Sunday, March 30 was the Fourth Sunday in Lent and in the Anglican or Episcopal tradition this is also Rose Sunday in which the violet altar and vestment colors are replaced by rose as a lessening of the austerity of the Lenten season and anticipation of the new life to come in the Easter season. Advent and Lent are the penitential seasons but one Sunday in each season is designated as a Rose Sunday in anticipation of the joy to come.
Bishop Hartley based his sermon on the theme of miracles, taking as text the Gospel for the Day, St. John 6:1, the story of the feeding of the five thousand. The lesson of this passage is that miracles happen but one has to expect them and also have something to work with as Jesus did with the food belonging to the boy: the child had the food and Jesus had the power to use it for the well-being of his people. This story shows Jesus’ concern for our physical well-being and his power to help us. This passage also looks forward to the establishment of Holy Communion in the Last Supper in which Jesus also feeds us and this theme of anticipation also connects with the theme of Rose Sunday.
During prayers Bishop Hartley said a requiem prayer for Neal Barnes who had done plumbing and heating work for St. Francis and was a friend of many in the congregation and will be missed. We extend condolences to the Barnes family on their loss.
Saturday I drove to Springfield to attend an excellent performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan musical comedy “The Pirates of Penzance” at Missouri State University. This is a delightful Victorian-era musical with witty comic dialogue by W.S. Gilbert and beautiful music by Arthur Sullivan. It is interesting to note that the Episcopal hymn book we use has several hymns that are sung to music by the same Arthur Sullivan so he had a serious side as well. The performance was very fine and the large crowd enjoyed it very much.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.