Holy Saturday

April 20 - Holy Saturday

The Collect:

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your 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 lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Matthew 27:57-66

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

Scriptures for Holy Saturday



April 19 - Good Friday

The Collect: Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  

Today is Good Friday, which marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. In scripture, he had been arrested the previous night, handed over to the authorities, and condemned to die, along with two thieves. This day, which is filled with images of Jesus’ very real pain and agony, may seem to be anything but good, but the term comes from an earlier English sense of “good,” meaning “holy”.  (The Episcopal Church) 

But as it is, my kingdom is not here … 

From the Proclamation of the Passion: John 18: 1-19: 42
There is certainly reason and cause for grief and mourning. There is assuredly a case to be made for lament and sadness because the reign of God is far from being realized. God’s heart is pierced because our world is pierced: hunger, violence, greed, abuse, homelessness, anxiety, isolation, racism, misogyny, bigotry, poverty, murder, extreme economic injustice … the litany is endless. Many would say this is the reality of the world and of this time and place – and that “heaven” will only come when we actually, hopefully, “get to heaven” after we die. So instead of committing to build the city of God here on earth – we look out for our spiritual self-interest, obsessed and possessed by making sure we will “get there” in the afterlife.
But this is not God’s hope for us, nor is it God’s vision for us. The reign of God is to be made real, right here, and right now. And while our intentions keep getting shattered in seeing the dream of God’s reign coming true, we are called on this very day to remember that each day is to be a deliberate and intentional choice to place our lives in the hands of our “Abba.” Such surrender is the only path, the only hope, that we have for tombs to be emptied and for true rising to take place.
We must die to our plans, strategies, politics, and patterns of living in this world; such actions and directions need to be crucified and buried, and we have to die a similar death. Then we can discover a sweet consolation that will rise from our broken hearts. 

David Haas

Maundy Thursday

April 18 - Maundy Thursday

The Collect: Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel - John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Maundy Thursday Scriptures


Wednesday in Holy Week

April 17

Wednesday in Holy Week

The Collect: Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel: John 13:21-32

At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 

One of his disciples-- the one whom Jesus loved-- was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 

So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." 

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do."

 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; 

or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 

If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once."

Scriptures for Wednesday in Holy Week

Tuesday in Holy Week

April 16 - Tuesday in Holy Week

The Collect: O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for 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 your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel : John 12:20-36

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." 

Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 

Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. 

Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." 

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 

Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 

The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" 

Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. 

If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light."

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

A Prayer for Holy Week

 by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller


The darkness is giving way to the light,

but not quite yet.  

This week brings us to the threshold

of something new;

something beautiful, hopeful, and life-giving.

A glimpse into what will be.

But we’re not there yet.


First, we must wait.

And listen.

We are called to be attentive and present.

Open to walking in the story once again.

For this Holy Week is our story, too.

And it’s beckoning to us: Come and See.


Guide us to the table, to feast on bread and wine,

to sit in your presence, to reflect on betrayals and love.

To see where we’ve fallen short,

and where we’ve grasped your grace.

Humble us to offer our hands to a neighbor,

to wash their feet,

and to have ours washed as well.

May we see the needs and cares of our neighbors,

opening our hearts to feel deeply,

and our arms to open wide.

May our table have no boundaries,

and all be fed and welcomed.


Guide us to the cross,

to sit in the darkness,

to cry out in pain.

Let us not shield our hearts from the brokenness.

Train our eyes to see in the dark.

On that Friday, that we call good,

help us to see the love laid out for the world,

on the cross, never to be surpassed.


Guide us to wait.

To cry and wail and wonder.

To question what happened.

To seek solace in the company of others.

To keep watch for any signs of hope.


Guide us, Lord, for we know

darkness is giving way to the light.

Forever and always.



Monday in Holy Week

April 15

Monday in Holy Week

Collect: 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 Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.      John 12:1-11

I was sad one day and went for a walk; 

I sat in a field. 

A rabbit noticed my condition and 

came near. 

It often does not take more than that to help at times — 

to just be close to creatures who 

are so full of knowing, 

so full of love 

that they don't 

— chat, 

they just gaze with 


marvelous understanding.

St. John of the Cross

Palm Sunday

April 14 - Palm Sunday

“I wonder what was at work in the mind of Jesus of Nazareth as he jogged along on the back of that faithful donkey. 

Perhaps his mind was far away to the scenes of his childhood, feeling the sawdust between his toes in his father’s shop. He may have been remembering the high holy days in the synagogue with his whole body quickened by the echo of the ram’s horn. 

Or perhaps he was thinking of his mother, how deeply he loved her and how he wished that there had not been laid upon him this Great Necessity that sent him out on to the open road to proclaim the Truth, leaving her side forever.

It may be that he lived all over again that high moment on the Sabbath when he was handed the scroll and he unrolled it to the great passage from Isaiah, ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach good news to the poor.’ 

I wonder what was moving through the mind of the Master as he jogged along on the back of that faithful donkey.”

Palm Sunday April 11th, 1976 St John The Divine
(Written by Howard Thurman - He was installed as the Honorary Cannon at St John on this day)

The Liturgy of the Palms

God is about to do a new thing - 5 Lent

5 Lent/Year C

April 7, 2019

Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8


Opening Prayer (based on Psalm 126) written by Rev. Penny L. Lowe
Holy God, the world in which we live is as terrifying as it is wonderful. 
We need Jesus as much today as in times of old. 
Many sow in tears, and go out weeping. 
Replenish our lands, fill our hearts with gladness, restore our faith in you and each other, wipe away the tears of despair. 
As we gather today, we tilt an ear to listen close. 
Let the voice of your angel fill our minds with new understandings. 
We are waiting for you. Speak to us today. Amen. 

Every time we pause to read or listen to the scriptures, we have an opportunity to learn something new. Every time we pause to sing together, we have an opportunity to hear something new. Every time we pause to pray with one another, we have an opportunity to feel something new. Every time we pause to gather here in church, we have an opportunity to rejoice in seeing old friends and making new friends. Every time we pause to share a meal together, we have an opportunity to smell and taste something new.

Every time, we choose to pause…we make room in our hearts and in our minds…to hear the Good News of God’s extravagant love being poured out for us…we make room in our hearts and in our minds to hear God speaking to us today:

Thus says, the Lord, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

We are one week away, from the beginning of Holy Week…Jesus’ final week, of his earthly life…a journey that will lead to his death on the cross of Good Friday….But that new thing, he has been teaching his followers and all those who have been listening….is about to spring forth…on the third day…hold on to that vision…hold on to that hope…

Jesus has not shied away from telling his listeners and followers that the day was drawing close for the time of his death…the time in which the scriptures will be fulfilled in their hearing….through his death and resurrection.

But no matter how many times he has tried to tell them that he would be leaving them, that they would not always have him with them… no matter how many miracles he performed, or no matter how many glorious signs he revealed to them that he is the one that they have been waiting for, the Messiah, the Savior of the world…many of his followers have still failed to grasp that this Savior, this Messiah, is about to endure a terrible death, he is about to sacrifice his own life, for the salvation of all God’s people…and set them free through the unconditional, sacrificial, extravagant love…that will be poured out for them and us, in the person of Jesus Christ….

This Savior, this Messiah, is about to do a new thing… hold on to that vision…hold on to that hope…

But, first…we must journey to the cross with him…we must face the truth of his death, so that we may rise with him, into a new life…

In today’s gospel reading…the truth of his impending death…seems to be drawing near…perhaps too close for some of those gathered for the dinner party.

Just think for a moment…it wasn’t too long ago, that we heard the story about Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus…all were grieving his death…people were coming to console Martha and Mary. We heard how deeply disturbed Jesus was from the news of Lazarus’ death and how He wept. We heard that Lazarus had been dead four days, so there was quite a stench. This story does end with good news with Jesus raising Lazarus to life again… unbinding him, and letting him go.

So…I can imagine….how uncomfortable the setting of this dinner party might have been…perhaps some of the emotions, and the smells associated with Lazarus’ death were still lingering in the air….

Here is Jesus, with some of the very same people, those he loved dearly, and those who loved him dearly, who just a short time ago, came face to face with death. Here, they are gathered together this evening… to face death, once again….Jesus’ death…just days away…

Only this time, not everyone is openly acknowledging that death is in the air. But, perhaps it’s Judas’ awareness that causes him to react as he did when Mary openly acknowledges Jesus’ impending death, by using a costly perfume made of pure nard, an oil used for the burial of the dead, to anoint Jesus’ feet and wipe them with her hair. And I can only imagine, that perhaps as everyone watched how Judas reacted to Mary’s lavish outpouring of love….that they too…might have been stirred up , even for a brief moment…wondering….is the smell of death in the air?

Mary went where no-one else was ready to go, yet. She allowed herself to draw intimately close to death’s door. She boldly stepped forward, to offer her extravagant gift of love…to acknowledge Jesus, perhaps thank Jesus, perhaps honor Jesus, perhaps assure him that her love will go with him to the cross and beyond, and perhaps she turned her face once again towards Jesus, to affirm….that yes….she loves him…yes…she believes in him…yes…she will trust in him…and yes…she will dare to continue to hope in him …

She puts aside any doubts or worries or fears about Jesus’ death and she boldly offers her gift of extravagant love, at his feet…the feet that will journey to the cross and bear the weight of the world’s sins….

This Savior, this Messiah, is about to do a new thing… hold on to that vision…hold on to that hope…

From the moment Mary opened the door to welcome Jesus into to the home for the dinner party…she noticed something….

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver – (Pg 156, Mary’s extravagant love) 

He looks so tired. The face she loves is lined and drawn as she meets him at the door. His forehead is troubled, but when he sees her, the Master’s eyes soften. He makes his way through the crowded foyer and takes her hands.


“I’m glad you’re here, Lord” she says. “It’s been too long.” His travels have taken him away from Jerusalem lately, Away from the temple courts. Away from the rumored price upon his head.

“I worry for you,” Mary whispers.

Jesus smiles and slowly shakes his head. “Be anxious for nothing, dear Mary. My life is in the Father’s hands.” His words are tender, yet intense; as though they hold hidden truth. A shiver runs down her spine as they walk toward the living room.

It’s clear this visit will be nothing like the one so many months ago. Something is wrong. And yet, somehow, Mary senses something so right. It goes against logic. She can see their Master’s weariness. The men are clearly worried and befuddled. And yet Mary feels a tremor within, like a single strum upon a stringed instrument. Like hope…or is it joy?

There is no sound, only an awaiting. As though all of heaven is standing on tiptoe listening for the song. As if all of eternity has been gathering momentum for this week…for this journey…for this Man…

This Man, Jesus Christ… is about to do a new thing… hold on to that vision…hold on to that hope…

I believe Mary was able to catch a glimpse of that vision and that hope, which enabled her to boldly step forward…She had spent much time throughout her life, pausing to just be with Jesus…learning from him, being assured by him, loving him…her heart was drawn closer to him, day after day….

May we be inspired by her example…taking time to pause to be in the presence of Christ…so that our hearts may draw closer and closer to him….so that even in times of our lives when the world feels as terrifying as it feels wonderful…we can hold on to the vision and the hope…that God is about to do a new thing!


Voices Found - #94 In boldness, look to God

4          In boldness, love, nor count the cost.

            Confront the world’s harsh stare:

            like one who washed the feet of Christ,

            and wiped them with her hair,

            poured perfume to anoint her Lord,

            and left love’s fragrance there.



Rev. Julie Platson, Rector

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska

4 Lent Year C Sermon

Lent 4C 2019-03-31

(written by Kit Allgood-Mellema)

Today’s gospel reading is one of a series of parables found in Luke, beginning in chapter 13 and

continuing through chapter 16. What is a parable? It’s a short and simple story used to illustrate

a truth. A parable’s meaning may not be stated, but it is intended to be fairly obvious. We often

aren’t told the end result – remember last week’s parable of the fig tree? Did it produce fruit

the following year? I think of a parable as a piece of paper with only a few lines and shapes

drawn on it; as I listen, I’m given a box of colored pencils and invited to connect the lines and

shapes, add the color and complete the picture.

The parable we heard today is one of the best-known, called the Prodigal Son. First let me say

that, given the chance, I’d re-name this parable. I’ll share it with you in a bit. Jesus told this

parable in response to Pharisees grumbling about him eating with sinners. The story is about a

man who had two sons. Here’s where I started to connect some of the lines and shapes, and

take a different look at the story. I guessed this man was fairly wealthy, with land, livestock,

servants, and enough money to give his sons. This was a family, so I included a mother, a

woman who was wise and adept at taking care of a busy household. She and her husband were

deeply in love with each other, a relationship that was the foundation of the family life. They

both loved and cherished their sons.

The two sons were very different – the older son was always serious, introverted and quiet,

intelligent, loyal to his family and hardworking; the younger was smart, quick, happy-go-lucky

and outgoing, easily distracted. He played pranks on his brother, who tolerated his antics as he

kept an eye on him. As different as the boys were, there was true affection between them.

No one was surprised when younger brother came to his father asking for his inheritance. That

night, father and mother quietly agreed it was risky to give it to him, but they reminded

themselves they loved the young man and had raised him well, and so it was done. A few days

later, the boy left after embracing his mother and kissing his father, while his older brother

watched from the fields, nodding and waving as the boy strode away.

And so the waiting began. The entire household felt the change. As days turned into weeks,

occasionally a traveler would stop by with cautious news – I saw your boy a few weeks ago. He

looks all right and sends his best. Older brother would shake his head and turn away as the

parents exchanged glances. Mother spent hours in prayer; father had many sleepless nights as

he struggled between anger and worry. Weeks turned into months, and the news dwindled

until one day a traveler, in answer to father’s questions, reluctantly admitted he had seen

younger son, poor, starving and ill, working as a swineherd, an unthinkable job for a Jew. That

night, while mother tearfully prayed and reminded the distraught father they loved their son

and had raised him well, the older son sat aside, nursing his anger at the grief his brother had

brought on the family, and aching inside at the loss of his friend.

Time moved on. There was no further word. Everyone felt the weight of the days. Mother held

the household together, and spent time with older brother. Older brother immersed himself in

work while father went through his days, sometimes supervising in the fields, but usually sitting

under the tree and staring absent-mindedly in the distance. On one of those days, he saw a

traveler approach, and began to call to mother to prepare a place for a guest, when he took

another look. He pulled himself up, and while the whole household stared in amazement,

father broke into a run toward the road, returning in a few moments with tears streaming

down his face and his arms wrapped around a thin, dirty, barely clothed young man, hardly

recognizable as the younger son. After he had composed himself, father and mother helped the

servants wash and clothe their son while a feast was prepared. In his exhausted state, the boy

was confused by the welcome; he had expected to be punished and sent away. But his father

had brushed away his confession, and here he was in the arms of his loving family.

During the feast, mother slipped out, looking for older brother. But father had already found

him and was listening quietly to his son as he poured out his anger, fears and grief. Father

lovingly embraced him, and looking at him with compassion, reminded older son that his love

for him had only grown deeper over the time they had been together. He begged him to join

the celebration, reminding him this was ‘his brother’ whom he had always loved.

We don’t know the end of the parable, but I believe over time, the entire family reconciled as

they began life together anew. What else could they do? That was their foundation, it was what

they were raised with and knew deep in their hearts.

I think that’s what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees and to us with this story: your foundation

is love. That’s what you see me doing right now – loving the ones who need it most. That’s

what you’ve been raised on, and it’s always been there for you to see and share. No matter

what you do, how far away you stray, or how long you wander, God is waiting to shower you

with extravagant love, whether you are angry or lost or afraid, whether or not you think you are

worth it. God will always have arms of love stretched out, showing us how we are to embrace

all our lost and wounded sisters and brothers in love.

What would I call this parable? The Parable of Our Loving Family. Like us, this was indeed a

family grounded in love.

Thanks be to God.

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32