Do you recognize this picture? It is the “aumbry” candle that burns in the church, signifying that Jesus in present in the reserve sacrament, the consecrated bread and wine that are kept to take to those who are sick or cannot come to church. Usually the door to the aumbry is closed, but a glance at the candle tells us that Jesus is present.
On Maundy Thursday, the day that we remember the last night of Jesus’ life, at the end of the service the entire altar area is stripped of its adornings — cushions, prayer books, candles, banners, linens, the chalice and paten — all are taken away so that the church will be bare for Good Friday. At the very end, the reserve sacrament is also removed, and the aumbry candle is extinguished. For me that is one of the most powerful moments of Holy Week.
On Thursday afternoon, after we received word from Bishop Wright that we could no longer live stream services from the church I went into the sanctuary and took this picture. In one sense, we don’t need the reserve sacrament right now. I am not allowed into hospitals or assisted living communities, or even into someone’s home to take them communion. But I decided to leave it there, and to leave the candle burning throughout this time that we are away. The church may be empty, the people scattered, but Jesus has not left the building. He is still there, watching and waiting for us to return.
Holy Week this week is going to be very different from anything we have ever experienced. We’ll be coming to you live from our dining room in Sandy Springs, with pre-recorded videos of music inserted into the live stream. Thank God for the gift of technology and for a teen-age boy who knows how to use it. Pray that it all works!
Here is our Holy Week worship schedule. Remember that you can join us on the St. Dunstan’s Facebook page, or by going to our website, www.stdunstan.net, and clicking on the live worship button. And if you cannot be there for the “live” worship, it is recorded and available to view anytime on our Facebook page.
Palm Sunday, April 5 -- 10 a.m.
Monday-Wednesday, April 6-8, Stations of the Cross -- 8 p.m.
Maundy Thursday, April 9 -- 7 p.m.
Good Friday, April 10 -- 7 p.m.
Easter Vigil, April 11 -- 7 p.m.
Easter Sunday, April 12 -- 10 a.m.
We’ll be sending bulletins for each service during the week. “See” you tomorrow morning.