Dear Cathedral Family and Friends,
Yes, this Sunday will be Palm Sunday! I hope that you all will enter fully into the spirit of the day by displaying palm crosses at home, perhaps making palm crosses to wear (see the video in Tuesday’s email for instructions), watching our live stream of worship, and maybe even having your own “procession at home” (here is the format for doing so.)
Time has passed differently during the last two weeks—both frighteningly fast, as the present pandemic as spread and responses have hurriedly been put in place, and strangely slowly, as our daily routines have been upended and our movements limited.
Here at Christ Church Cathedral, the staff have been working hard to set up our capacity to live stream and record worship at high quality, connect us all through a “caring tree” system, equip us to work remotely from our office network, tend to our financial health, and plan worship in a new way for the most intense time of the Church year, Holy Week into Easter. I give thanks every day for the dedication, skill, and loving care demonstrated by every member of the Cathedral staff. Their work keeps us in community with one another in these new times. Please remember them and their families in your prayers.
I hope that many of you have been able to access our worship on Sunday mornings and Wednesdays at noon. We will continue this as long as it is feasible (and possible) to provide for community worship in this format. This present season also presents us with the opportunity to grow more deeply in our worship at home. The time from Palm Sunday to Easter Day is the holiest period of the Christian year, during which all Christians have traditionally been called to special devotion and prayer. The circumstances of our new reality intensify for us that calling to walk and watch and pray with Jesus through the last week of his life here on earth. Because we cannot worship together in our church home, we will be making a special effort to worship together in our individual homes.
On Tuesday of this week you received an email containing information and materials to help you get started by setting up a small space in which to worship at home. The Gibsons have set up a simple space on a side table in our living room, placing on it objects that have been given to us over the years by special people. Just looking at it brings me a feeling of comfort and being surrounded by the love of Christ, both now and through the years. It is a comfortable place to pray the Daily Office and to feel connected to others in times of worship. You can make your spot wherever is comfortable for you and as simple or elaborate as works for you, and if you have children at home, please encourage them to make art for it and contribute their own holy objects. You are creative and beauty-loving people, I know. Send us pictures!
Each day during Holy Week, you will receive an email containing a brief form for the day’s worship. On Monday through Wednesday, this will be a short early evening prayer form, adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, for you to use before or after your evening meal. On Thursday, you will receive a message from me along with a format for observing an “Agape Meal” at home to mark this special night. On Good Friday, we will live stream our usual noon liturgy of meditation, prayers, and music, and we will send a format for praying the Stations of the Cross at home.
On Easter Day, we will stream worship at the usual time, and I invite you to “dress up” and have the whole Easter experience in whatever way works for you at home. We will send you a slide show of pictures from Easters past, along with an invitation for you to send us pictures of your Easter at home.
On the first Sunday we return to worship together in our beloved church home, whenever that may be, we will raise the flower cross and say the Easter acclamation together! Until then, we will live together in the life of the resurrection and hold each other close in our hearts. May you know God’s peace in this holy season.