It was a great Triduum and Easter. Wintry weather aside, it was such a boost for all of us to be together for the holiest days of the year, and see such a warm response of so many to returning to Saint Anne to celebrate together.
The beauty and joy we experienced was not an accident. It is a gift, of course, from God, but a gift God fashions for us in Christ by moving us toward participation in the divine project that saves the world: participation itself. Rather than projecting the work of making community, beauty, and hospitality onto others, Christ makes us the co-creators of the new world when we opt into the messianic work of building God’s kingdom. That’s exactly what it means to renew our baptismal promises: knowing God as our Father/Mother, Christ as brother, and Holy Spirit as life-breath, we choose to work for a church and therefore a world of mutual care and empowering love. Rather than claiming our individuality as a right, we lay it at the service of others so that they world gets kinder, more beautiful, healthier, active, and empathetic. It’s a practice of using power for service. God in Christ has washed our feet, and asks us to do the same for others.
So, I want to thank all of you who gave so much of yourselves so visibly during the holidays. Your heads of ministry and others on the Liturgy Commission worked many hours organizing, calling for volunteers, and preparing and executing the liturgies behind the scenes. Georgene Farman, Breda Barry, and I are on staff; we’re expected to do our jobs. But there are dozens of others: Susan Doody, Joe Abbate, the flower crew, Margie Lymperis, Jim Daluga and the lectors, Paul Rodríguez, John Jirschele, and our ushers, our Mass Coordinators and Ministers of the Eucharist, our Art and Environment committee, adult servers, greeters, all of these who worked so hard with our priests and deacon to shape and pray the days that brought us together this Easter.
The choir and cantors rehearse every week to be sure the music is as good as we can make it, and our parish musicians as well as the special musicians we bring in to augment the music all put their talents and skill at the service of our prayer. As I told my choir in a communication I sent them after Easter, I was nearly overcome at the words of Psalm 118 as they were sung after the first reading Sunday: “This is God’s work! This is God’s work; it is beautiful, beautiful to see!” Today! This is the day the Lord has made. Even when we’re tired and things aren’t perfect, this is the day the Lord has made.
We have all renewed our baptismal promises. We spent forty days trying to discern what that means. We have fifty days to understand more deeply what it means to “rise from the dead,” right in this world, to live like Jesus. “Whoever wants to be the greatest among you must serve the rest.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We’ve got some very generous servant neighbors here at Saint Anne. Thank you to all of them for their selflessness. I urge all of us to live in the generosity Christ has shown us, or as we sing to catechumens when they first come to us in the Rite of Acceptance, “Be like Christ and walk in love, just as God has loved you. (Eph. 5:2)” Thanks be to God and to you all. Alleluia!