A Message from the Rector:

Burying Alleluias, Palms & Ashes, and the Great Litany

Last week the numerous celebrations, observances, and traditions connected with the move from Epiphany to Lent was a rich demonstration of the way that our liturgical tradition uses wide resources to present and express the meanings of the moment. Below, thoughts on a few of them.

Burying Alleluias

The last Sunday of Epiphany is always Transfiguration Sunday, which brings together the themes, images, mystery, and wonder that have been building through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. When we come down off the mountain into Lent, as it were, there is a palpable shift in feeling and language. The BCP and Hymnal instruct that we are to avoid the word “alleluia” during Lent in liturgy and music. “Alleluia,” another version of “Hallelujah,” is Hebrew for “Praise the Lord!” It’s not that we stop praising God during Lent, but our “fasting” from saying and singing “alleluia” guides our attention is focused inward to that which we hope to nurture or change in our selves during this season of repentance. We say “alleluia” throughout worship during the rest of the year, so its absence can be startling, and “burying” it in a wooden chest kept close to the altar parallels burying seeds in the dark earth. The alleluias will emerge, coloring our songs and our prayers, and the season of Easter will be a feast of alleluias after the fast. Easter has four extra alleluias at the dismissal that are said only for those 50 days.

Pancakes, Mardi Gras, and Carnivale

The season after Twelfth Night (the Twelfth Day of Christmas and the eve of Epiphany) to Shrove Tuesday (the eve of Lent) is a season of celebrations and revealing of light in the dark days of winter. The eve of Lent is called “Mardi Gras,” or “Fat Tuesday,” in Latinate countries, “Shrove Tuesday” in the Anglo world. “Shrove” is the past tense of “shrive,” “to forgive” referencing the absolution that comes after penance, as this period is one in which Christians have traditionally made formal confessions so that they are “shriven” before Lent. Traditionally people have prepared for Lent by eating up all the rich foods in their pantry, especially eggs, milk, and butter in form of pancakes. Fasting in Lent from sweet and rich foods is a bodily way way of paring down, simplifying, and concurrently developing spiritual stamina through self-denial and awareness of the richness of our everyday lives that is so often taken for granted. Like the alleluias that return at Easter, our Easter feast is one of abundance, including, of course, Easter eggs and sweet breads and cakes.

Palms to Ashes

Most of the year I have an unruly sheaf of dried palm leaves on top of one bookcase. These are the palm leaves from Palm Sunday which I’ve collected and saved for next year’s Shrove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday is the time of year my bookcase top looks tidy—or perhaps I should say bare. Palm leaves used in our Procession of the Palms one year are burned on Shrove Tuesday the next year to produce ashes for Ash Wednesday. After they are burned, I push the ashes through a sieve, crush and stir them with a fork, and then mix the ashes with drops of oils used for baptism and to anoint the sick—oils that have been blessed by bishop for the priest’s use during the year. Every Holy Tuesday—two days after Palm Sunday—the clergy gather for a service in which we renew our ordination vows and the bishop blesses holy oils. The oils are decanted into little bottles, and clergy leave the gathering with a fresh stock.

Thus the ash that anoints foreheads on Ash Wednesday connects many seasons and observances of the church year, and brings to mind many things:
–of how quickly I can turn from following the good to violence and evil, just like the crowds that lined the streets with palms to welcome Jesus on Sunday who screamed for his crucifixion a few days later.

–of the spirit-body combination: that we are creatures of dust who are promised the Eternal Presence of life and spirit through baptism.

–of the healing action of regret and repentant, healing of our hearts, our circumstances, our relationships, and of others.

Finally, the flames used to reduce palm to oil are also linked to the larger cycles of meaning: the firepit dedicated for the burning of palms into ashes is the firepit used to kindle the first flame at the Easter Vigil. It also houses the candles lit by those who mourn at the service of the Longest Night during Advent and at our Service of Lament and Healing during Lent for those who have lost children, and at our planned Recovery Eucharist during the season of Easter for those who are affected by addiction.

The Great Litany

We may have a hole where where the alleluias are typically heard, but that space is more than filled up by the confessions and petitions of the Great Litany. I can sense the shock and then the exhaustion of the congregation as we turn the pages of the BCP during the Great Litany and there is still more to come. The Great Litany is so long, the language is starkly antique, and such a litany has become very unfamiliar as a practice of corporate lament and confession. Even though we only chant the Great Litany one time a year, it is overwhelming. It is an opportunity to pour out our regrets in public and in each other’s hearing. The power of the Great Litany is not only in its petitions, but in its public setting and in its overwhelming length that marks the breadth of our collective shortcomings.

Creatures of Spirit and of Dust

As creatures of the dust of the earth and breath of the Holy One, we are messy and complicated, problematic and wonderful. The created world is made of the same dust and suffused with the same breath. However exalted and exquisite our thoughts and beliefs, what we know is always connected to and experienced through the created world. I love that the celebrations and observances of the church year use such an abundance of textures and layers of creation. We use materials transformed by fire, by air, by water; we use the passage of time, sound’s volume and timbre, colors and textures. Our words of joy and of lament; the soaring and overwhelming polyphony of the organ and the solitary voice leading a plainsong chant; colors that are festive, or somber, or missing altogether; bare branches and lavish floral arrays; extra words of joy or the strange absence of those words; standing in some seasons, kneeling in others, crossing ourselves, bowing, embracing—all have resonance, meaning, and richness, pushing us to an experience that knits us together and opens us to manifestations of the Holy in any and every season.

Jen+

Connect With Us

Rector’s Office Drop-In Time

Rev. Jen has set her office drop-in day as Wednesday of each week from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. for anyone who would like to stop in and visit. You are always invited to make an appointment for a time convenient for you. Mondays are her Sabbath day.

The Second Sunday in Lent

Sunday Morning In-Person Worship Service, Sunday, February 25, led by the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, 10:15 a.m., immediately followed by the Annual Meeting.

You can stream the service via St. Andrew’s Facebook Page. Click on this link to view the Live Stream. We will start the Live Stream 5 minutes prior to the start of the service.

Click here for the service booklet for February 25.

The Latest Updates

ADVENT HOUSE UPDATE!

Per Brian Cox, our Advent House community project is exciting and making great headway. The bathroom and new stairs are completed, and lighting is nearly finished. We now need your help to clean and paint the upstairs bedrooms and hallway. Join us, whether as a family or individual, for some good old fashioned fun. No painting expertise necessary; all supplies will be provided in the room. Let’s come together and make a difference for our St. Andrew’s family and community. Click here to sign up.

TUESDAYS IN LENT

Most weeks, the Tuesday Bible and Book group meet at 4:30 p.m. On these Tuesdays, there is a service of Evening Prayer beginning at 4:00 p.m. Don’t be afraid to join in even if you come late!

WEDNESDAYS IN LENT

This Lent we will have two series that alternate weeks, a movie series with discussion and an introduction to the devotional practice of the Stations of the Cross. A short worship service and a simple meal will be offered at each gathering. The offering will be duplicated at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. so that all have an opportunity to attend. NOTE: On February 21, the offerings will be different: 12:30 p.m. Serving Life Movie and Discussion; 6:30 p.m. The Philadelphia Eleven Movie and panel discussion at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. NOTE: The Philadelphia Eleven Movie was originally scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., but has been bumped up to 6:30 p.m. February 28: Introduction to the Stations of the Cross at both times. March 6: A River Runs Through It Movie and discussion at both times. March 13: Stations of the Cross: Applying Them to Our Lives at both times. March 20: Bonhoeffer Movie and discussion at both times. March 27: Stations of the Cross: Devotional Practice at both times.

A SERVICE OF LOSS AND LAMENT: SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 4:00 P.M.

St. Andrew’s will be hosting a community service to reach out to those who have lost children, infant or adult, whether through miscarriage, abortion, still birth, SIDS, illness, addiction, accident, or alienation. This is a service for lament and healing, and will be crafted to be accessible to and comfortable for people with various faith backgrounds. Rev. Jen and community leader and grief counselor, Jai Miranda, are the coordinators. Please reach out to those you know in the community who have suffered loss.

SECOND SUNDAY DISCRETIONARY COLLECTION

Monies in the loose plate collection on the 2nd Sunday of each month go towards Rev. Jen’s Discretionary Fund used to help the less fortunate in Putnam County. NOTE: Sunday, March 10 loose plate offerings will go toward the Rev. Jen’s Discretionary fund.

THIS WEEK’S SHOPPING LIST FOR NON-FOOD PANTRY

Please add Bleach, Fabuloso, and Dawn Dish Soap to your shopping list for the NFP. Every little bit helps our budget go farther in helping meet the needs of folks in Putnam County. The next Non-Food Pantry will be Saturday, February 24 from noon – 2:00 p.m. There is a sign-up sheet posted in Hamilton Hall for folks to help with a product pick-up and/or as well as for help on February 24 at the monthly distribution. FYI: Baskets at church are now dedicated for the NFP and not the food pantry.

FREE DAILY DEVOTIONAL

We have some large print Day by Day daily devotionals in the sanctuary that you are free to take home for your personal devotions–and if we know that people would like copies, we can order the right amount. Many of you may also appreciate the on-line version of Day to Day. Click here.

ON-GOING COVID PROTOCOL

We continue to respond to both our county’s current CDC designation and to the current variant. Masking is optional. Those who serve bread and wine will mask so that anyone who comes to the altar can feel secure. Decisions on COVID policy have moved from the Reconvening Committee to Rev. Jen and the Wardens.

Prayers and Reflections for This Week

We have heard that the daily reflections and scripture readings provided during Lent were appreciated. The meditations are written by persons from Gobin UMC and Beech Grove UMC. They will be in the newsletter each week and go from Wednesday to Tuesday, except for Sunday. Whether you enjoy these every day or as the Spirit moves you, may this resource continue to bring you spiritual food for the journey. Blessings!

Click here to view the readings and accompanying links.

Non-Food Pantry Latest

Saturday, February 24

• Noon to 2:00 p.m.
There will be a distribution in Hamilton Hall and light lunches will be served inside. We are grateful for all those who have worked so hard to obtain supplies for the Non-Food Pantry. Items are having to be purchased from a variety of sources making it much more expensive. Donations to help offset this extra cost will be gratefully accepted!

Top 3 Needed Items
  • Bleach

  • Fabuloso

  • Dawn Dish Soap

Your prayers are asked for:

Peggy Angleton
Haile Bane, grandson of Joanne Haymaker
Beth Benedix, friend to many of us at St. Andrew’s
Sharon Bone, friend of Emily Knuth
The family of Richard Brett, friend of Jen+ & Chris
The family of Richard A. Butler, father-in-law of Claudia Butler
Chance Charters, friend of the Majors family
The family of Mandy Charters, friend of the Majors family
Adam Cohen, friend of St. Andrew’s
Clara Copeland, friend of Jen+
The family of Warren Copeland, friend of Jen+
Mary Alice Crampton, friend of Steve & Kathy Jones
Anita Edenfield, friend of Skip Sutton
Nathan Elson, friend of Michael Knuth
Bob Fatzinger, brother of Barbara Pare
The family of Alan Good, father of Tim Good
Carole Greenawald
The family of Rob Harvey, friend of Jen+ & Chris
Kimberley Heithaus, niece of Joe & Jenny Heithaus
Thad Jones, brother of Steve Jones
Lisa Breese Kincaid, daughter of Bob & Mimi Breese
Don Marple, brother of Martha Rainbolt
Mary Mountz
Tom Mullen, father of Patti Harmless
Marilyn & Leo Nelson, sister & brother-in-law of Joanne Haymaker
The family of Joe O’Connor, friend of Jen+ & Chris
Sarah Oldstone, sister-in-law of Jen+
The family of Brian Pohlar, friend of Trudy Selvia and many at St. Andrew’s
The family of Billy Ray Selvia, father-in-law of Trudy Selvia
Elizabeth & Natalie Sheffler, daughter & granddaughter of Page & Narda Cotton
Gloria Smith
The family of Heidi Stecher, friend of Jen+
Skip Sutton
Karen Swalley, friend of Thom & Gwen Morris
The family of Jerry Taylor, friend of Warren & Connie Macy
The family of Sydnor Thompson, brother of Harriet Moore
Deb Wilder, sister of Connie Macy
Dwight Ziegler, brother of Stephanie Gurnon
Kat and family, friend of Jen+ & Chris

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. John’s, Crawfordsville: The Rev. Christian Baron, Rector.

Our companion dioceses: The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil: The Most Rev. Mauricio Jose Araujo De Andrade, Primate of Brazil and Bishop of Brasilia. The people and Diocese of Haiti and Saint Andre’s in Mithon.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Tanzania.

Birthdays: Patti Harmless, February 28.

Anniversaries: None.

Special Events and Services

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