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The Empty Tomb Pageant : a Filmed Play for the Easter Vigil Service
This pageant will tell the story of Mary Magdalene and her friends visiting the tomb on Easter morning, intent on performing burial rites, only to find the rock rolled back. She runs to get Simon Peter and John. The two disciples witness the empty tomb and return to their homes. Mary stays, crying. When Mary looks in the tomb she sees two angels in white. When she asks them where Jesus is, they tell her, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Then Mary turns to see a man she mistakes for a gardener, but he is Jesus, and when he says her name, she recognizes him.
The Pageant Plan: Filming the Tomb Scene
Our plan is to film the scene at the tomb with the 6 actors (Mary M. + the Disciples Simon Peter and John+2 angels + Jesus) all masked and socially distanced at the Chelmsford Lime Quarry on Sunday, March 21st in the afternoon. Since the kids will be masked, we will also ask that they join a zoom meeting to record the audio for the scene on a date prior to the filming.
Easter Angel Dancers
We will also have a simple, choreographed dance for all who would like to be an Easter Dancing Angel. The dance will also be filmed together- masked and socially distanced- at All Saints’ Church with the dancers framed in the cloisters (see photo). This filming will also be on Saturday , March 21st…time TBD.
Narrators and Alleluia Kids
The pageant will need narrators to read parts of the pageant. Narrators will record themselves reading at home.
We invite EVERY CHILD to dress up in their Easter celebration clothes- whatever that looks like in your family- and join the end of the video saying “Alleluia” or “He is Risen.” These videos can be made at your convenience and emailed to us prior to March 22nd.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is our first Sunday of Lent, that season of the church year where we prepare for Easter through spiritual practices. The worship service is more austere and there is a great deal of language about sin, death, and repentance. You may have noticed this morning–practically just as we said “hello”–we confessed in words, stronger than usual, that we have “erred and strayed like lost sheep…. We have left undone those things which we out to have done, and we done those things which we ought not to have done…”
The word “sin” has disappeared from public life and popular culture. We don’t hear it much at all from our politicians any longer. It’s a word we hear less frequently in many churches these days maybe because the language of sin can sound old, outdated, or even medieval in our progressive age and out of step with our inherent goodness. Continue reading
Following the retirement of the Rev. William Bradbury, I arrived at All Saints’ the very next Sunday, February 9, 2020, which happened to be the Sunday of the annual meeting. I was delighted by what a healthy, vibrant, parish greeted me and was particularly impressed by the thriving church school, youth and adult choir programs, and a living stones campaign that kept the church better maintained than many parishes I have served in the past. I soon learned that there were two tasks before us that in themselves would be enough to challenge any parish, the search for the next rector and the replacement of beloved, longtime, music director, Maggie Marshall, whose administrative gifts extended far beyond the music programs. In short, in 2020 All Saints’ lost a great deal of the steady, reliable, leadership that made it much of what we know today. We, however, immediately drew up plans to set in motion a deliberate process to ensure that All Saints’ would not only find its next rector and organist and choirmaster, but thrive in the meantime by maintaining all the things that the members of All Saints’ love the most.
I had five wonderful weeks where I met many people at All Saints’ during the Wednesday and Sunday services. That was when we all began to understand that something was about to change our lives and the lives of everyone we know. Continue reading
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen throwing a net into the sea. Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Peter and Andrew dropped their net and followed him. Apparently there was no debate, no pondering of the decision. Their response was so immediate that one suspects that they had long wanted to be found. Have you ever played “Hide and Seek” with a kid? The kid runs away and hides. What is so fun about that? It’s all about being lost and then found. Kids get very upset if you play the game and then don’t go looking for them. They want to be found. Peter and Andrew wanted to be found. We want to be found. Continue reading
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Eli the old priest of the Jerusalem temple said to the young Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if God calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” According to the Bible, the word of God is something to learn how to hear. Eli the priest doesn’t tell Samuel what God is saying. He teaches Samuel how to hear that voice for himself. That is a priestly task. As much as people like me are often all too ready to tell others what God is saying, that ancient priest, coaches Samuel in how to hear the word of God for himself. It is a skill to be acquired.
In our day, there is a near constant call to become more assertive, more self-confident and, above all, to speak up and tell your story. Continue reading
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this really hard year of struggle, one of the things we have lost was baptisms. We have not done one since the onset of the pandemic. We did not know how we could do one safely. This has had the bad effect, though, of cutting us off from one of our primary sources of spiritual renewal. And after the week we have had with truly historic, anxiety provoking, political conflict in our national life and record number of infections and deaths from the pandemic, we so need to be renewed. Thank you baby Eleanor and her parents, Brittany and David, Godparents, David and Ashley, for making your Christian commitments this morning. We will make our own also to you. We will also at this time renew our own prior vows and commitments with you. In this week when so much is contested, when the truth is not always at hand, and when we can feel just so tired. I can’t think of a better thing we could be doing as a Christian community. Continue reading
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In a normal year, I find myself in late November and early December reminding people that it is Advent, the season of the heart’s preparation for the wonder of Christmas. It is not yet time for Christmas. This year, we all felt a special eagerness to fill the darkness with Christmas lights. People started as soon as possible. There was an early rush for Christmas trees. By the time many of us were looking for trees, most of them were already lit up in our neighbors homes. People, people everywhere, needed Christmas, as soon as possible this year. What the need is that Christmas touches is worth talking about. It’s something we may be able to see and understand that we haven’t been able to in better times.
To the best of our knowledge, Christians began formally celebrating Christmas in the early 300s. Continue reading
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the desert wilderness, wearing only a makeshift garment of camel’s hair, and eating nothing but bugs and honey, the great prophet John the Baptist called everyone to repent of their past and begin anew. Notice that he did not go up to Jerusalem to where the people were. He called them to come to him. They were to leave their homes and ordinary lives and journey to where John was in the desert and be baptized in the Jordan River. It is as if that travelling, that change in physical geography, would symbolize the spiritual change that was to happen within. The outward journey was the inward journey–down to the prophet, down to confession and repentance, forgiveness and renewal. Continue reading