An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 3/27/21

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Dear Members and Friends of St. James, 

I send you warm greetings as we enter this most solemn period of our faith tradition.  As I mention in my homily (long, because it replaces the long recitation of the Gospel normally heard at Mass on Palm Sunday and Holy Friday), a second year of not observing and not worshipping in our sacred space could be reason for sadness.  Instead, I offer to you the possibility that this hiatus has had a positive effect, a very motivating outcome.  Tempted as we humans are to take for granted those things that take place routinely, we have come to embrace a different appreciation of those things that bring balance and joy in our lives, as well as remind us of what is essential. 

My further joy, good people, is that, as more of our population are being vaccinated against the ravages of Covid-19, we are closer to returning to in-person gathering.  I stand, personally and with great thanksgiving, in awe of the women and men who have combined their efforts, employing the intelligence and inquisitiveness given them by our Creator God, in order to provide us all with credible means of relief from an illness that has removed from us here in the United States, as well as throughout the world, so many of our fellow humans.  So it is that you will perhaps understand why the one scriptural verse that I proclaim to you at the beginning of my attached homily is: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His mercy endures for ever.  (Ps. 118:1)  

Because our buildings are closed during this Holy Week, as the City of Somerville’s restrictions still obtain, I remind you that I am now permitted to make in-person pastoral visitation, observing still all safety guidelines of the Diocese, the civil authorities, and the CDC.  Thus, should you desire to receive communion in Easter Week, I am at your disposal.  I offer and recommend most urgently the Collects that have been provided in our Book of Common Prayer for each day of this holy time, as means to assist your meditation in place of our traditional communal gatherings. 

I bid you pray: 

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race, you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (Collect for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday) 

O merciful God, giver of life and health, send your blessing, we pray, upon all who are engaged in the ministry of healing.  Grant that they be compassionate in their care for the sick and afflicted, fearless in their efforts to promote the health and well-being of the people in this and other lands, and be strengthened by your grace, for the sake of Him whose Cross is the pledge of victory over all powers of evil, even you Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen 

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with and remain with you and those whom you love this day and for ever. Amen 

Your humble fellow traveler in The Way