Wednesday in Holy Week for most liturgical churches is a day of transition. We are leaving behind the simple services from earlier in the week but have not yet arrived at the more dramatic and climactic days to come. In many churches, including St. Edward’s, Wednesday is the day we have Tenebrae. The name comes from Latin and means “shadows” or “darkness”. A traditional Tenebrae service takes place in the evening and is a collection of psalms, scripture readings, music, texts and responses drawn from ancient monastic Holy Week services. It is also a service that moves gradually from light to darkness as a collection of candles is extinguished one by one while the service progresses. If you have never experienced a Tenebrae service I commend it to you. The tone is meditative and somber, although it ends on a moment of dramatic surprise. The intention is to leave us in the right frame of mind to be ready for the days to come.
The diocesan online service of Tenebrae can be found here:
It takes place live on Wednesday at 7:00 pm and comes from St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg. On the linked page you can choose to view it on either Facebook or YouTube. All the words will be displayed on the screen so you can easily follow the service as you watch and listen.
As a bit of a teaser, if you happen to be doing your grocery shopping today or tomorrow (please don’t increase your risk by making a special trip), you may want to pick up some cheese, olives, dried fruit, and wine or juice. I’ll be saying more about that in tomorrow’s post.
After Wednesday, we will be gathering ourselves for the increasingly intense final days of Holy Week.
Personal message from Beth Lynch, Social Outreach Ministry Chairperson:
I am a person whose “engine” is always going. The first week of quarantine was not bad, I was able to catch up on cleaning and craft planning for the summer camps I direct. After 10 days though I was lost.
I realize I need a schedule or else I flounder about with no purpose. I have made myself a schedule and work hard to keep at it. I add exercise every day. I add communication to friends and family every day. I add quiet reflection. It is during this time that I feel close to Christ and that brings me close to my family of St. Edward’s.
– Beth Lynch
LENTEN MEDITATION – TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020
I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.
– Hosea 11:4
There’s not much I love more in this world than holding one of my children—except when I absolutely do not want to do it. My kids have a knack for asking me to hold them at exactly the moment I’m working at a hot stove, busy with a task or just exhausted from the day.
In my reflective maturity, I realize that to parent young children is to constantly be invited to the spiritual practice of presence. I know that, no matter how much I work out, I am not going to be able to physically hold my children for much longer. Apart from that, they aren’t going to want me to hold them much longer. Practicing presence invites me to give thanks for who they are now and reminds me that there is no task more important than the cords of human kindness and bands of love.
– Patrick Funston is a husband, father of two young children and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas
Holy Week Resources: Here is a link to some wonderful free resources provided by Church Publishing: https://sainteds.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Holy-Week-Activities-for-Families_FINAL.pdf
The Rector and Senior Warden are looking for interested parishioners to serve as our delegates to convention. The Diocesan Convention is one day, October 17, 2020, and is a wonderful opportunity to represent us and to be involved in the very important work and decisions that shape our diocese. As per the by-laws, we are seeking confirmed or received Episcopalians who are over 18 years of age and who attend regularly, financially support the Church and who have been a member of St. Edward’s Church for at least 12 months. It would be wonderful if parishioners who have not served as delegates in prior years would seek this as an opportunity to serve our parish community. We need you! Please prayerfully consider submitting your name(s) by Monday, April 13th to the parish office.