Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Today, we have begun our annual “Tridiium” (“Great Three Days”) of Holy Week with Maundy Thursday. This morning at 11 a.m., we had our 4th of 5 Zoom Bible Studies on the Gospel reading appointed for the Holy Week Daily Mass. Tomorrow at 11, we’ll look at John Chapter 19 together.
This Holy Week- of course- is extraordinary in that we are not opening the Church’s buildings for the beautiful and powerful liturgies of each Day. By this email, though, I hope to encourage you with some ways to prayerfully keep these Days in your home.
One of our Traditions is to keep an overnight Prayer Vigil in the GSAC Chapel…with members signing up for one hour (or more) to ‘Keep watch” with Christ during this Night which He spent incarcerated in Jerusalem before His Passion & Death.
So: if you would, choose a time that you will hallow in your home this evening. If you have a ‘prayer closet’, room, or special place- indoors or out of doors- keep silent vigil with the Church in prayer. If you have a copy of the “St. Augustine’s Prayer Book”, there are 2 excellent “Holy Hours” which are guided meditations you could use for your hour of prayer. Alternatively, you could spend your time simply reading slowly, prayerfully, through the Gospel portions which detail the Maundy Thursday life of Christ. (Eg.: John, Chapter 13 would be an excellent choice. You could even ‘read on’ through chapter 14-17).
GOOD FRIDAY:On the Diocesan Website is a link to a form for “The Stations of the Cross” which you could use during the hours Jesus hung on the Cross of Calvary (ending at 3pm). Here is that link:
Stations of the Cross booklet
Again, as with Maundy Thursday, you may simply want to read prayerfully through John’s account of the Crucifixion…John Chapter 19. As well, you could utilize the intercessions in the Book of Common Prayer (1979) : Pages 277-280 provide the “Solemn Collects” which the Church will be offering up all over the world on Good Friday.
Whatever you choose to do, Good Friday is one of those days on which the Church asks its members to practice fasting. Along with Ash Wednesday, Good Friday is a day to abstain from food (within health guidelines per your medical condition and your doctor), as we humbly walk with Christ to His suffering on the Cross for our salvation.
HOLY SATURDAY/EASTER DAY:During the day, 4/11/20, you might choose to pray through the brief liturgy on page 283 in the Prayer Book.One of the folk traditions of Holy Saturday is to spend some time outdoors gardening (if weather permits). The idea is that, as Jesus lay in the tomb in a garden, we may stay spiritually close to Him during the day time by spending time in our own garden spaces. When the Church is able to be on the premises, Holy Saturday is a great day to do the last preparations of flowers and special colors in the yards and premises of the Church. So, if you have a special garden area on your property, pull some weeds, plants some seeds, scratch around in the garden, remembering Christ has been “planted as a grain of wheat in the earth” (John 12:23-26)
During the afternoon of Holy Saturday, we will be pre-recording the Easter Day Mass at GSAC. Just as we have done the past two Sundays, we will post the service to our YouTube page, which you may access by simply entering “Good Shepherd Anglican Church Granbury” on the YouTube app. An “Easter Mass at Good Shepherd Anglican Church Granbury” should be available for your to use on Easter Day, Sunday April 12th.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++If you are like me, you long with all of your heart to be able to be with the whole family of GSAC at our Church buildings these 3 great days beginning tonight. Hopefully, we will very soon be able to socially mix…rather than socially distance ourselves from one another. This comes with all of my love for each of you. Sunday will be my 14th Easter Day as your priest and pastor. It is a great joy and privilege to be a part of this wonderful, loving family of God.May your Holy Week and beginning of Easter bring you the Joy of Jesus and the power of His Resurrection…In Christ,Fr. Stuart Smith