Pathways through Lent

Lessons Gleaned from the Service Bulletin

by  Alma Paty

The Fifth Thursday of Lent

Jeremiah 26:1-16     Psalms 131, 132, 133, 140, 142 Romans 11:1-12     John 10: 19-42

Each Sunday, when we gather to worship at historic St. John’s Church, we each are handed a Service Bulletin. This 25+ page document serves as a roadmap for us as we gather to glorify God on His holy day: it guides us through the various acts of worship, be it singing, responsive prayer or communion.

The collaborative efforts of the Parish House staff help us in navigating the “Episcopalian Calisthenics” with ease, as other congregations still juggle between the Book Of Common prayer, the Hymnal, and the inserts, all while kneeling, standing or sitting. The service bulletin of St. John’s Church assists us congregants to be more fully focused on the communal act of worship.

Although the Bulletin urges us to turn it in after the service for recycling, I tend to bring mine home, to peruse in a quiet moment. It is in this peaceful review time that the impact of the Service Bulletin becomes evident. One can glean many lessons, just by rereading various passages. During this time of Lenten introspection, we can apply the lessons from the Service Bulletin as we seek to improve our lives in Christ.

Guidance: Just like a road map, the service bulletin shows us where we are in our congregational act of worship and points us in the right direction to our Eucharistic destination. Its language offers us profound and peaceful meditative tidbits, such as the words from the Paul Chesnokov anthem: Salvation is created in the midst of the earth, O God. Alleluia.

Inspiration: The words we repeat each Sunday can serve as inspiration for spiritual betterment. That we may live and serve you in newness of life. As a congregation we profess our beliefs not only during the Nicene Creed, but in the words of communion:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again.

Gratitude: St. John’s and its members are richly blessed, not only in the freedom to gather unimpeded for worship, but in the astonishing beauty of the church building itself. The glimmer of the eastern sun as it shines through the magnificent stained glass windows inspires us to

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Planning: St. John’s is a parish rich in opportunities to “serve with gladness and singleness of heart.” The final section of the Service Bulletin includes contact information and dates for ways that we can become involved with the life to the church, be it casseroles for SOME, the Lafayette Fellowship or flowers for the altar.

As we progress through our Lenten Pathways, let the inspiration of Christ, as found in our Service Bulletin, “send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to serve you with gladness and singleness of heart…Amen.

A recent St. John's Bulletin Cover.

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