This coming Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, is sometimes referred to as Refreshment Sunday. It is signaled by the rose-colored vestments used, giving it another name of Rose Sunday. It is a moment in in the midst of Lent when people are invited to ease their Lenten disciplines for a day and refresh themselves through feasting and resting. The day is meant to remind us that we are saved by grace and not by our own stringent effort.
It seems appropriate that, in our Lord’s good Providence, that this day lands about a week or so after strict guidelines have been put into place in our country because of the current crisis surrounding COVID-19. It seems like God is telling us that we should all “take a break” and take the time to refresh ourselves from what seems to be pressing down upon us. As you know, 2 weeks ago I wrote about the anxiety of what we face and my words there still apply to where we are today.
As your priest and pastor, I would encourage you to do a few things this coming Sunday to mark the day as Refreshment Sunday. Obviously, the first thing you should do is to pray, place yourself directly in God’s presence. But in addition to your regular prayers, pray specifically that God would refresh you. When you do so, you are placing yourself in His hands and opening up yourself to His grace. It is His grace that brings to you His peace, that peace which passes all understanding. I can’t imagine anything more refreshing than peace!
Secondly, if you can, come receive the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday. It is by the partaking of our Lord Himself in the Blessed Sacrament that we are assured of being refreshed by the Food for our wayfaring here on this earth. If you are distancing yourself right now, you can receive the Body and Blood of our Lord in spiritual communion. I have written below what is necessary for a spiritual communion when it is impossible to actually receive a physical communion.
Lastly, on Sunday, turn off the television news! But be careful what you do to fill that time. This past Sunday we heard in the Gospel that a man returned to his house and found it “swept and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself…and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (St. Luke 11:25-26) Seven other spirits: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, and Redditt. Simply put: don’t fill up your television news time with internet time. Do something else that takes you away from the noise of this crisis. Take a walk in your neighborhood, take a drive in the country, watch a movie at home, read a good book, or maybe binge watch the Andy Griffith Show on Sunday afternoon! It is in such joyful and simple pleasures that God may refresh us and this Sunday then truly becomes for us Refreshment Sunday.
We Need Your Help
In my email to you at the beginning of the week, I asked that those of you who are distancing yourselves and will not be in church to please let us know. Thanks to all who have done so but I think many more have not. Perhaps you think your husband or wife “took care of it.” We are actually keeping track of all the responses so we know the circumstances you are in. You may simply reply to this email or give us a call. Thanks for helping us with this.
Lenten Fish Fry
As you know, the Lenten Fish Fry will proceed tomorrow. We have changed this event to a “Carry Out Only” event in response to Governor Cooper’s order canceling any event over 50 people. In addition to this, we will be limiting people in the building to only 10, which includes parishioners working the Fish Fry. Please let everyone you sold or gave tickets to know about this change so they won’t be surprised when they get here and may have to wait outside the building before receiving their food.
Normal Worship Schedule
Because we have had enough folks tell us that they intend to distance themselves, we know we should not reach the 50 person threshold mandated by Governor Cooper’s order. With this in mind, our normal worship schedule is still in effect. We will be closely monitoring decisions by our federal, state, and local governments, and the guidance of the CDC, and implement those decisions or guidelines appropriately here at All Saints. That is all I wanted to share with you this week. Please continue your prayers for one another, for this parish family, for our elected officials, and for our medical and scientific community as we move forward into what we face as a people.
God bless you all and I hope to see ALL of you very soon,
- Belief in the death of Christ on the Cross for us
- Belief that Christ shed His blood for our redemption
- Remembering what Christ’s death accomplished for us
- Giving thanks for all He accomplished for us
- ALMIGHTY Father, Lord of heaven and earth, we confess that we have sinned against thee in thought, word, and deed. Have mercy upon us, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies, do away our offences and cleanse us from our sins; for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen. (BCP p. 323)
- ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 134)
- O SAVIOUR of the world, who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us; Save us, and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord. (BCP p. 313)
- ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen. (BCP p. 163)
- ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may he unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen. (BCP p. 19)