Yesterday I attended the Holy Tuesday service at St. Paul’s Cathedral (right across the Park St. stop in Boston). At this service, holy oil is blessed for use in anointing for healing and during baptism, and clergy renew their ordination vows. It was good to be with my colleagues to renew our vows and share communion, and to hear beautiful music in the beautifully-renovated “new” cathedral.
And yet there was also an awful sense of déjà vu. The last time I gathered with my colleagues at the Cathedral was at the beginning of diocesan convention in the fall, the very evening we learned of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Yesterday we mourned the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Again our voices were lifted in prayer for lives lost and forever altered. I learned later that at the Anglican Cathedral in Brussels, they went on with their Holy Tuesday service in spite of the attacks. The Ven. Colin Williams, preacher at the service, said, “Going ahead with the service felt like an act of defiance; and as the Eucharist began we lit candles to show again that the Light has come into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.” (Read about the service here.)
The holy oils that were blessed are used in the sacramental acts of healing and new birth. In Holy Week, we come face to face with the disease and brokenness of our world. But we remember, too, that in Jesus Christ, we are made agents of God’s healing and life-giving love. We commit ourselves to standing on the side of love, to being Easter people in a Good Friday world. I hope you will join me this week, as we remember Jesus’ death and look to his rising and the rebirth of our hope, as well.