Pastor’s Daily Reflection – Holy Thursday: 4/9/20

April 9, 2020–Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass

Luke 4:16-21

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day.  And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

I remember the angst I felt the first time I was going to preach at my home parish at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Norris.  I had been in seminary for one year, and I would be home for the weekend, and I was invited to preach.  Before the Eucharist started, the pastor could tell how anxious I was (I never had much of a poker face).  Finally, he said, “Don’t worry, Bill.  You grew up with these people.  They love you, and they are in your corner.  You could read from the phone book, and they would love it.” Without bragging, I can say that I did a little better than that.

Sometimes we let fear or other negative feeling overwhelm us.  Holy Week is, on one level, a time when an entire people let fear, anxiety, and anger consume them.  The expressions were as varied as the people.  Some wanted vengeance, others cowered or ran in fear.  Our present circumstances are challenging.  Who would have thought we might have an Easter without communion?  Let us take this opportunity to appreciate the countless blessings we have received.  Sometimes when we lose something, we have a greater appreciation once it is restored to us.  May this time teach us gratitude for the sacramental life of the church.  May we learn to be thankful for others, for the beauty of nature, and for our interdependent lives that help us to live together as God’s children.  We don’t need to worry.  God has our back.  I believe St. Paul said it best: 31“If God is for us, who can stand against us?… 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31, 38-39)