skip to Main Content

Spring Is Springing – St. Nick’s News Mar. 8, 2024

Full St. Nick’s News for March 8, 2024

Dear Friends,

This weekend is Daylight Savings so don’t forget to “spring forward.” I don’t know about you but at this point in the year, I am done with winter and love the light. I long for it and all that comes with it – days that feel longer, warmer weather, critters singing, and wildflowers blooming. I imagine, I long for the light just as teachers long for Spring Break. Ha!!!

Which also reminds me – Happy Spring Break to those who have the opportunity to change their schedule and take a week off. Prayers for safe travels along with rest and renewal.

This weekend also marks the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and we can feel the momentum of Holy Week nearing as we read the scriptures on Sundays. I want to take this time to remind us of the importance of Holy Week and some of the traditions at St. Nick’s to help us have an experience of God’s divine presence during this time before Easter.

Palm Sunday on Sunday March 24th is the Sunday before Easter. This day marks our entry into Holy Week as we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. We bless palms, and sing the beloved hymn “All Glory Laud and Honor.” This year we are adding a donkey to our procession at 9:30am to lead us in our Hosanna’s and remember well the festivities in Jerusalem as told in our scriptures. Our outdoor service will begin at 8am on this special day. On Palm Sunday, we bless palms and often fold them into crosses. And as a special side note for your future Bible Trivia Pursuit questions – we know that all four Gospels mention Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, however John’s Gospel is the only one that mentions palms specifically. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, palm fronds were knotted on “Lazarus Saturday” the Saturday before Palm Sunday. In the Middle Ages, priests blessed palms in which the congregation carried in procession and then later took them home. During worship, people made crosses with their palms, sticks, or string depending on what had been brought to church. These were blessed by the priests and taken home to ward off evil and protect the people for the year.

On Wednesday March 27th, we will have a special Dinner Church with prayers of remembrance for all that Jesus has done for us and a “no meat” meal or what some call an “Agape (love) meal.” Our children will help lead us in a prayer activity.

On Thursday the 28th, we will celebrate Maundy Thursday with the foot washing ceremony and the stripping of the altar. It is on this day that we remember the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples before his betrayal and arrest. Maundy Thursday is known as “New Commandment Thursday,” and we learn this from John’s Gospel Chapter 13, verse 34 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

On March 29th, we will commemorate Good Friday with a traditional service. We call this day good even though it is a day of grief and mourning because it is the day we see God glorified through Jesus’ saving work on the cross. This is why we venerate (give honor to) the cross during this worship service. We can come up and touch the cross laid on the altar and thank God for the life giving sacrifice made for us and for our salvation. In addition to our traditional worship, we will have an intergenerational Stations of the Cross for people of all ages. You can come and take a booklet and pray the Stations at your own pace. We also have prayer activities to engage in so that you might use your imagination and spend time contemplating Jesus’ journey to the cross.

After hearing the stories of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion, we are ready to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday on March 31st! Easter Sunday at St. Nick’s is full of celebration and great joy! During worship we symbolically represent Jesus’ victory over death by flowering the cross. This is done after the message. All are invited to come up and place a flower in the cross in front of the altar. The flowers can be from your garden, the local nursery, or store. The flowering cross is found in Christian art as early as the sixth century. It is based on the legend that the cross itself burst into bloom when Jesus died. There is also the legend of the “True Cross” which shares that the wood of the cross came from the seed of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. These stories come from legends around the mother (Helena) of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. It is thought that she recovered the True Cross at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem when she traveled to the Holy Land in 326.

Whichever legends you choose to believe, one things is for sure, the flowered cross is a visual reminder that goodness triumphs over bad, light is greater than darkness, and God’s original intent for creation is restored through the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Hope to see you throughout Holy Week and at our blessed Easter Celebrations!

God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,