Little Jesus and Jim Give Thanks: April 14th, 2023
What an amazing week was last week! For me, as I hope everyone knows by now, our liturgical life together is the center of my entire life with you. Out of our worship, into which so many give of your lives and hearts, comes a huge amount of what gives meaning and purpose to my life—and I hope to yours. None of those liturgical experiences are more profound than those of Holy Week and Easter. In Holy Week, Palm Sunday spreads out the entire Holy Week story. Then we get into it: the Via Crusis, then Tenebrae’s descent through the prayers of the psalmists into literal darkness, the sudden “loud noise” of the cosmos cracked wide open, the washing and eating and betrayals of the great Maundy, the visceral terror and horror of Jesus’ last days, lit up by seven of you reflecting deeply and honestly in relation to His last words, surrounded by the deeply felt music of the Fairpoint Spring Quartet, the darkness of Holy Saturday, at St. Martin’s filled by dozens of you preparing the sanctuary and campus for the coming Resurrection, and then the Vigil, Tenebrae in reverse, bearing us through the story of our sacred history, out of darkness into exultation, baptism’s waters, and the first feast of the Resurrection, filling us with the glory of God with us. Then came sunrise and the second feast, and the third, filled with the grace of Laura Palmer’s proclamation. Then came children and families! Dozens of families filled the church to hear the story of a slightly redeemed Harold Angel, written and show run by the gifted Anne Alexis, and to celebrate the fourth feast with baptismal water and the life of Christ given and raised for us all. Soon thereafter, surrounded by hundreds and piped in by Carolyn Green’s Simple Gifts, Bishop Griswold’s remains, contained in a silk garment inside a large and beautiful Easter egg, were committed to the ground—while the St. Martin’s Easter egg hunt was in progress and the bells ringing, bells that Phoebe and Frank brought to St. Martin’s! And then came, once again, baptism and Easter Eucharist, the great Thanksgiving of our faith community. What a week! To everyone who touched the week’s holiness and who were touched by it, my gratitude.
All of it was witnessed by the doll that lives most of its life in the soft space where children play and families with young children hang out, adjacent to the side altar with a good view of the main events of our liturgical life together. We have come to call that doll Little Jesus. He is much loved!
And today he begins a new feature in Field Notes and on our social media platforms. Little Jesus is loved and dear, and also is curious and has a great sense of humor. Starting this week, he will lead us each week to explore a different part of the campus and community that is St. Martin’s.
This week, we find Little Jesus assisting in one of the great unsung and largely unnoticed and unappreciated ministries of the community, the production of leaflets and other printed materials that support and make possible what we do in church. He is happy to be helping, and his joyful forgiving spirit surely filled all those whose work behind the scenes made possible such a powerful Holy Week and Easter: Connie Haggard, Tyrone Whiting and the artists and musicians he manages and directs—not least St. Martin’s choir, through whom pours out God’s love every week, the afore-mentioned Laura Palmer and Anne Alexis Harra, Emily Walker, whose kindness and attention graced us all last week and in all her time with us and who leaves us today to start, on Monday, teaching a classroom of three-year-olds, and Emily’s awesome colleague in admin, Lorie Hershey, who has come to comprehend our very arcane data base and now tracks as accurately as possible who we are and how we support St. Martin’s with our stewardship of God’s gifts, James Kent whose contributions cannot be numbered, Kate Maus and her growing cadre of skilled volunteers, especially those who created the first great community after-Feast, feasts for Easter Eve and Easter Day, Mary Baumberger and the entire Altar Guild, Annette Freeman and the entire Flower Guild, Cathy Glazer, Deborah Roberts, and all who tended and tend the Columbarium and campus as Lay Weeders, our Bell Ringers. And, to circle back to the many many many leaflets, Noor Diskan, who through her skill and grace and sheer competencies as Office Assistant literally made the production of our leaflets seem almost effortless. She says she is quite sure Little Jesus was with her all week. I am sure he was and is with us all, always. And I am so excited to see what might be the next wonder of St. Martin’s he will lead us to.
New this week as well is a feature we are calling “We are St. Martin’s!” by which, each week, we’ll be introducing one member of the St. Martin’s community. Some will be well known to you, as is your Rector’s Warden, Barbara Thomson, who leads off this week. Others may not be so familiar. My hope is that you will come more and more to know who you are and to know more about the incredible life stories and manifold gifts every single one of you brings to the community and offers into service and ministry here. You are living signs of the powerful, multitudinous, varied and grace-filled power of the Resurrection, each of you bearing us faithfully through darkness and into the light of the Risen Christ. In you, Little Jesus rejoices! Thank you, and thanks be to God!
Tags: Clergy & Staff