A Beautiful Reflection from My Pastor on Lament & Witness [video]

While my church isn’t meeting in person due to social distancing, my pastor has been putting out weekly video reflections (with some announcements at the end, but don’t let that scare you off). I thought today’s was beautiful and moving and I wanted to share it with you all.


Of Saints & Suicidal Ideations

Warning: this post talks about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing this, you can chat online with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call at 1.800.273.8255.

We are in the final weeks of the Christian season of Lent: a time where we focus on the fact that we are not yet who we will be, and that we still live in much darkness, weakness, and self-obsession. On its own, this could become masochistic or over-indulgent depending on your personality. But this is why Easter comes on the other side as a call to cast off the brooding and soul-spelunking to rise into the highest heights of celebration and freedom the Resurrection offers.

But still, this time lends itself to sadder reflections. The other day, my coworkers and I were sharing stories of social work clients we’ve worked with over the years and I was brought back ten years to my first time encountering a suicidal client when I was brand new to the field.

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Holy Week Music: Mozart’s “Requiem”

Klimt-Death-LifeOne of the primary ways I relate to the Church Calendar is through music (hence the free Mixtapes I put out each season). Even when I am terrible at engaging at an intellectual or even a practical devotional way, I am really intentional about filling my life with music that will still put my soul in the proper posture for the particular season.

For this Lent, I found myself spending significant time with Mozart’s Requiem, a “Mass for the Dead”. This was his last (and still mysterious) piece–unfinished before he died. Before Holy Week was over, and as we enter into the Holy Weekend, I wanted to offer this to as a way you might be able to engage in these last few days of Lent. Here is the audio, and below that you will find an English translation of the entire Mass. The words are achingly haunting and beautiful and deserve your perusal whether you have time for the music or not. Have a blessed Lent.

English Translation, from St. Matthew’s choir
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Holy Day Apathy & Holy Years to Come

I found myself sitting in our joint Maundy Thursday service alongside the other congregation from which we rent space, frustrated. I was a little distracted because I had arrived late and my adrenaline was still going, making my senses heightened and my self-diagnosed ADD kick-in. I was also mad at myself for my own liturgical snobbiness, which had taken note that the service was technically a Good Friday liturgy that they were using on Thursday.

Now, I know I can go too far in chasing mystical and intense dynamics in my relating to God. But still, I was so wanting to feel God on this night, and I sat there in this service confused and saddened at my failure in finding it.

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Maundy Thursday, Narrative & Sacrament | Lent {9}

Today is Maundy Thursday which is the time in the Christian Church calendar where we celebrate the institution of the Lord’s Supper; it also initiates the three Holy Days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

I was raised as a Southern Baptist in Dallas, Texas. Liturgy, Church calendars, Holy Days, and Prayer books were as foreign to me as R-rated films, alcohol, and dancing. Now, though, as I’m looking for a Church to go to for a Good Friday service, even the Presbyterian church service all my friends are going to doesn’t feel liturgical and structured enough for me. What happened?

In the last few years between going to seminary (and dropping out) and changing churches, I have fallen in love with both liturgy and Sacrament.

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a Philly Holy Week schedule | Lent 2012

First of all, my church has been raising money to purchase and deliver over 1,000 meals to needy families around the city for Easter. They are delivering these meals on Saturday, and they really need drivers for the deliveries. It would only take 2 or 3 hours of your time, and you can pick which hour you begin. Click here to sign up. Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for this.

Thursday: Maundy Thursday Service
liberti: center city, 17th and sansom, 7pm
This day commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples and his washing of their feet.

Friday: Good Friday Service(s)
liberti: center city, 17th & Sansom, 6:30pm
On Good Friday, Christians remember Jesus’ death on a cross for the sake of the world. liberti will hold a service of songs, Scripture readings, and darkness

city church, at Woodland Pres Church, 42nd & Pine, 7pm (with meditative prelude at 6:45pm)
A Tenebrae service that mournfully observes the darkness of Jesus’ death and our need for God’s redemption (Tenebrae is Latin for “shadows”). Worship with us as our Lenten focus on God’s deliverance culminates in Jesus’ statement on the cross: “It is finished.”
(This is the Good Friday service I always go to. It’s amazing, and if you’d like to join me, let me know. We can carpool.)
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“On Maundy Thursday, Narrative, & Sacrament” – Patrol Magazine

I’ve got a new article up at Patrol Magazine.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been doing a series on Holy Week all week (you can the relevant links below).  The article is about a few different things.  First, it’s about today being Maundy Thursday, the day of the Church calendar where we celebrate the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist.  It’s also about my growth in a more liturgical context for church and love for the sacraments. Lastly, it’s about what bearing this has on our “selfhood” and how we look at the rest of the world.

Maundy Thursday, Narrative, & Sacrament

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Prayer for Maundy Thursday in Holy Week

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— from the Book of Common Prayer

you can also participate in Holy Week by joining Christians all over the world each day in morning prayer and evening prayer.

On Holy Week, Idolatry, & Suicidal Ideations

This week marks the most important week of the entire Christian calendar. It’s Holy Week; the time we meditate upon Christ’s Passion — the last week he spent in Jerusalem during the Passover preparing to be the true and perfect Passover Lamb. This is also the final week of the Lent season. For weeks now we have celebrated the angst, tension, and pain of Lent. This has been a time where we have focused on the fact that we have not yet become who we will be, and we still live in much of that old way of life. This has been a time where we look our idols in the eyes, hear their whispers and discern what they have been promising us and what we have believed they can give. Love. Security. Affirmation. Rest. We seek all these things under the sun, but all these things find their Source beyond.

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