We got the sign up outside advertising our Easter services. We found the brass basin for the fire for the vigil on Saturday evening. The new paschal candle is safely in place in its holder.
Spring has at long last come to Charlottesville. Even the trees now believe it -- the first buds of new leaves have finally appeared.
And so this week of sometimes daunting contrasts unfolds. Life, death, new life is all before us.
As we have done every Holy Week on Monday for the past six years, we read the names of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have died in our wars. Three years ago we read the names of 455; this year we read 126. Fewer, yes, but still 126 young men and women who did not come home and whose families grievously miss them.
And as we have done on Monday in Holy Week for more years than I have been here, we prayed for peace.
Our world desperately needs peace, and who better to pray for peace than us? War clouds loom in Ukraine, Iran, North Korea;drug wars continue on our border with Mexico; and the civil war in Syria has taken a horrific toll. There is no peace in Egypt or in the refugee camps of the West Bank and Gaza. Pray for peace. Pray without ceasing. And do what you can, no matter how small. Peace begins with us.
I noticed something else this year: The Collect for Monday in Holy Week is the only collect this week that mentions the word "peace." Here is the Collect for Monday in Holy Week:
Monday in Holy WeekAlmighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but
first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he
was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way
of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and
peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.