March 17, 2008
Dear Friends in Christ,
With gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ, we join you in the journey of Holy Week. It takes us “from the glory of the palms to the glory of the resurrection, by way of the dark road of suffering and death.” (p 297, The Book of Alternative Services) As the days pass the drama heightens.
Through the liturgy we recall the last supper, the agony in the garden and the trial. On Good Friday we are following Jesus hour by hour, and moment by moment. As he hangs on the cross we cling to his words, forgiving all who look to him in faith, caring for his dear mother, thirsting for refreshment, longing for love’s redeeming work to be finished, commending his spirit into the hands of his Father. As he breathes his last there is silence – in our hearts and throughout the whole Church. Our Lord, as the Apostles’ Creed puts it, is “dead and buried.”
And then comes the night when the Church gathers in vigil awaiting the joyous message that, “He is risen! Alleluia.”
So begins the great 50-day festival of Easter. With joy we hear the stories of the Risen Lord greeting Mary Magdalene, inviting Thomas to believe, calling Peter to shepherd his flock, opening the scriptures and breaking bread at an inn in Emmaus, breathing upon the apostles and sending them into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. As people of faith, we find ourselves in these stories.
For Holy Week our prayer is that as Christ gave himself for us, we may give ourselves to him through lives of faith and abiding commitment to his gospel of love.
For Easter our prayer is that we may know joy, peace, and hope in the Risen Lord, and that “by his grace, we will be enabled to show the power of his resurrection in all we say and do.” (Proper for Second Sunday of Easter p 32,Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
We are sincerely yours,
|The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
|The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
The Anglican Church of Canada