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Good Friday Liturgy

In case you missed our live service in commemoration of Good Friday, you can watch it here and add your prayers to ours. This service includes a reading from Holy Scripture about the last days and eventual death of Jesus Christ, as well as a reflection on self-sacrifice, humility, and love–the true meaning of the cross. We also offer our solemn prayers for the whole world and ask God to forgive us for those things that separate us from God’s love.

 

Blessings Over Food at Easter

Church of the Incarnation
Blessings Over Food at Easter

 

These prayers are taken from the Book of Occasional Services, of the Episcopal Church and are intended for use in your own home. They are introduced with the following:

These blessings are appropriate for use by households at the principal meal on Easter Day. They may be used at a parish meal following the Easter Vigil. They may also be used over foods brought to the church for blessing.

Many people say grace before meals as a way of thanking God for the blessings set before them. We say grace at Easter to remind ourselves that God gives us more than our daily bread, but in fact, the Bread of Life–Jesus Christ, our Lord. And so we rejoice, knowing that God feeds us in body and in soul.

Over Wine
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, creator of the fruit of the vine: Grant that we who share this wine, which gladdens our hearts, may share for ever the new life of the true Vine, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Bread
Blessed are you, O Lord our God; you bring forth bread from the earth and make the risen Lord to be for us the Bread of life: Grant that we who daily seek the bread which sustains our bodies may also hunger for the food of everlasting life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Lamb
Stir up our memory, O Lord, as we eat this Easter lamb that, remembering Israel of old, who in obedience to your command ate the Paschal lamb and was delivered from the bondage of slavery, we, your new Israel, may rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the true Lamb who has delivered us from the bondage of sin and death,
and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Over Eggs
O Lord our God, in celebration of the Paschal feast we have prepared these eggs from your creation: Grant that they may be to us a sign of the new life and immortality promised to those who follow your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Other Foods
Blessed are you, O Lord our God; you have given us the risen Savior to be the Shepherd of your people: Lead us, by him, to springs of living waters, and feed us with the food that endures to eternal life; where with you, O Father, and with the Holy Spirit, he lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

A PDF of these blessings is available by clicking this link

Maundy Thursday Blessings

Church of the Incarnation
Blessings for an Agape Meal

 

The following prayers can be spoken over your meal in your home. They are taken from the “Book of Occasional Services,” of the Episcopal Church which notes:

The celebration of festal meals is not appropriate during Holy Week. In Christian tradition such festivities take place only after the Lenten fast has been completed by the celebration of the Great Vigil–which is the Passover Feast of Christians. If it is desired to share a meal after the Maundy Thursday liturgy, the following order may be observed.

A meatless meal is to be preferred. The setting should be austere and the foods sparse and simple. Appropriate foods include soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, bread, and wine….The following blessings are recited at the beginning of the meal, all standing.

These blessings are usually spoken after a celebration of Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday. But since we cannot gather for Holy Eucharist, or to share an agape meal at this time, I encourage you to use these prayers not as an imitation or a substitute for the sacrament, but as a reminder that all the things of God are created holy, and it is through sacramental living–that is holy living–that we better see the sacramental nature of all of life.

Over Wine
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You create the fruit of the vine; and you refresh us with the cup of salvation in the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ. May the time come quickly when we can share that cup again, even as you are with us now in our very thirst for you. Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.

Over Bread
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth; and you have fed us on our way with the bread of life in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ. Let us be fed again soon with that bread of life. And as grain scattered upon the earth is gathered into one loaf, so gather your Church in every place into the kingdom of your Son. To you be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Over the Other Foods
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe. You have blessed the earth to bring forth food to satisfy our hunger. Let this food strengthen us in the fast that is before us, that following our Savior in the way of the cross, we may come to the joy of his resurrection. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.

A PDF of these blessings is available by clicking this link.

The opposite of isolation is love

Reflection for March 15, 2020 on John 4:5-45 | Jesus greets a Samaritan woman and many come to believe because of her testimony

A guest post by our seminarian, Megan Allen

We enter the third week of Lent facing a precarious situation – the COVID 19 pandemic. People are encouraged to practice social distancing, reducing our contact with others to slow the spread of the virus, and to self-quarantine when appropriate. Even for the most introverted, it feels like a time of disconnection and isolation. But what does COVID 19 have to do with the story of the Samaritan woman?

We know she goes to the well to get water alone and at a time of day when others were unlikely to be there. Some suggest this woman might be a social outcast, and I imagine that in the truest sense of the word, the woman was alone. Perhaps experiencing the isolation of social distancing. How long might she have been longing for connection and relationship?

Traditional Orthodox icon of St. Photini at the well with Jesus

We also know Jesus was at the well. I assume she and Jesus are less than 6-feet apart as he chooses to enter into relationship with her. A Jew and a Samaritan – unlikely dialogue partners with a shared history and fractured present. Through their dialogue we hear that Jesus offered this woman the opposite of the isolation she felt. Continued isolation from others can feel like brokenness; like a sorrow deep within our soul. Jesus offers her living water – a renewed relationship of deep connection and love with God. An opportunity to be made whole, even in this place of isolation.

Response to this pandemic demands we distance ourselves from others. Like the Samaritan woman, this leaves us thirsty for connection. But it is also an opportunity to meet Jesus at the well of our lives. We are reminded that as we too navigate the isolation of social distancing and feel the brokenness, anxiety, and fear in our separation from others, we too are offered living water.

What living water is Christ offering you?

About that Journey, artist Meredith Gould
Featured in the forthcoming issue of Soul By Southwest

The Samaritan woman in the Eastern tradition is known as Saint Photini, meaning “the luminous one”. She is a woman of light, quick to share the good news of Christ with others. As we drink from the well of eternal life, how might we respond like the Samaritan woman? We can extend Christ’s living water through inviting others to join us virtually, by reaching out to connect others in love, and by offering ourselves to God’s service, as we are able. May we remember throughout this time that Jesus meets us here, knows our pains, and satisfies our needs.

Note: if you’re finding yourself feeling alone right now, Incarnation is offering community, connection, and prayer several days a week online. Check out our Calendar for the full line-up, and links to join via Zoom. Drop in anytime you can.