entire week with us. But if you are wondering why the morning liturgies on Palm Sunday end with Christ Crucified, you now have your answer. The church is structured so that Sunday worshippers get the gist. If you seek more than the gist, you're in luck: at Saint Thomas, we know how to dwell on the details. You are most welcome to join us as we mark each day of Holy Week in scripture, song, meditation and prayer.
Even if you cannot join us in person for everything, please know that all choral services throughout the week are webcast live and then available on-demand.
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, March 26, 2018MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, March 29, 2018MAUNDY THURSDAY
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
Friday, March 30, 2018GOOD FRIDAY
Over the years, we've had many guest preachers meditate on the seven last words of Christ at the Three Hours Devotion. Among them:
Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ (2015) by Fr Austin, Fr Spurlock and Fr Daniels
Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ (2014) by Fr Mead, Fr Austin, Fr Spurlock and Fr Daniels
Jesus' Seven Last Words from the Cross (2012) by The Right Rev'd Dr Robert Gillies, Bishop of Aberdeen
Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ (2011) by Canon Andrew Diestche
Meditation on the Seven Last Words of Christ (2010) by The Very Reverend Joseph Britton
Seven Addresses on the Last Words of Our Lord from the Cross (2007) by Fr Andrew
Among some of the sermons preached at the 5:30pm Good Friday Liturgy are these:
Crucifixion & Clarity (2013) by Fr Daniels
The Blood is on Our Hands (2012) by Fr Spurlock
Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Rubbish (2011) by Fr Spurlock
I Thirst (2010) by Fr Austin
A Sermon for Good Friday (2008) by Fr Mead
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
Saturday, March 31, 2018HOLY SATURDAY
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of thy dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, April 1, 2018THE SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION: EASTER DAY
Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
Sunday, April 8, 2018THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (Low Sunday)
The Second Sunday of Easter is commonly called Low Sunday because it follows the hugely important and busy Holy Week and Easter Day, and therefore is a Sunday when the church slows down, the choir on break. However, Low Sunday is especially important to us at Saint Thomas, because it is the Sunday when we have the Gospel from John 20:19-31, wherein we have the description of Doubting Thomas (our patron saint) who, at long last, having seen the Risen Christ, declares “My Lord and my God.” And Jesus responds, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Here are some sermons from past Low Sundays:
Probing the Wounds (2013) by Fr Spurlock
Where Was Thomas? (2012) by Fr Spurlock
Faith, Doubt and the Sign of Thomas (2009) by Fr Austin
Doubt is Okay, but Beware of Magical Thinking (2007) by Fr Austin
Tommy-Come-Lately (2006) by Fr Andrew
St Puddleglum (2002) by Fr Mead
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018THE ANNUNCIATION
From Fr Mead's sermon on the Eve of the Annunciation in 2001:
At Saint Thomas we have great respect for the holy season of Lent. We do not interrupt the Lenten observances of each day or the use of Lenten colors lightly. Only two feasts suffice to break the pattern. The feast of Saint Joseph on March 19 is one. The feast of the Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary... is the other.
The Annunciation is very important, because it is the actual beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s life in the flesh. The Church calendar places the Annunciation exactly nine months before the date of Christ’s birth, from March 25 to December 25, so we see that the Annunciation is the moment of Jesus Christ’s conception as a human being in the womb of his mother Mary.
Read the rest of Fr Mead's 2001 sermon here.
You might also want to read or listen to Fr Austin's sermon on the line from the Apostles' Creed: "who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Sunday, April 15, 2018THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Gospel for The Third Sunday of Easter is from Luke 24, wherein the risen Christ reveals himself on the road to Emmaus to two followers and then later (if you were to continue on past today's Gospel through the rest of Luke 24) to the eleven disciples gathered together, where Jesus actually eats before them a broiled fish and a honeycomb. Is he a ghost? Clearly not. Does he have a body? Yes, but one that is so much more than what we have.
What to make of this? These sermons by the Rector might help:
O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018Alphege
Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr
Dean Willis of Canterbury Cathedral, who gave an Eastertide sermon in 2012 at Saint Thomas, remembered at some length the martyrdom of Saint Alpege. You may listen to that sermon here.
O loving God, whose martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death because he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people: Grant, we pray thee, that all pastors of thy flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep; through him who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Wednesday, April 25, 2018SAINT MARK
In Lesser Feasts and Fasts there is a good summary of Saint Mark:
A disciple of Jesus, named Mark, appears in several places in the New Testament. If all references to Mark can be accepted as referring to the same person, we learn that he was the son of a woman who owned a house in Jerusalem, perhaps the same house in which Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples. Mark may have been the young man who fled naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul refers to “Mark the cousin of Barnabas,” who was with him in his imprisonment. Mark set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but he turned back for reasons which failed to satisfy Paul (Acts 15:36-40). When another journey was planned, Paul refused to have Mark with him. Instead, Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. The breach between Paul and Mark was later healed, and Mark became one of Paul’s companions in Rome, as well as a close friend of Peter’s.
An early tradition recorded by Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor at the beginning of the second century, names Mark as the author of the Gospel bearing his name. This tradition, which holds that Mark drew his information from the teaching of Peter, is generally accepted. In his First Letter, Peter refers to “my son Mark,” which shows a close relationship between the two men (1 Peter 5:13).
The Church of Alexandria in Egypt claimed Mark as its first bishop and most illustrious martyr, and the great Church of St. Mark in Venice commemorates the disciple who progressed from turning back while on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas to proclaiming in his Gospel Jesus of Nazareth as Son of God, and bearing witness to that faith in his later life as friend and companion to the apostles Peter and Paul.
For more about Saint Mark, see these two sermons by Rector. Although both are from the season of Advent, they are nonetheless ever-relevant and insightful regarding Mark:
Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Gospel appointed for the morning services on this Fifth Sunday of Easter is John 14:1-14, in which Jesus tells his disciples, "In my house are many mansions..I am the way, the truth and the life."
As you try to contemplate the meaning of this alongside the disciples, consider these sermons:
Reservations in the Father's House (2011) by Fr Mead
Is Jesus the Only Way? (2010) by Fr Austin
A Presence within an Absence (2008) by Fr Austin
Pope Benedict and Jesus (2008) by Fr Mead
Freedom from Fear (2005) by Fr Mead
With God, at Rest and not at Rest (2005) by Fr Austin
Religion: Vertical and Horizonton (2002) by Fr Mead
O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.