Return to Church for 06.07.20

We will return to public in-person worship on Sunday, June 7. While we are able to return, thanks be to God, there will have to be adjustments and amendments made to comply with CDC guidelines and the edict of our Bishop.  First, we are going to try and limit the liturgies to 50 people.  To accommodate the size of our parish family, we are adding an additional Sunday mass.  Mass times are 8am, 10am, and 6pm.  For the first few Sunday’s, we will not have Adult Education or coffee hour. 
To help us keep the congregation size to 50 we have created an RSVP form and hope you will take a moment and RSVP for one of this Sunday’s liturgies. 

Links to RSVP for this Sunday’s masses:
https://forms.gle/eEHMriEMnbiBrPPk8

Here is what to expect:

  • The physical space
    • Entry ways- We have removed all the holy water from entrances and at the entrances you will find hand sanitizer and masks for those who need them.  The doors will also be wide open to decrease touch surfaces.  The building and pews will be regularly cleaned and sanitized following guidelines. 
    • Seating- We are asking that the faithful sit in odd numbered pews, leaving the even numbered as distancing space.  Family units, and those people who have already been in close contact, may sit together, but please try your best to practice social distancing. 
    • Reception of Communion- we have been asked to use communion stations and not have the faithful come to the altar rail, the rail being a surface that would be touched by all as well as the steps leading back to the pews, and the chancel area would be congested.  So, Fr. Karl and I will come to the floor of the Nave and administer communion from the front of the Nave one pew at a time, trying not to have lines form.  An edict has been issued that communion is to only be given in one species.  So, the faithful will only be receiving the Body of our Lord (the bread), and the wine will be consumed by the priest. 
    • At the 10am mass, there will be a camera and live-streaming equipment in the Nave, most likely taking up a pew.  The camera will be focused on the altar and you will not be filmed unless you are participating as a lector, or are in the altar party.  While this is intrusive and perhaps distracting, it will allow parish family who cannot yet attend the opportunity to pray along with us. 
  • Changes in the Liturgy
    • The structure of the Liturgy has been amended to comply with guidelines and edicts as well.  So, you will notice several changes. 
      • The Offertory- We will not be passing the collection plates during the offertory.  Instead, there will be plate stations in the aisles to allow for offerings and giving to be made in worship, but with a minimum of contact. 
      • The Peace- We have removed the passing of the peace and restructured the service to an older formula that moves from beginning to end without breaking for the exchanging of peace and announcements. While this removes the opportunity to exchange the peace and greet one another, it adds to the safety of all. 
      • Reception of Holy Communion- See above for mechanics of reception.  Communion in one kind is valid and was the practice of the Church for many centuries.  While it is less than ideal, and not the standard practice of the day, it is a valid means of receiving Jesus, and receiving the same grace, mercy, strength and forgiveness as with both species.  When I visit the sick/shut-in etc. it is my standard practice.  Some places I visit, alcohol is not allowed. In other instances, consuming wine is difficult or unsafe because of the condition of the person receiving. Please know receiving only the Host is valid and a full receiving of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • Other Changes
    • We will not have coffee hour/education for the next few weeks.  I want to take the temperature of our parish family before we begin with these things.  I beg your patience and prayer as we try to live fully as a family, but protect one another. 
    • Some/many of you might not be ready to return to public worship.  There are those, for medical reasons, who returning would be unwise and too great a risk.  There are those for whom the idea of returning is overwhelming.  For these reasons, we will continue digital worship and offerings for the next bit of time.  We are planning on live-streaming the 10am mass for those who cannot join us on Facebook. We will also continue on-line reflections, education and musical offerings.  With this I beg your patience.  At this point, I have single-handedly produced, edited, and uploaded over 200 videos during quarantine.  The amount of time and effort is substantial, and I still have so much to learn.  Live-streaming is a thing about which I am far from confident, and I am still the only person who is trained and experienced with software etc.  We don’t have a production staff or crew.  So, expect some glitches, expect the quality to improve from day to day… but above all, please be patient.      

While I am a servant of Jesus and of you all, I am, along with the vestry, responsible for your safety while at the parish.  Please be aware of the following- Ushers and vestry are on duty to assist you all, but are not policemen.  We assume good-will and charity while together (that everyone will act in a reasonable way).. we do not have the mechanisms to police our gatherings.  You will need to help with this.  We will not shut the doors and turn people away… we will not ask folks to leave… we will not demand you wear a mask… nor will we demand certain behaviors.  So, when you come to the liturgy, we won’t be taking names or policing actions or activity, outside of what we have historically done.  We are accountable to God Almighty and to one another.  So please be mindful of this and do your part to help make our coming back together as meaningful and stress free as possible.     
Finally beloved, please be respectful of one another.  Informed and thoughtful individuals come to different places on how to handle these days.  Some have health concerns that are known only to them, some have to care for compromised individuals.  I have found in my dealings with others, that there is a wide variety of responses and strategies in managing this pandemic.  There are some who go above and beyond the recommendations… and there are others who feel the recommendations are useless and violating.  There are some who are filled with fear and anxiety being in public spaces, and others who are confident and comfortable.  But in this, we must respect and treat carefully the strategies and feelings of others.  Do not assume everyone feels as you do.  Do not assume everyone’s comfort level is the same.  Please try and treat others tenderly and with the assumption that coming to mass is anxiety-filled, and give wide berth and respect.  I realize that the amendments we have had to make are less than ideal and that they will affect our being together.  But we need to be together in the liturgy… we need the healing touch of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, so these things will allow us to be with Jesus together and ensure we can continue to do so. 
  

Reflection for Tuesday in Holy Week MMXX

Today, Fr. Jeff discusses the Resurrection, doubt, and the recent tornados. 

Link to help with the Glory House:

Once again, our area has been devastated by not one, but TWO tornadoes. Jones County and several neighboring counties…

Posted by Glory House Global Outreach on Sunday, April 12, 2020

You are invited to bring plastic storage bins, luggage, and bath towels/cloths by the parish office- you may text me at 601-422-7388. 

Links to the Daily office Readings for Easter Week-

Easter Day Bible Study

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10bwYvll5RxDbN1_64aJgF_51rFiuQ3mO/view?usp=sharing

Easter Day (Primary Service)

Acts 10.34-43                        Psalm 118.14-29                   Colossians 3.1-4                      John 20.1-18

The celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord (Easter) comprises, actually, four distinct services:

  1. The Great Vigil of Easter is celebrated after sundown on Saturday.  Up to nine lessons are used, together with a psalm or canticle after each lesson.  The lessons summarize the history of salvation as found in the Old Testament, and thus summarize revelation up to the advent of Jesus.
  2. The early service (which may be a “sunrise” service) on Easter Day uses one of the Old Testament lessons from the Vigil, plus Psalm 114, Romans 6.3-11, and Matthew 28.1-10.
  3. The lessons for the primary service are included in this Bible Study summary.
  4. The evening service begins with Acts 5.29a, 30-32 or Daniel 12.1-3, includes Psalm 114, proceeds to 1 Corinthians 5.6b-8 or Acts 5.29a, 30-32, and concludes with Luke 24.13-49.

Acts 10.34-43       

  1. This selection from Acts includes a speech given by Peter at the conversion of St. Cornelius and his household.
  2. Cornelius is a Roman soldier (a centurion) and thus a Gentile.  Ch. 10 of Acts relates how Cornelius (in response to prayer) is instructed to summon Peter.  Peter has a vision that all things are clean to God, i.e., that the “kosher” restrictions of the Law do not obtain for Christians.
    1. Following this vision, Peter is summoned to Cornelius.
    1. While Peter is meeting with Cornelius, Peter gives the speech contained in this lesson.
  3. The Good News is preached to Gentiles.
    1. Following this speech, the Holy Spirit comes upon Cornelius and his household, whereupon Peter baptizes them.
    1. This is the only example in Scripture of the Baptism of the Spirit preceding baptism with water.
  • The whole sequence involving Cornelius and Peter is the very pivot of Luke’s argument in Acts:  that the Gospel is for all people, and that the Gospel must be witnessed to “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8).
  1. Peter’s sermon changes the proclamation typical throughout Acts, of a call to repentance, to a proclamation of universal forgiveness of the one appointed judge of the world (Jesus).
    1. Compare Paul’s argument at Acts 17.30-31 and 1 Thess. 1.10.

  2.  This is speculation.  Cornelius, and the centurion who meets Jesus at Capernaum (Mtt. 8.5, whose faith Jesus praises), and the centurion at the head of the execution party (Mk. 15.39, who states that Jesus the “Son of God”) were all senior non-commissioned officers in the same Roman legion.  This was a small group of NCO’s, and they were likely to have known each other.  Did prior conversation prime Cornelius for his vision?

Psalm 118.14-29

  1. An individual song of thanksgiving.
  1. Vv. 15-19 are a “victory shout” and petition to enter the Temple; 20-25 and 26-28 being praise to God offered in the Temple’ with v. 29 being an exhortation to offer praise.
  2. V. 14 is a citation from Exodus 15.2a, from Israel’s classical victory song, with Exodus 15.2b being paraphrased at the end of this praise section (at v. 28).
  • “The same stone which the builders rejected” (v. 22) represents, probably, an ancient proverb.
  1. In the psalm this may refer either to the king’s rise to power (this is a Davidic hymn) or to his recent victory.
  2. This saying appears at Matt. 21.42 and Acts 4.11.  See also 1 Cor. 3.11; Eph. 2.20; 1 Pet. 2.7-8.

  3. The cry “Hosannah” (v. 25) comes from the Hebrew verb hôšî’a-nnā’, which means “save us!”
  4. Crying “hosannah” (as at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem), is therefore an acclamation which acknowledges lordship and pleads for deliverance.

Colossians 3.1-4

  1. At the beginning of ch. 3, Paul summarizes his teaching of the previous chapters, in order to effect a transition to the detailed ethical teaching which is to follow in the balance of the letter.
  • “[A]t the right hand of God” (v.1):  Paul uses this creedal statement, based on Psalm 110.1, to show that the messianic promises contained throughout Scripture have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
  • Although the resurrection has already taken place, Paul urges the Colossians to understand that all of the conditions of the end time are not yet present.  During the “gap” between the resurrection and the end of time, Christians are to focus on their heavenly calling.

John 20.1-18

  1. All four gospel accounts describe women coming to Jesus’ tomb and finding it empty.  All accounts tell of Peter confirming that the tomb is empty, and also how Jesus appears to various disciples.

  2. John, writing long after the event, incorporates narrative tradition.
    1. Thus, Mary Magdalene is described as coming to the tomb alone, but in v. 2 she tells Peter “… we do not know where they have paid him.”  This corroborates the other accounts which refer to women coming to the tomb.
      1. John’s account is a brief report of Mary’s discovery, followed by a longer account of Peter and the Beloved Disciple at the tomb.
      1. The Beloved Disciple does not enter the tomb.  He relies on the report of Mary.  Then Peter enters, and the Beloved Disciple follows.

  3. In Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic tradition, Mary is referred to as “apostle to the apostles,” since she is the first one to bring the news that Jesus is risen, saying “I have seen the Lord!) (v.18).
    1. So much for the argument that the Church has always accorded a low status to women!
  • Jesus tells Mary to not hold onto Him, for He has not yet gone to the Father.  Mary has first not known where Jesus is, and now she seeks to hold Him, although He has already told the disciples where He will be:
  1. He returns to the Father (13.1-3; 14.12, 28; 17.21-26).
  2. He abides with His disciples (14.3, 18, 20, 23, 28).

  3. John uses four different words for sight/perception.  They are used, in order, to demonstrate the increasing awareness of the reality of resurrection.  This is not at all clear in English, with most translations using versions of the verb “to see” in all four instances.
  4. When Mary Magdalene sees that the stone has been taken away from the tomb (Jn. 20.1) the word used is a form of blepō.  This refers to the physical act/sensation of seeing, as in to “eyeball” something.
    1. This same word is used to describe how the Belovèd Disciple sees that the tomb is empty (Jn. 20.5).
  1. In v. 6, Peter is described as seeing that the tomb is empty.  The word used is a form of theoreō (from which we get the English word “theory”).  This involves thinking about what is perceived.
  2. When the Belovèd Disciple enters the tomb (v. 8) the word used to describe how he sees the absence of Jesus is a form of eideō (from which we get the word “idea”).  This involves perceiving and classifying; trying to make sense out of what is perceived.
  3. When Mary Magdalene see the angels in the tomb (v. 11) she sees them in the sense of theoreō.  This same word is used in v. 14, when she sees the risen Jesus, but thinks that He is the gardener.
  4. Having seen the risen Lord, spoken with Him, and acclaimed, Him, Mary now comes tot he disciples and says “I have seen the Lord” (v. 18) using a form of the word horaō, which describes sight in terms of experience.  Mary has experienced the risen Lord.
  5. Our own faith and experience in Jesus is outlined (in terms of how it grows) in how the disciples see that Jesus has risen.

Resources for Easter Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KChCRViB188

He is Risen!!!!  Truly He is Risen!!!!

Today the gates of Hell are shattered!

Today death is destroyed!

Happy Easter to my parish family.  Thank you for your efforts during these last weeks to try and stay connected and participate in Lent and Holy Week while under the Shelter in Place edict.  You watched videos… you did devotions and activities as individuals. Many of you made pilgrimages to the parish to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and on the Cross.  Many of you reached out and let others know you were thinking about them and praying for them.  You called and wrote letters and let others know they are not alone and they are important.  You took the time to use the situation and bring goodness and kindness forth.  God bless you all for that. My heart is filled with joy. 

And while Easter Day should find us gathered on the parish lawn in our Easter Best, hunting eggs and having a lovely tea- we are all home.  While we should be marveling at the beauty of the adorned parish overflowing with flowers… while we should be trembling with joy at the sounds bursting forth from the choir… we are all home.  But fear not!  You are a determined people. This will not spoil Easter Joy.  You will find ways to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You will find ways to make Easter bloom with the beauty of Life overcoming death.  To aide you in our celebrations, we have on offer Easter Day mass with a link to the bulletin, a Bible study for the day and the certainty that prayers are offered for you all.  The links to these things are below, and again, thank you for your efforts to participate as fully as possible. 

For those of you who enjoyed making pilgrimage to the parish, we have a treat in store for you.  Randy Jackson and Carolyn Ruth Stancil have put together flowers for the altar and if you come to say a prayer you will be treated with a taste of Easter joy.  A tip of the biretta to them for taking the time to adorn the parish altar.  The flowers will stay up for a few days (I’m writing this on Saturday morning- with the threat of severe weather on Easter Day I’m guessing we will have to wait until Easter Monday to make pilgrimage). 

While I did the worst possible job at sending out a survey (emailing the link to edit the survey really threw a spanner in the works!) I did get enough responses to get an idea of how to proceed until the shelter in place is lifted and we can worship together again.  So Easter week look for the daily reflections to continue, with the addition of education videos and prayer office videos, and maybe even a musical offering or two.  Please continue to communicate what you need and what you like.  It is also extremely helpful to click the like button on videos (that is, if you like them), in that it helps them float in a sea of media.  It also gives me an idea of what kind of things are working.  You can click the send notifications button to receive notice when new videos are published. 

Several of you wanted a Youtube channel for the parish, and we have one.

It is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjmRr8NxXGEZkaPiUIUiaNA

Enjoy Easter Day in the knowledge that you are held in prayer.  Enjoy this day knowing Christ our Lord has destroyed death and we have been granted life. Enjoy this day in the hope that this will be the most unusual Easter you will ever have to celebrate. 

May God, in His mercy, bless us one and all.  May Christ, in His love for mankind, grant us all grace upon grace, and may the Holy Spirit pour down light and grace and protection upon our houses. 

He is Risen!

Jeff+

 Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Link to bulletin:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jPCPkvDXjznx8E2EiNqBKtmYA0oE3Oc8/view?usp=sharing

The video may be found in these places:

Youtube Channel:
https://youtu.be/KChCRViB188

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/saintjohnslaurel/

Vimeo Page: https://vimeo.com/user16046171

Link to Bible Study for Easter Day:

http://stjohnslaurel.com/?p=2884

Resources for Good Friday

Blessings and prayers on the Good and Holy Friday.  The parish family is in my thoughts and prayers.  Please take the time today to participate in the Liturgy.  We have also set the crucifix up outside the church at the front doors and you are all welcomed and encouraged to come by and take a moment to adore our Lord and give thanks for His sacrifice.  God bless you all.

Jeff+

Links to the Liturgy for Good Friday:

The Bulletin:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K7NGPuBDqlMh3I6JtykiNcAK5IO1J71z/view?usp=sharing

The video may be found in these places:

Youtube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjmRr8NxXGEZkaPiUIUiaNA

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/saintjohnslaurel/

Vimeo Page: https://vimeo.com/user16046171

Home Devotion from Fr. Karl:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MbpWdgUpc64lDexvQZNPQWGL_CSlaoTq/view?usp=sharing

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Maundy Thursday MMXX

Blessings to one and all on this Thursday in Holy Week.  Today we celebrate Maundy Thursday, which is a feast that remembers the institution of the Holy Eucharist, today remembers as well the new command to love one another which is symbolized in the washing of feet.  The celebration of the day ends in a somber tone by the stripping of the altar, which remembers the arrest and taking of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We have tried our best to provide worship and the ministry of the Church in these days of social isolation.  We have made available the mass for Maundy Thursday (see links below).  From 12pm until dark the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed right inside the doors of the Nave.  The faithful are encouraged to walk by or drive by, stop and adore our Lord in the Sacrament, and say prayers.  You do not have to come inside the parish… at the bottom of this resource page you will find a prayer to be said in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  In the evening, you are encouraged to eat your meal in a fashion that observes the day, and to wash one another’s feet.  A devotion for use in the home has been prepared by Fr. Karl and is linked below. 

Jeff+

Maundy Thursday Resources

Links to watch the mass for Maundy Thursday

The bulletin for Maundy Thursday

Family Devotional from Fr. Karl: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LXJO4gFsjnGUyZmbPuUPeo5yLVApWtit/view?usp=sharing

Traditional information and customs: https://www.fisheaters.com/customslent13.html

Office Readings for the week: http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/2holywk_RSV.htm
Fletcher Horne’s Gofundme page to feed local hospital workers: https://www.gofundme.com/f/feedthefrontline-laurel

Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament

I hear thy voice, O Lord Jesus, saying: “Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy-laden, and I will refresh you.” I come unto thee weary and laden with my sins and with the cares and distractions of the world. Let me rest awhile in thy sacred presence; let my heart find rest in thy most Sacred Heart. Let me lie safe there and be at rest. Let nothing separate me from thee, here in this world or in the world to come. Amen.

Help for the Good Samaritan Feeding Ministry

Good Samaritan (on Ellisville Blvd.) feeds more than 100 people every day, M—F.  Good Samaritan has suspended its meal service in-house and is providing meals-to-go for the those in greatest need in Laurel. 
Good Samaritan needs your help.  What they need is:
1.       Covered carry-out plates
2.      Cooking oil
3.      Milk
4.      Individual size snacks
5.      Bread
If you can help, text Fr. Karl at 920-889-7190. You may also leave supplies at the office door.