Holy Week marks the culmination of the Lenten season. During this time, we are given another chance to reflect on and to re‑live the last hours of Jesus’ life. All the things brought to our mind by the different expressions of piety which characterize these days are of course directed to the resurrection, which is, as St Paul says, the basis of our faith. But we should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose sight of a very simple fact which we might easily overlook: We will not be able to share in our Lord’s resurrection unless we unite ourselves with him in his passion and death. If we are to accompany Christ in his glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter into his holocaust and be truly united to him, as he lies dead on Calvary.
At the sight of Christ bruised and broken — just a lifeless body taken down from the cross and given to his Mother — at the sight of Jesus destroyed in this way, we might have thought he had failed utterly. Where are the crowds that once followed him, where is the kingdom he foretold? But this is victory, not defeat. We are nearer the resurrection than ever before; we are going to see the triumph which he has won with his obedience.
We invite you to join us as we mark the events of Jesus' last days on earth, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his final hours on the cross, all in preparation for the coming of a new day on Easter morning.
Palm Sunday March 20, 2016
Morning Prayer with the Blessing of the Palms with Music by the Saint Albans Schola 11.00 a.m. On Palm Sunday, we remember how the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with palm branches and shouts of "Hosannah!" Yet, we remember as well that a few short days later, those sames crowds would cry, "Crucify Him!" On this day, Jesus set his face toward the moment of his doom, dying a death that would ultimately be our own salvation.
Our service for Palm Sunday will include the traditional blessing of the palms, and the service music will be sung by the Saint Albans Schola. Music for this day will include two anthems, O Bone Jesu, by Richard Dering, and Ex Ore Innocentium, by John Ireland, as well as works for organ, including the Fantasia on Valet will ich dir geben, BWV 735, by J.S. Bach, and the Toccata op. 59 by Max Reger.
Maundy Thursday March 24, 2016
Holy Communion Noon
On Maundy Thursday, we mark the night on which Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. At that gathering, Jesus taught his followers that faith in him alone will guarantee our life eternal. Moreover, he admonished them to live a life of humility to all men. Jesus also made a simple request -- that we remember the act of love he performed on our behalf by joining together in fellowship in the Holy Communion: "This do in remembrance of me."
The truth of Christ's message has been established - that we can join Jesus in heaven by acknowledging His sacrifice and accepting Him into our life. In addition, we can apply the lessons Jesus taught at the Last Supper to live a faithful life while here on earth by serving others in love. The bread is a symbol of the body of Jesus, never to be forgotten as it was given to us. The cup represents the blood of Jesus, never to be forgotten as he poured out His life for us. Jesus Christ has offered everybody the gift of His life, death and resurrection. The Last Supper reminds us of Christ's sacrifice, and that by faith in Him, we can dine with Christ for all eternity.
We invite you to join us on Maundy Thursday, for the service of Holy Communion, which will feature a special anthem, Ave Verum by Gabriel Fauré.
Good Friday March 25, 2016
The Order for Good Friday Noon
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?," was one of Jesus' seven words on the cross. Jesus' death was actually a part of the plan. Jesus willingly took on our punishment. He was forsaken so that we wouldn't be forsaken. He died so that we wouldn't die. And he rose again on the third day so that we, too, would be raised from the dead. In other words, Jesus willingly took on our punishment so that we would not be forsaken.
At times in our life, we sometimes feel forsaken. We sometimes believe that no one cares, that our life has no meaning, that we are left alone. Yet, Good Friday tells us that we are not without hope. If we embrace him, we live. Come, then, and join our observance of Good Friday and give thanks for the saving work of the cross.
Our service on Good Friday is the Penitential Service for Good Friday. Special music will include the anthem, Before the Cross of Christ I Stand, by John Carter.
Easter Day Sunday, March 27, 20-16
Holy Communion with Music for Organ, Brass and Choir 11.00 a.m.
When the women found the empty tomb on Easter morning, they were perplexed. They could not understand what had happened to their Lord. They were distressed -- until the angel reminded them that of Jesus' promise that he would rise again.
In many ways, we are like those first disciples.We are like the women coming to the grave that day.They had heard the promise of Jesus that on the third day, the Son of Man would be raised from the dead by the Powers of God. They had heard his promise to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”They had heard Jesus teach, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die.”Nevertheless, on that morning when they came to the grave, they came expecting death. But, what they found was life. Jesus had risen from the dead. In so doing, he demonstrated his power over the grave. More importantly, for us, he opened the gates of eternal life to all who would believe on his name.
Join us on Easter Day we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord. Our service begins at 11.00 a.m. with the celebration of Holy Communion. Our music director, Bernadette Hoke, leads the choir and brass in various works for Easter, including, works for trumpet and organ by G.F. Handel and Anton Leupold, as well as choral selections by Handel and Walter Pelz.
saint albans church The First Reformed Episcopal Church
317 East 50th Street - New York, New York 10022 - 212.755.0995