One of the ancient spiritual writers of the Church, St. Dionysius, wrote about the three liturgies that take place. The first is the liturgy that takes place before the altar in heaven, as described for us in Chapters 4, 5. 7 and 8 of the Book of Revelation. The second is the liturgy is that which takes place on earth, which we celebrate before the altar St. Mary’s. (see photo above). And third liturgy is the one that takes place in altar of our heart.
The purpose of the liturgy that takes place on the earth is to unite the liturgy in heaven with our heart. And so it is that in the Holy Communion we pray,
Lift up your hearts!” “We lift them up unto the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord! “It is meet and right so to do!
Therefore with angels and archangels an all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name, evermore praising thee and saying,
Holy, Holy, Holy…
Our purpose in the liturgy at the altar at St. Mary’s on Sunday morning, is that that we should “at all times and in all places give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, Creator and Preserver of all things”( BCP p. 78) in a ceaseless offering of our lives in thanksgiving and praise to God.
But what are we to do in this time when our liturgy before the altar at St. Mary’s has been silenced?
This is where we need to undertake the difficult work of entering more deeply within our own hearts, to find and serve at the altar of our hearts, and to find the Lord there.
Now that Holy Week is upon us, “ Let us dust off the altar of our heart, place the Gospel back in the centre, take what is given to us in this life( both good and bad) and offer it to God in thanksgiving ( Eucharist). When we do so, we will find that we will receive Christ Himself in return, and every encounter with Christ is Pascha, a passing over from death to life.” ( Abbot Sergius Bowyer)
In support of this collective spiritual effort of ours at St. Mary’s this week, I am attaching a table of lessons and psalms for Holy Week from The Book of Common Prayer, which will serve as our spiritual guide.
I have also attached an Evening Service for Light and Peace for parents to celebrate with their children, in conjunction with the video of the service which was taped at St. Mary’s yesterday afternoon, and can be found here: https://youtu.be/jLIp8gK9xwA
In addition you can also expect to receive by e-mail the following Holy Week services for you to celebrate in the safety of your home, and in spiritual communion with your family at St. Mary’s:
- Palm Sunday: Liturgy of the Palms and Morning prayer with Hymns and Sermon ( Beth Christianson preaching)
- Maundy Thursday: Evening Prayer with Hymns and sermon ( Gene Packwood preaching)
- Good Friday: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion with Hymns and sermon ( Nathaniel Deng Mayen preaching)
- Easter Sunday: Morning Prayer with Hymns and Sermon (Claude Schroeder preaching)
These services will also be posted on our web-site.
Families will also receive “Stations of the Cross” Service which may be used at home, or as part of a prayer walk on Good Friday.
Finally, sanitized palm crosses are available for you to pick up at 15 th Avenue entrance of St. Mary’s today and tomorrow as you make your way home perhaps from a trip to the grocery store.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in
Who is the King of Glory? It is the Lord strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle.Psalm 24. 7,8
With every prayer for a rich and blessed Holy Week,