May 17: The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Join us on May 17, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. for Holy Eucharist: Rite Two, officiated by The Rev. Hazel Smith Glover, with hymns and music by Mason Copeland, Brandon Smith, Maria Margiolakou, and Cole Hankins.

 

Click here for a PDF version of the bulletin for this service. You may also follow along in The Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 355.

Morning Prayer – May 3, 2020: The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Join us on May 3, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. for Morning Prayer: Rite Two, officiated by The Rev. Kyle Mackey and The Rev. Hazel Smith Glover, with hymns and music by Mason Copeland and Marissa Richardson.

Click here for a PDF version of the bulletin for this service. You may also follow along in The Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 76.

A Meditation on Holy Saturday

Note: This article originally appeared in the April 13, 2020 edition of The Newnan Times-Herald.

Waiting: A meditation on Holy Saturday

Waiting: A meditation on Holy Saturday

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

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.

As seminarians, we were trained to remain at the gravesite after the family had gotten back into their cars to leave the cemetery. Our instructions were to remain, fully vested, next to the grave until the casket was completely covered with dirt. When the funeral director positioned flowers around the fresh grave and the grave was officially closed we were free to leave.

As I reflect on the scripture from Matthew about the burial of Jesus, the image that stands out for me is of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sitting, silently waiting. Once the stone was rolled over and the grave was sealed they remained at the tomb in what must have been heartbreaking grief. Uncertainty, ambiguity…

On Holy Saturday we too are invited to enter the emptiness of Holy Saturday as we await Easter. Here we are acutely aware that there is no way around the tomb. Here, in this liminal space, we know in our souls that the way to resurrection is by going to the tomb.

I offer the following prayer spoken each Holy Saturday in my tradition.

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.

My sense is that this Holy Week in 2020 we may want to rush on to resurrection and the glory. We know all too well discomfort of not knowing if the latest end date of sheltering in place will be extended. We are surrounded in uncertainty. Will we or someone we know contract the virus? Will those who contract the disease be able to avoid death? If there is a death can we have a funeral to celebrate that person’s life? We are literally living in the in-between space between crucifixion and resurrection. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I, personally, am deeply concerned about my registered nurse daughter who is 36 weeks pregnant working in a nursing home in North Carolina. I’m sure you have your own concerns. So, what are we to do? What will sustain us in our waiting? Prayer? Scripture? Zoom connections?

I, like many of my colleagues, return to Paul’s writings in Romans 8 so often read at funerals,

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Be safe, say your prayers, and know that God IS here,

Rev. Hazel Smith Glover

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Bulletin for April 5: Palm Sunday service

If you wish to view/print the bulletin for the service ahead of time, you may access it here. The video for the service will be posted here on April 5, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. (Please note: the link will not be operational until the designated time)

Bulletin for March 29 Online Worship

If you wish to view/print the bulletin for the service ahead of time, you may access it here. The video for the service will be posted here on March 29, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. (Please note: the link will not be operational until the designated time)

A Meditation from The Rev. Hazel Smith Glover

While sheltering in place I’ve spent some time in each room of my house. One of the most comforting rooms is my study because there I am surrounded by the array of books that have been my friends for decades. Yesterday, my eye landed on John O’Donohue’s book of blessings,To Bless the Space Between Us.

In his book, the author, poet, and Irish priest with a passion for Celtic spirituality recalls a seminal time in his early priesthood:

“When I was a young priest, I had the occasion to visit a contemplative community of sisters. An old sister opened the door. Knowing that I was a new priest, she asked for my first blessing. I stood over this contemplative and drew on every resource I knew to invoke the most intimate blessing. As I contemplated the blessing , it struck me how ironical this situation was: here was a contemplative nun who had spent more than 60 years of her live navigating the searing silence and darkness of God, yet she was asking a 25 yr old for his blessing. When she stood up I decided to kneel down and ask her for her blessing. She seemed utterly taken aback, she mumbled something and practically ran out of the room. She must never have had such a request for her blessing before. The was a woman who practiced a totally contemplative life, and yet the system made her feel that she could not bless, and, conversely, it made me think I could.”

He continues:

“Who has the power to bless? Perhaps there are deeper questions hidden here: What do you bless with? Or where do you bless from? When you bless another, you first gather yourself; you reach below your surface mind and personality, down to the deeper source within you – namely, the soul. Blessing is from soul to soul.” (pp. 204-205)

“We never know the script of our lives, nor do we know what is coming toward us, or why our life takes on this particular shape or sequence. A blessing is different from a greeting, a hug, a salute, or an affirmation; it opens a different door in the human encounter.” (p. 199). There is no distance in spiritual space. This is what blessing does: it converts distance into spiritual space (p.202)

We are aware of the spiritual space and the blessing between us when we read about individuals and corporations creating masks for those on the front lines of the virus. We recognize the power of it as we listen to cheers and applause for medical workers from balconies in Midtown at shift change (https://www.policemag.com/…/video-midtown-atlanta-residents…) or medical staff on rooftop at Cartersville Medical Center while folks on the ground were serenading them. Story after story of kindness and blessing are everywhere. The CEO and founder of Texas Roadhouse forfeited his salary so that employees could be paid. Ralph Lauren and Apple are donating $10 million for Coronavirus Relief. There has been much soul to soul connection the last few days as the people of St. Paul’s offered their favorite hymns and music on the FaceBook post by our organist/choirmaster, Mason Copeland.

We never know the script of our lives but at times like these we are called to step it up, to move from saying “having a blest day” to becoming a part of the blessing.

I offer an Irish blessing in closing, which you may view here or read the text below:

An Irish Blessing:

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses, not that you might never need regret, nor that you should never feel pain. No, that is not my wish for you. My wish for you is: That you might be brave in times of trial, when others lay crosses upon your shoulders. When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed; when hope scarce can shine through. That every gift God gave you might grow along with you, and let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you. That you may always have a friend who is worth that name, whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness. Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side. One more wish I have for you: That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you. This is my wish for you, and for all who care for you. This is my hope for you, now and forever.

Peace,

Hazel+