Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reflecting Back and Forward – Lent Through Easter

Margaret Barber, author, wrote "To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward."
Lent to Easter is a Reflection Backward and a Reflection Forward on one’s walk with Christ.  It renders the soul eye refreshed and arms with a new coat enabling it to meet headon the challenges that lay

Lent is a time for Reflecting Back on Jesus’ brief walk on earth from astounding his teachers in the synagogue to his first calling his disciples  till his death.   But the story ends not there.  The Reflection Forward is the anticipation that grows in the soul climaxing with the ringing of the bells on Saturday evening at 8 pm signifying God’s fulfillment of his promise the resurrection.

Reflecting back on my walk much of my ancestral history has coalesced around the church. 

When I was but a few weeks old I was christened in the same handmade gown that both my Aunt Milancie and my great grandmother Milancie Leach had been christened in.

This coalesction was made even more evident a few years ago, when I traveled with the historical society to visit places in England that were significant in our family's linage. Over half the places were churches where either a direct ancester had served as a rector or vicar or had been substantial patron.  As one walked through the church and viewed the cyrpts of these ancestors and their families one sensed an eccense of those unscene faces who came before.

John Owsley, 8th great grandfather an Anglican Rector, first served as clerk of Whittlebury Church, North Hampton, vicar of Stogursey Parish, Somerset (1652-1659) and rector of Glooston Parish, Leicester (1660-1687). In the Glooston church there are memorial inscriptions to members of the Owsley family, four of whom were rectors between 1660 and 1743. John and his wife Dorthea were interned behind the altar.

My Middleton Ancestors were Catholics who first came to Maryland seeking religious freedom. Hugh Jackson, a second grandfather was a circuit rider / Methodist Minister who migrated from Missouri to Alabama with family in covered wagon through Indian Territory.  My great grandfather Ellsworth Jerome Hill was a world renown published botanist who classified hundreds of plant species.  But he was also a Presbyterian Clergyman who graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1863. William Bledsoe, a 4th great grandfather and Baptist clergyman, helped organize the first Crab Orchard Church at Cedar Creek, Kentucky of which he was the first minister in 1786.

At St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, in the center of historic downtown Titusville several venues are planned this week that will provide windows of reflection through which one can move as one reflects on his/her own walk with Christ.

Tenebrae, Wednesday at 7:30 pm, will be marked by the gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings are recited and music sung by soloists, the choir and the congregation.

Thursday Venues include Seder Supper followed by the Maundy Thursday service at 7:30 that will include the sacrament of holy communion and the washing of feet, reminds us that we are all servants, just as jesus was a servant  Afterward the church is stripped bare of everything that is not permanently mounted and as each item is removed, prayers are said and the symbolism is explained.

Then at 9 pm the Great Watch begins when Jesus and the apostles gathered in the garden of Gethsemane to wait and pray. Jesus asked "will you not stay with me and pray for just one hour?" The church will remain open throughout the night till noon on Friday for people to enter and pray, or to simply sit in the silence.

The Good Friday venue follows beginning at noon with three hour service. It will begin with Holy Eucharist, followed by Stations of the Cross at 1 pm and the Seven Last Words service at 2 pm. In this service, seven pastors from different denominations gather and speak on the 7 last phrases of Christ.

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
Fr. Rob Goodridge St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Mr. Trey Gordon Hope for North Brevard

Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
The Reverend Richard Lord Park Avenue Baptist Church

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
The Reverend Bob Gordon Trinity Lutheran Church

I thirst (John 19:28)
The Reverend. John Fisher Mims United Methodist Church

It is finished (John 19:30)
Pastor Thomas Baker Titusville Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)
Pastor Bernard Wright Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church

Please join us as you can!


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