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Showing posts from April 17, 2011

The Light of Christ...This is the Night...

We celebrated the Easter Vigil tonight at Grace Lutheran Church in Petersburg, WV.  I have participated in a number of Vigil services, but this is the first time I have been on the planning side. Many months ago, Pr. Larry asked Ray to do the Easter Proclamation or Exsultet part of the service, which is a lengthy chanted section. He has been rehearsing daily since that time and did a fine job tonight. 
It is also the first time in several years that Grace has celebrated the Vigil. To some, it was the first time ever. Many participated in various ways to make this a rich reminder of all that God has done throughout salvation history. One of the members built the fire that began our time together. Others were lectors declaring the Word (we did only 4 Old Testament readings), others were ushers, and we had a wonderful organist as well. 
It was a joyful excursion from the tomb to the celebration of resurrection. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?

Tonight I participated in the most moving Maundy Thursday service ever. This is something the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches in Petersburg do together. We sang and prayed and read scripture and heard God's Word proclaimed...then the foot washing. Every Maundy Thursday service I have been to until tonight, needed "plants" in the congregation--those few people who agree ahead of time to go forward for foot washing in hopes of convincing others to do so as well. It always feels awkward and a bit contrived.

Tonight, you could barely keep people away. No one was asked ahead of time to come forward first. The spirit in which Pastors Cantu and Cardot washed each one's feet was noteworthy as well. Neither was using a particular formulaic blessing or prayer, but each was blessing the congregants by name and in relationship to who they were. All were known and were accordingly blessed. It was impossible to hold back the tears. There was a mix of humble service and such hon…