The First Sunday of Lent, 10 a.m. Service – The Great Litany Processional

In his Notes on the Music printed in this Sunday’s bulletin, Jim Frazier explains what The Great Litany means and why we are singing it in procession on this the First Sunday of Lent:

The Great Litany which we sing today in procession is one of the glories of the Anglican liturgy, and a literary treasure. It is most often used on the first Sunday in Lent. Written in 1544 by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, of Canterbury, it was the first rite published in the English language, even before the first Book of Common Prayer. It begins with an invocation of the Holy Trinity. Then follow a series of invocations which seek deliverance from evil, spiritual harm and natural calamities. A series of solemn supplications then plead the power of Christ’s incarnation, life, death and resurrection for deliverance. The Litany is at once a confession of sin and an extended prayer for the needs of the whole world. Its effectiveness depends in part on the back-and-forth rhythm between the officiant and the congregation.

(The Great Litany is found in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 148, and in the front of the 1982 Hymnal in the Service Music, page S67.) The Rev. Keely Franke is the Officiant for The Great Litany.

Wednesdays at St. John’s during Lent

Whether you are coming for the 5:30 Evensong in the Chapel, Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, Hand Bell Choir, Adult Choir, Evening Lenten Series, Youth Program, whatever your reason for being here, please join together for a light supper of soup and bread.

Weekday Holy Eucharist is replaced with 5:30 p.m. Evensong! Bible Study will continue in the Library at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays.  The Rev. Philip Ramstad will be leading Evensong in the Chapel the Wednesdays of March 16, 23, 30, April 6, and 13. In a letter writing about Evensong, Mr. Ramstad writes:

“Every day will I give thanks unto thee, and praise thy name forever and ever. What a good and pleasant and joyful thing it is when the people are gathered together in unity.”…from the Psalter.

In following the example and teaching set forth in these two verses from the Psalter, the Church urges her faithful people to make prayer to God their daily activity. Since the time of the Apostles the church, in continuation of the Jewish practice of prayer, has met together to sing Psalms and hymns, to listen to the God’s Holy Word and to offer intercessions for the whole world in the form which is commonly called the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office Daily, or Morning and Evening Prayer. The key word here is daily. In proscribed rites and ceremonies, the Church has set forth the forms of public corporate worship for the people of God. It is a way of sanctifying time through praise and adoration.

This will be an opportunity to participate in the daily prayer of the Church. This Evensong offering is sung for the Glory of God and to pray for the Church and the world. The very nature of Church is to congregate, to come together.

Lent is a turning around (a re-turning) into a new and different way of life. The rationale of the lectionary for Lent is setting forth the Paschal mystery, the history of salvation, and the meaning of Christian initiation. The Old Testament readings, rather than the Gospel are primary. We rediscover who we are and what we are as the People of God. This rediscovery replenishes our Lenten discipline and moves us into service and ministry to others. In Lent we seek to deal with forgiveness of other people, with mission to those who do not know Christ, and with learning to pray better. Come pray together.

The liturgies at St. John’s change every Sunday by design of the congregation. You have been intentional about having Rite I and Rite II liturgies for Holy Eucharist and Rite I for Morning Prayer. During Lent those same services may vary only by use of that which is provided in the Book of Common Prayer for the Sundays of Lent.  In Rite I Holy Eucharist either An Exhortation or the Decalogue may be used along with A Penitential Order and Prayer I.  In Rite II The Decalogue and A Penitential Order may be used.

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