April 2, 2015

"Prince Room Chapel"
This evening, Maundy Thursday, we will gather in the Prince Room at 7:00. The liturgy focuses on Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, at which he gave us the new commandment: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
The service includes an opportunity to make ourselves vulnerable to one another as we wash each other’s feet in obedience to His commandment, and to remember the Institution of the Lord’s Supper as we share in the eucharist together. Then in darkness we will then strip the altar, closing with a time of silence and an invitation to sit with the reserved sacrament, reflecting on Jesus time of agony in the garden. This is a deeply tender service. To worship together in the intimacy of the Price Room will be a new experience for all of us together.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, our Prince Room Chapel will be open all day for reflection.
From noon to 2:00
we offer a contemplative time of scripture, Psalms, and silence as we focus on the traditional Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. You are invited to come and go as your schedule permits.
At 2:00 we will walk and pray the Stations of the Cross.
At 7 pm
we will gather for the liturgy of the day, which will include readings, hymns, the solemn collects, and communion from the reserved sacrament. All in the Prince Room Chapel.

The Great Vigil of Easter begins at 8 pm and WILL BE HELD OFF SITE in Chocorua. The DeGroots have generously offered us the use of their spacious log home just off of Route 16 as a gathering place. Easy-to-follow directions will be emailed out as a separate document. Call 367-8220 for details. All are welcome!
     Why off site? Because both the Prince Room and the Parish Hall are in use by 12-step groups on Saturday evenings. Our commitment to their work of new life and sobriety precludes sending them elsewhere, even for one evening. For us to gather in the intimacy of a home (rather than the church sanctuary), lit only by the candles we are holding, to hear our ancient stories of God’s redeeming work with God’s people, renew our baptismal vows, and then to jubilantly proclaim the Risen One, will be a reminder of our spiritual forebears’ nomadic, wilderness years and a time for us experience the Spirit’s vital presence in our (albeit heated) tent-of-meeting. It promises to be a Vigil we will never forget!
April 5th, we will have ONE Easter Sunday service at 10 am, with hymns, choir, readings, and communion. Enter by way of the ramp into the Parish Hall – transformed for Easter worship!
An Easter meal will be served for Dinner Bell at 5pm, hosted by Carol Tubman and Chris Mills. All are welcome!
Fifteen of us gathered last night by candlelight in the Prince Room Chapel for a continuous reading of the Gospel according to Mark, taking turns reading as we listened intently in the darkness. Although we had no formal discussion of the experience, here are some comments:
* Surprisingly wondrous, fascinating – hard to describe.
* I've never done anything like it! 
* I didn’t know there were two stories of Jesus feeding the crowds! And then a third time of the disciples asking for bread! (Mk 8:16-21) They just didn’t get it!
* I never noticed before how many times he healed (and talked about) children.
* It’s really different hearing it all like this.
* Simply put: it was a great experience.  Wow!
Ladies Lunch Bunch will meet next Wed. April 8th, at Noon at the Mt. View Station Restaurant in Center Ossipee, NH . Contact Dale Appleton for more information.

Food for thought from Frederick Buechner (originally published in Wishful Thinking)
The Lord's Supper is make-believe. You make believe that the one who breaks the bread and blesses the wine is not the plump parson who smells of Williams' Aqua Velva but Jesus of Nazareth. You make believe that the tasteless wafer and cheap port are his flesh and blood. You make believe that by swallowing them you are swallowing his life into your life and that there is nothing in earth or heaven more important for you to do than this.

It is a game you play because he said to play it.

"Do this in remembrance of me." Do this.

Play that it makes a difference. Play that it makes sense. If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child.

Remember Max Beerbohm's Happy Hypocrite, in which a wicked man wore the mask of a saint to woo and win the saintly girl he loved. Years later, when a castoff girlfriend discovered the ruse, she challenged him to take off the mask in front of his beloved and show his face for the sorry thing it was. He did what he was told, only to discover that underneath the saint's mask, his face had become the face of a saint.

This same reenactment of the Last Supper is sometimes called the Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving," that is, at the Last Supper itself Christ gave thanks, and on their part Christians have nothing for which to be more thankful.

It is also called the Mass, from missa, the word of dismissal used at the end of the Latin service. It is the end. It is over. All those long prayers and aching knees. Now back into the fresh air. Back home. Sunday dinner. Now life can begin again. Exactly.

It is also called Holy Communion because, when feeding at this implausible table, Christians believe that they are communing with the Holy One himself, his spirit enlivening their spirits, heating the blood, and gladdening the heart just the way wine, as spirits, can.

They are also, of course, communing with each other. To eat any meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic need. It is hard to preserve your dignity with butter on your chin, or to keep your distance when asking for the tomato ketchup.

To eat this particular meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic humanness, which involves our need not just for food but for each other. I need you to help fill my emptiness just as you need me to help fill yours. As for the emptiness that's still left over, well, we're in it together, or it in us. Maybe it's most of what makes us human and makes us brothers and sisters.

The next time you walk down the street, take a good look at every face you pass and in your mind say, "Christ died for thee." That girl. That slob. That phony. That crook. That saint. That damned fool. Christ died for thee. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee.

With blessings, as we walk this holy walk
and learn to love as he has loved us,