Musings... On Monday: The Second Day of Holy Week
The week that began with a procession that proclaims the power of love over and against the love of power continues its solemn trajectory toward violence and eventually death. The closest I can imagine the experience to be is that of an invitation to visit what is called the 'death house’.
In July 2011, as part of my three-month sabbatical I travelled to Salem Oregon to spend 10 days with Dr. Tom O’Connor before heading on to a retreat centre located in the shadow of Mt. Hood. Over the course of my time with Dr. O’Connor I toured four different state correctional centres and on my next to last day, I visited Oregon State Penitentiary. You can read my reflection on that day here.
What I remember most of that day was the creativity and compassion of men I met and my inability to accept the invitation to tour death row.
Critical to the Easter story, for me anyways, is not the idea that Jesus somehow knew that he was going to die, or that he willingly allowed himself to be lead to the slaughter, but rather, that he chose life right up until the end.
I was encouraged, when in December of 2022, then Governor of the State of Oregon, Kate Brown commuted the sentence of all 17 people on death row and subsequently closed the death row facility that I declined to tour.
In an interview in December of 2022 Governor Kate Brown offered this reflection:
Justice is not advanced by taking a life and the state should not be in the business of executing people, even if a horrible, horrible crime or crimes placed them in prison... The death penalty also has never been administered fairly, consistently, or equitably in Oregon or frankly, across the United States.
Jesus was executed by the state of the day. This week is holy, not because of, or even as a result of the death of Jesus. But rather - it is holy in that Jesus chose to stand in solidarity for life with those disenfranchised and invites us to do the same.
Blessings on the journey,
Today I will be working from home where I will complete the liturgies for Thursday and Friday, response to correspondence and take part in two Zoom meetings including a gathering hosted by the Mission and Ministry Task Group at 7PM. If you'd like to participate in a conversation about the possible Ways Forward as shared on Sunday follow this link. The room will open at 6:30PM.
I will be in the office on Tuesday morning. At 9AM I will meet with the Pastoral Contact Team and at 10:30AM I will gather with the Lectionary Study Group. At 1PM I will set out on the first of three pastoral visits of the day and at 6:30PM I will gather with the ProFuture Faith group for our final Lenten Study session.
Wednesday afternoon I will be at the Drew and on Wednesday evening I will be hosting a Zoom meeting to plan events/activities for Earth Week and Earth Day. All are welcome. Come and take part. We begin at 6:30PM. Follow this link.
Thursday morning and afternoon will be devoted to finalizing the liturgy and crafting a reflection for Easter Sunday, setting up for the Holy Thursday service and preparing the meal. Supper will be served at 6PM and the Holy Thursday service (including foot washing) will begin at 7PM. All are welcome. Come for one or both. The gathering will be broadcast on Facebook Live.
Friday at 11AM we will gather in community to remember the death of Jesus - a death that resulted from his commitment to love and life for all.The liturgy will be broadcast on Facebook Live.
And on Sunday we will gather at 11AM to celebrate the mystery that is resurrection - hope and new life in the face of death. As part of the gathering we will welcome three individuals by transfer of membership and break bread and share of the cup of life - the meal of communion. This gathering will be broadcast on Facebook Live and if you are planning to take part, do have bread and juice with you so you can be in communion with those gathered in-person at Sackville United Church - that we might eat and drink, and together, remember and live love.