By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered you, O Zion. Psalm 137.
Many of us are grieving in our present Babylonian captivity away from normal life. Psalm 137 is a communal lament of being in exile, cut off in a far land, away from the Holy city of Jerusalem. We too, as Holy Week is upon us seem to be cut off from the Holy Church where the liturgy, music, and community of this holy time binds us together in the Festival Day of Jesus entry in Jerusalem , the common meal of Maundy Thursday, the all night watch, the liturgy and music of Good Friday, the now normal feeling of seeming separation from God of Holy Saturday and then, the Glorious Baptisms and celebration of the Great Vigil of Easter where we “hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history, how he saved his people in ages past……” BCP page 288.
Thanks to the wisdom given to us by God, and leadership of the staff and Associates of Bethesda by the Sea- we are not cut off from the liturgy. Throughout our separation, the church has provided the Liturgy of the Word through online services. These services online bring the Word of God to us and so we are not totally cut off or in exile. God is present and among us just as He was with His people in Egypt, Babylon, and the arena in Rome in the days of Nero and Diocletian. We, as the people of God have been through worse than this and we have survived, and the Church has survived. The Paschal moon will shine bright on the night of April 7 during the Triduum, and the Sunday after that full moon, will be Easter. When we finally meet again, whenever that Sunday is, we will celebrate the Easter Day liturgy again, together, as no power, not even death can defeat our sure and certain hope in the Resurrection, the greatest event in human history now given by grace to all who through the ages, have come to believe that Jesus is the Savior of the World.
Tonight we had a virtual “Happy Hour” with many of the Eucharistic Visitors of Bethesda who are now temporarily unable to carry out their vocation to bring the Sacrament to people in the hospital or unable to come to church due to illness, or injury. A discussion came up about Blessings over the live stream- and if “they work.” Isn’t it interesting the topics which come up? There was once a story of a Roman Centurion who had a sick servant- (more like a son than a servant) The story is in the Gospel according to Luke. The Centurion said to Jesus, “just say the word and my servant will be healed.” His servant was healed at that very moment.
I believe that the prayers of the clergy of Bethesda, the Daughters of the King, the Bishop of Southeast Florida, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the prayers of all the people of Bethesda and the prayers of all the people of God around the world whether Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian of any sect, and all those who call on a power greater than themselves enfold us all. Jesus who healed the Centurion’s servant without seeing or touching him was with him and is with us all through Holy Week and the 50 days of Easter and to the end of time.
Until we see each other again, “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Peace be with you,
The Rev. Clayton Waddell
Deacon for Port Ministry