Sunday, April 13 was Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. We will not have Wednesday Evening Prayer this week as we are having Maundy Thursday communion service Thursday at 6:30 and Good Friday service Friday at 6:30, at which we do the Stations of the Cross service. Everyone is welcome at both of these services.
The Palm Sunday service is a very special day which departs from the usual to commemorate the life of Jesus, specifically his entry into Jerusalem to be crucified. In the Roman world the palm leaf was a symbol of victory and Roman generals returning from conquests celebrated a triumphant entry into Rome and the people waved palm leaves along the procession route to celebrate. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a spiritual version of these events but celebrates Jesus’ victory over death rather than military conquest. We begin the Palm Sunday service with a special ritual in which the priest blesses and distributes palm leaves to each member of the congregation and we then process around the nave singing the hymn “All Glory Laud & Honor” and in this way we symbolically participate with Jesus in his entry into Jerusalem.
In his sermon Bishop Hartley noted that the scripture readings for the day concentrate on the life of Jesus. The Epistle, Philippians 2:5, explains who Jesus was: “Jesus…took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men…and became obedient unto death.” The Gospel, St. Matthew 27:1 tells us what happened to him by relating the account of the crucifixion. But Jesus was ultimately not subject to death because he was without sin. The theme of Palm Sunday is victory: Christ’s victory over death and our victory through him.
Thursday I attended a very interesting program given by Ken Brown at the DAR meeting on the history of the train that ran between Ava and Mansfield from 1910 to 1935. Ken is a Springfield resident but an Ava native who is an avid researcher on Douglas County history and gave a fascinating program on the train. J.D. Ross is one of the few people who remember the train and he was present to tell us his reminiscences. Sunday afternoon I attended the last performance of “The Wizard of Oz” given by the Ava High School Students under the direction of Michelle Wolfskill. It was an excellent performance which I enjoyed very much along with an appreciative audience in the Performing Arts Center.
For more information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.