Month: March 2017

What does Hosanna Mean?

What does Hosanna Mean?

Hosanna is an ancient Hebrew exclamation which basically means, “save us!” The word Hosanna appears in psalm 118 verse 25, “Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray give us success!” This psalm was sung in Jerusalem during Passover with people waving palm branches as sings of victory and joy.

Palm Sunday commemorates the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem at Passover time, the crowds greeting him with the traditional song of the feast. By shouting hosanna to Jesus and waving palm branches before him the people were calling upon him to be their Savior.

When we wave our palms branches and join in this ancient song, we join the ancient call. Hosanna, Jesus, save us! And our hosannas are more joyful than the ancient crowd, because we know that what they hoped for has been accomplished. Jesus has saved all who trust in him.

Hosanna, to Jesus the son of David!

The Sacrament of Confession

The Sacrament of Confession

The Sacrament of Penance, also known as Confession or Reconciliation, is the method given by Christ to the Church by which individual men and women may be freed from sins committed after receiving Baptism. The goal of this sacrament is the reconciliation of sinners with God through the healing of the soul which has been damaged by acts of sin. Confession of sin is the mark of a true Christian. St. John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9-10).

The Sacrament of Penance is administered in either two ways: publicly or privately. In the Prayer Book services (Morning/Evening Prayer and Eucharist), penance is a component of our corporate worship. First, the priest makes an exhortation to repentance. This is followed by the reciting of the general confession by all present. Finally, the absolution is given by the priest to all “who do truly and earnestly repent of their sins.”

In addition to the sacrament being administered in corporate worship, penance is also administered privately by the priest to individuals whose consciences are troubled by weighty sins. Private penance is helpful in such difficult situations because it can deepen a person’s humility additionally it gives a person struggling with a particularly difficult sin a chance to receive counsel that will be helpful in overcoming that sin in the future.

The Sacrament of Penance consists basically of four acts (note that penance sacramentally applies to the whole activity from the contrition of sins to the absolution of those sins by the priest):

Contrition: First the penitent (the repentant sinner – the root word in “penitentiary”), must be aware of his/her sinfulness and must be truly sorry (contrite) for his/her sins. Another word for repentance is “contrition”. Then with a contrite heart, the penitent repents of his/her sins by making a humble confession to God.

Confession: The penitent confesses all the sins he/she can recall – after examining his conscience – that he/she has not confessed previously.

Act of Penance: In the case of private confessions, the priest-confessor may propose certain actions – penance – for the penitent to perform. This may be saying certain prayers and/or performing some other fitting action. The person who performs this penance thus shows his or her sorrow for his/her sinful acts. This helps him/her to overcome his/her faults, and the harm his sins have caused others – to be reconciled with them and with the Church, and to return to behavior consistent with being a disciple of Christ.

Absolution: After the penitent truly confesses his/her sin and accepts any acts of penance needing to be performed; the priest, by the authority that Christ has given him as the one commissioned through the laying on of hands by the successors to the apostles (see John 20:22-23) absolves the sinner; that is, he grants God’s pardon for the sins.

Penance is a wonderful sacrament given by Jesus Christ to His Church. It is a means by which we sinful, unclean creatures can have our souls and hearts cleansed in order that we can be reassured that He fully forgives those who have a contrite heart and truly confess their sins.

Why Don’t We Say Alleluia During Lent

Why Don’t We Say Alleluia During Lent

Throughout the liturgical year, the Church makes certain changes to the Mass to reflect the liturgical season. Next to the change in the color of the priest’s vestments, the absence of the Alleluia during Lent is probably the most obvious.

The Meaning of the Alleluia

The Alleluia comes to us from Hebrew, and it means “praise Yahweh.” Traditionally, it has been seen as the chief term of praise of the choirs of angels, as they worship around the throne of God in Heaven. It is, therefore, a term of great joy, and our use of the Alleluia during Mass is a way of participating in the angels’ worship. It is also a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is already established on earth in the form of the Church, and that our participation in Mass is a participation in Heaven.

Our Lenten Exile

In truth, we live in what is called the Now and the Not Yet. The Kingdom of God has come. But its full appearance in not yet fully revealed. During Lent, our focus is on the fullness of the Kingdom which is still to come, not on the partial Kingdom having come. The readings in the Masses for Lent and in the Daily Offices focus heavily on the spiritual journey of Old Testament Israel toward the coming of Christ and the salvation of mankind in His death and resurrection. We, too, are on a spiritual journey toward the Second Coming and our future life in Heaven. In order to emphasize that journey, the Church during Lent removes the Alleluia from the Mass. We no longer sing with the choirs of angels; instead, we acknowledge our sins and practice repentance so that one day we may again have the privilege of worshiping God as the angels do.

The Return of the Alleluia at Easter

That day comes triumphantly on Easter Sunday – or, rather, at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night when the priest chants a triple Alleluia before he reads the Gospel and everyone present responds with a triple Alleluia. The Lord is risen; the Kingdom has come; our joy is complete; and, in concert with the angels and saints, we greet the risen Lord with shouts of “Alleluia!”

Why Veil the Crosses?

Our Lord promised his disciples a place in His Kingdom. He promised them a new life. Yet He continued to talk about a Cross. The disciples tried to ignore it until it could no longer be denied. How could these promises be fulfilled if He who made them was to be crucified? Christ insisted the Cross was a necessity. For them it was a terrifying mystery. The veils symbolize this dark mystery.

Wednesday Evenings during Lent

Wednesday Evenings during Lent

Each Wednesday during Lent, we will begin with Holy Eucharist with Penitential Office at 5:45 p.m. After the Eucharist, we will meet for a soup and salad dinner in the parish hall. These meatless soup dinners are designed for us to come together as a parish family to support one another with our Lenten fasting. This will be followed by a Lenten study on the Core Values of Christianity. Please join us each Wednesday during Lent for these special evenings as we gather as a parish family. There is a sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall for those wishing to help out by bringing a pot of soup, or a salad, or help with clean up. Lenten Soup Nights are each Wednesday from March 8 through April 5.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Our traditional Ash Wednesday services of Holy Communion with the Imposition of Ashes will be this Wednesday, March 1. There will be a Said Service at 7:00 a.m. and a Choral Service at 7:00 p.m. Please plan to worship at one of these services and then leave in silence as we contemplate the seriousness of our Lenten Fast in Christ. (Ash Wednesday is a Prayer Book Day of Obligation.)

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