A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

WORSHIP AND SERMON

Sunday, April 28, 2019

sunny 88 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

WORSHIP Aboard the Silver Whisper at 5:30 pm on April 28, 2019

HYMN: That Easter Day with joy was bright

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in the darkness for the godly: Grant us in all our doubts and uncertainties to ask what you would have us do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Reading from the Gospel of John
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (20:19-31)

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

Thomas missed Easter. Thomas was the one of Jesus’ twelve apostles who walked away from his community, so he wasn’t there when the risen Christ came into the room. Thomas didn't see Jesus show the nail prints in his hands and in his feet and the wound in his side, and Thomas didn't hear Jesus say, “Peace be with you.” Even when the eleven tried to tell him all about it, tried to tell him that, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas didn’t believe. The evidence was only second hand.

Doubting Thomas, he is called, and Doubting Thomas gets bad press. Most of us prefer people who are sure about what they believe. We don’t want our politicians to waffle on issues. We want friends who say what they mean and mean what they say. The preachers who attract the greatest congregations are those who claim to know exactly what the Bible says. And the Roman Catholic doctrine that the Pope is infallible on matters of faith and morals is very attractive to those who want absolute answers.

But I get nervous about such certainty. I actually like it when a politician says, “Upon due consideration and study, I’ve changed my position on this subject and here’s why.” I get nervous when anyone is so convinced that they are right that they close their minds to considering anything new. I get nervous when any Church claims to know the mind of God without question, because we human beings aren’t smart enough to comprehend the mind of God. I want all of us to have what we Anglicans pray for those who are baptized: an “inquiring and discerning heart.” I want us to ask big questions and look for big answers. I also want us to reognize that God is far too big for us to grasp.

Doubting has been given a bad name, as if it were something that only bad people or weak people do, so when we call someone a Doubting Thomas, we are not paying them a compliment. Yet if we are honest, we know that we all have doubts, and that those doubts are actually a way of deepening our understanding and our faith.

This week, Bill and I watched a ship’s movie called The Theory of Everything. The film is the story of Steven Hawking, world renowned theoretical physicist who first described black holes. Throughout Hawking’s life, he never stopped questioning, doubting, and often rejected his eariy work in favor of new understanding. Another proponent of scientific doubt was held up by Lewis Thomas, the former chancellor of Sloan Kettering Institute, who said, “There’s something badly wrong about how science is taught. We need to look not so much at facts as we do at bewilderment because scientific facts are incomplete. It is only the strangeness of nature that makes science interesting, and science, like poetry, ought to be taught as a sort of moving target.”

Now were Lewis Thomas’s words rephrased to address Doubting Thomas, they would go like this: “There’s something badly wrong about how faith is taught. We need to look not so much at facts as we do at bewilderment because the facts about our gracious God are incomplete. It is only the mystery of God that makes faith exciting, and faith, like poetry, ought to be taught as a sort of moving target.”

The community of faith often seems like the last place to reveal our doubts. The Church often seems like a place where everyone shares a common belief because we proclaim a common Creed. It is not so. If you have doubts, you are not alone. Thomas was not ashamed to bring his doubts to his fellow disciples, and we can and should do the same.

And when we doubt, we should remember this: it was in the pain of Thomas’s doubt that God was revealed to him. Thomas began by thinking that he couldn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection unless he could touch him and see him. "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe," he said. And he didn’t believe. But Thomas stuck with his community and came back to be with them. And when he did, Jesus came to him, and in the end Thomas found the One who was so close to him that he didn't need to reach out and touch him after all.

The Prayers, interspersed with the words of Psalm 111

Risen from the bonds of death, Jesus stood among his disciples and said, “Peace be with you.” We pray that Christ’s holy peace may extend throughout our world and within our lives.
Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.

Open our minds and hearts to bring a new peace upon this earth, that old hatreds may die and violence and war may cease. We pray for the leaders of the nations and all in authority, remembering those charged with responding to the bombings in Sri Lanka.
God has shown his people the power of his works in giving them the lands of the nations.

Fill us with compassion for our brothers and sisters in need. Heal the sick and pour your blessing upon those who minister to the suffering.
The works of God’s hands are faithfulness and justice; his commandments are sure.

Inspire and guide all teachers and coaches, tutors and advisors. Bless all schools, colleges, and universities that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery and the pursuit of wisdom.
Great are the deeds of the LORD! they are studied by all who delight in them.

Give us reverence for your creation that we may so care for this earth that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty.
God’s work is full of majesty and splendor; his righteousness endures forever.

Shelter and protect all who are in need of refuge: those accused and imprisoned, the homeless and fearful, the mentally ill and the weak, the addicted and those in recovery.
God makes his marvelous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

Be with those who doubt, those who live with uncertainty, those whose faith and hope are weak.
God gives food to those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.

Remembering those who were injured and those who died this week on the ferry Amfitriti, comfort the bereaved; receive those who have died and gone before us into your arms of love.
God sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; holy and awesome is his Name.

Give us grace to acknowledge our sins and seek your forgiveness, always trusting in your mercy.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever.

Bless those with birthdays and anniversaries this week, remembering David and Una Snell and make us grateful for the signs of fresh hope and new life all around us.
God’s works stand fast for ever and ever, because they are done in truth and equity.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit, and may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

HYMN: We walk by faith and not by sight

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins and the Reverend William J. Eakins
Music: Alex Manev
Altar Guild: Directress: Jane Kline, Jill Ingham. Usher: Douglas Kline

Expected time of next service: Sunday, May 5, at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 11:32 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

Takoradi, Ghana

African reality vs. Chamber of Commerce

sunny 90 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

The ship’s Shore Excursion Desk provides information about Takoradi, Ghana; it says, among other things ...

Takoradi... is quickly becoming one of West Africa’s premier tourist destinations. With so many stores to choose from, shopping in Takoradi can be hectic. Top restaurants that will make that shopping very easy include the Garden Mart for general shopping and Dimples Clothing for all your boutique needs.... The Market Circle boasts of offering the best produce in the region.

Well, we went to Takoradi, and we were not tempted to look for one of those top restaurants. We can’t show you the market in full detail because the folks get VERY agitated if you start to take a photo – and we didn’t want to risk offending ANYone. So these “stores” are really plastic mats and little stands on the street. The items the boys in the photo hold on their laps are dried fish, not pineapples, and the scent around them confirms that. There are no carts – most everything is carried on the head. You actually don’t see much because you are so busy looking at the pavement holes and being careful not to fall in. Your ears are also assaulted by street preachers, politicians, and hawkers shouting into microphones – and beggars demanding (not asking for) dollars. The folks are not very friendly. On the good side, this is a real African adventure, not a tourist center. One important feature: there’s minimal garbage on the street. The temperature was about 90.

So we walked all around Market Circle and returned to the ship where friendly merchants had set up their shops shipside. Hope acquired many kente cloth items; Bill bought a kente cloth hat to wear on the ship’s Africa Night. We also got more rhythm instruments for our African service on May 5.
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Posted by HopeEakins 05:46 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

RESCUE MISSION

Shipwreck ahead

sunny 98 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

There's an common image of ocean cruisers that pictures us sitting on deck chairs with a drink in our hands. Not so! We were in the swimming pool this morning when the intercom clicked on and told us that our ship had just received a Mayday alarm from a sinking ship. We got out of the pool! Next announcement: we are steaming off to the rescue and should arrive at the "sinister area" in three hours. Now a complication ... We are currently in the Gulf of Guinea where pirate attacks have been reported, so we have been put on an anti-piracy watch. This means we cannot have any lights on at night, curtains closed, etc. Blaring sound speakers, water hoses, and searchlight devices have been installed on the ship and Naval Forces (which country? we don't know, maybe Portugese) are supervising our transit. So rumor abounds about pirate involvement.

As of this afternoon, rumor had it that all souls had perished. Next announcement: some had been rescued; some bodies had been recovered, and our ship had been put on patrol to look for more bodies in a one mile square where the current could have borne them. We are currently going back and forth, back and forth, right between São Tomé and Principé, on the route of the Amfitriti, a ferry boat and a cargo boat combined, praying for all involved.

Posted by HopeEakins 08:55 Archived in Sao Tome and Principe Comments (2)

HAPPY EASTER!

Worship and sermon on April 21, 2019

overcast 60 °F

WORSHIP Aboard the Silver Whisper at sunrise on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019


HYMN: Jesus Christ is risen today!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Easter mystery destroyed death and brought forth life: Grant that we may show forth in our lives what we profess by our faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 118:14-17, 22-24

The LORD is my strength and my song, *
and he has become my salvation.

There is a sound of exultation and victory *
in the tents of the righteous:

"The right hand of the LORD has triumphed! *
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!

I shall not die, but live, *
and declare the works of the LORD.

The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the LORD'S doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

On this day the LORD has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

A Reading from the Gospel of Mark

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (16:1-8)

A Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

We started to see signs of Easter many many weeks ago. We saw chocolate bunnies and jelly beans on sale in shops as long ago as Manila. A guide in China told us how she was making Easter baskets for her children. “But you’re a Buddhist,” we said, “Why do you celebrate a Christian holiday?” “I like making Easter baskets,” she explained, “and my children really love them.”
Easter celebrations are a lot of fun, and we should enjoy them. I love Easter baskets filled with jellybeans, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow chicks. I love dyeing Easter eggs, and I love Easter egg hunts. And yet, each of us gathered here this morning hopes that the celebration of Easter is about much more than Easter baskets and Easter eggs, much more than bunnies and chicks as symbols of spring, nature renewing itself. Easter is the Good News about what God has done in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, Good News that brings joy and hope to all who receive it.
Easter first came to three women on their way to a tomb just as the sun’s first rays had appeared over the horizon. Jesus, the man they believed was God’s anointed One, had been crucified and with his death all their hopes for the future were over. They had been there when his mangled body was taken down from the cross. They had done what they could to give Jesus a decent burial. They had heard the heavy stone rolled across the tomb’s entrance.
That’s where the Christian story of Easter always begins: not in an idealized never never land, but in the real and imperfect world that we all know well, where there is wrongdoing and injustice, where might often triumphs over right, a world where there is political and racial division, sickness and death, betrayal and disappointment, broken relationships and hostility. The light and truth of Easter morning dawns first not upon the happy and satisfied but upon the poor in spirit.
The three women approach the tomb and are utterly astonished. Contrary to all expectation, the heavy stone has been rolled away. Upon entering the tomb they see a young man who tells them that Jesus is no longer there. His grave is empty. He has been raised from the dead. The women flee from the empty tomb in terror and amazement.
The Good News of Easter is always astonishing. It is astonishing because it is about much more than nature’s cycle of spring and winter, life and death. The Easter proclamation, “Christ is risen!” is not about nature, it is about God, God who loves the world so much that God became one with us, sparing nothing, not even the rejection and pain of the cross. Easter promises that sin and death do not have the final word. God does.
Easter, is not, however, just about something God has done: it is about something we must do as well. In the Gospel story, the messenger orders the women to “Go and tell” the Good News that “Christ is risen.” So overwhelmed are the women that at first they can do nothing but run away and hide. Yet we know that soon they were the first to tell others. Peter and the disciples not only heard the Good News of the empty tomb, they then encountered the Risen Christ and their world was turned upside down. 
The Good News of Ester is still “He is going before you, and you will see him.”
When guests on the Whisper spend months knitting blanket squares for orphans, when people around the world respond with generosity and compassion to rebuild Notre Dame and burned out churches in Louisiana, when Nelson Mandela comes out of 27 years of prison and can lead his country in a process of truth and reconciliation, when we see such things happen, they are signs that Christ lives and is making all things new.
The Risen Christ still goes before us into Galilee and into South Africa and into Namibia and invites us to meet him there in all of life, in hospitals and classrooms, in troubled families and joyous children, in the faces of the poor and in the corridors of power. And when we have found him and our lives are changed by hope, there is one more thing that we must do. Go and tell and live the Good News: “Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

The Prayers

On this Easter feast of hope and joy, let us bring before God the needs of our world with confidence, for the Lord is risen and walks among us!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who live in fear of terrorism and racism, for all who struggle for freedom and peace, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for the rulers of the nations, that they may govern with equity and justice, and work together for the common good, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for ourselves, that through holiness of life and generosity of spirit we may reveal the vastness of your love, and that through the diversity of our belief and practice, we may witness to our unity under one Lord; for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who suffer, for the lonely and depressed, the hungry and homeless, the unemployed and impoverished, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who mourn, trusting that God will wipe away their tears and fill their hearts with the promise of life eternal for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We pray for all who have died trusting that the dead shall live, for the Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Lord of life, we thank you for the mystery of life sprung from death and hope risen from despair. Bless us with the grace and will to care for the earth and for each other, and with the faith of Mary Magdalene to hear your voice whenever you call. Amen.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep our minds and hearts in the love of God and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

Hymn: He is risen

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins and the Reverend William J. Eakins
Altar Guild: Directress: Jane Kline, Jill Ingram. Usher: Douglas Kline

Expected time of next service: Sunday, April 28, at 5:30 pm

Posted by HopeEakins 01:20 Archived in Namibia Comments (1)

A Train Ride to Freedom

From Cape Town to Paarl

Silversea offers a number of special “Experiences” to those of us on a world cruise. Today we went on a “Train Ride to Freedom,” from Cape Town to Paarl. For an hour and a half we rode in renovated railway carriages powered by two steam locomotives. We were in the observation car (last) fitted out with plush sofas and serving tables. As the train moved north we passed by the South Atlantic Ocean, by a park where white lions roamed, and by townships, racially segregated undeveloped areas filled with shanties and shacks. The townships stood in sharp contrast to the vintage cars we rode in, where violinists strolled and a magician performed tricks, where an oysterman shucked his wares and waitresses served hors d’oeuvres and champagne.

Our luxurious train brought us to the lovely village of Paarl, and then we were bussed to the Victor Verster Prison where Nelson Mandela was confined after his release from Robben Island before he was freed in 1990. There Mr. Mandela’s personal secretary, Zelda la Grange, described how she and her world had been transformed by knowing this man. She was raised in an Afrikaans family who saw blacks as dangerous enemies; the gentleness and kindness of Nelson Mandela changed her life and exploded her prejudices and narrow view of the world.

We left the prison changed too, and deeply grateful for the life and witness of Nelson Mandela. Lunch was at the KWV winery's “cathedral,” a long high-ceilinged event space lined with wooden casks of wine. More than twenty tables for ten were set with blue and white china and crystal vases filled with huge hydrangea and protea and tulips. We were served five courses paired with five splendid Laborie wines – all brought to us by a fleet of waiters. The menu:
Beskuit bread/Champagne Brut
Bobotie cigars/Chenin blanc
Springbok Carpaccio/Chardonnay
Filet mignon and Prawns/Cabernet Merlot
Chocolate extravaganza dessert/Pineau.

During this spectacular meal, the South African Youth Choir sang brilliantly. Really brilliantly. They have been winning international awards and deserve them. Their repertoire ranged from classical choral works to saucy African dance songs. We loved them. Amira Willighagen then emerged to sing with the choir – and solo. Amira is a 15 year old Dutch/South African girl with much acclaim and much talent, many recordings and awards. And what were you doing at 15???

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Posted by HopeEakins 12:14 Comments (1)

ON SAFARI

at Kwandwe Game Reserve in South Africa

semi-overcast 58 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

Church, lunch, and our departure to Kwandwe Game Reserve in a van ... Six of us travelled across a very prosperous looking South Africa for a long four hours. Kwande is VAST, so vast that after our arrival and champagne welcome at the Gatehouse, we went right out on our first game drive without going to our accommodations. Why? Because our “room” at Great Fish River Lodge was a twenty-five minute drive from the reception building. Vast, remember?

So what happens on a game drive? First you climb into a land cruiser, a tough behemoth of a vehicle that can cross any terrain and probably has. Climbing into it isn’t easy. It requires mounting the wheel housings and then throwing your legs over the sides like a Rockette (well, maybe not quite like a Rockette) and a heave-ho into the seats and then hanging on as the vehicle careens up and down the road. We saw two beautiful cheetahs grooming each other, giraffes and zebras grazing, ostriches prancing elegantly, black-backed jackals popping their heads up, nyala and oryx and kudu striding along, and elephants flapping their ears to make themselves look bigger and scare us away. Jono, our guide, gave commentary as he drove, and Ernie, our tracker, looked for spoor and tracks and movement from a metal chair mounted on the hood. The excitement of seeing these beasts in the immense landscape, coupled with charging up and down steep trails, produced lots of adrenaline --- quite welcome because it was COLD (58 degrees and windy).

After three and a half hours we went back to River Lodge, climbed down the 58 steps for drinks by a fire and a fine dinner of springbok, pork, or shrimp. Finally, we were escorted to our “hut;” you’re not allowed to go outside alone after dark because the lion doesn’t always sleep at night. After a 1/3 mile walk traversing two bridges we discovered the luxury of “hut” number two: an entrance hall, bedroom, sitting room, indoor shower, outdoor shower, bathroom, dressing room, terrace, and plunge pool --- and we were too tired and cold to enjoy it yet.

Our wakeup call came at six the next morning. We scrambled to walk the long trek back for a light breakfast and then climbed into the 4WD vehicle for the next game drive at seven. Within minutes Ernie had spotted signs of a lioness. He climbed down from his tracker seat (see it below!) and we set off. Suddenly she was prowling on the road in front of us, and we got instruction to stand our ground if she charged, to make noise so we sounded like an enemy rather than looking like prey. The lioness was hunting for food for her three cubs. The radio crackled: she was walking down the hill beside Lodge #2 (remember where we are staying???). We continued on to see black and white rhinos (the white ones look very silly with teeny little eyes and strange horns), a little yellow mongoose, and baboons. The African buffalo look like dear cows munching on their grass, but are the fiercest of the Big Five species. We stayed away; the lioness was enough.

After a brunch at eleven (a big wow), we walked back to our “hut” for a nap. Tea was at 3:30, then another game drive at four. About six thirty, we turned behind a bush and saw a sundowner party for us in the clearing! Lanterns lit a table with drinks and over the top canapés – and we threw our blankets around us and celebrated, even though ice cold champagne was the last thing on our wish list.

On the third day, we had our final game drive; you can see us silhouetted beneath the giraffes. After another fine brunch, including ostrich meat pie, we left for the airport at Port Elizabeth – and after a two and a half hour drive and a two hour flight, we returned to the Whisper, glad to be back, glad to have had this great adventure.

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Posted by HopeEakins 07:19 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

WORSHIP and SERMON

Good Friday

sunny 70 °F

WORSHIP aboard the Silver Whisper on April 19, 2019 at 9:15 am

All wait in silent prayer.

Officiant Blessed be our God. 

People For ever and ever. Amen.
Officiant Let us pray.

Almighty God, we pray you to behold this your
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be
betrayed, and to suffer
death upon the cross; who now is alive and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (19:1-30)

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

From the beginning of time God has tried to explain it all, to tell us how much we were loved. God tried to show us through the rainbow promise to Noah, God tried to tell us by parting the Red Sea waters. God sent us prophets, and when their words rang hollow in the skies, God put flesh around his word and sent Jesus, to teach us and heal us and love us. But God knew that love couldn’t be taught in words alone; love can’t be preached from a pulpit or written in a book, or told from far off. The words “I love you” don’t count for much if we hear them on a radio, or hear them from somebody who doesn’t know us.

We are here on Good Friday because when God said, “I love you,” God said it from a cross. I can’t explain the meaning of it all; some things you just can’t say with words, but I can tell you another story of love stripped bare, of love that did not run from pain.

It happened in ward of a large Veteran’s Hospital. The patients were quadriplegics and paraplegics, men whose bodies had been broken by war and whose spirits were even more broken. One day a Bishop came to visit that bleak ward. He stepped onto the brown linoleum in civvies, with no crosier, no miter, no purple shirt. He was a good Bishop. He moved slowly from bed to bed and didn't offer pleasantries or foolish hopes. He listened mostly and remembered not to start to shake hands with an armless man. When someone called out, “Hey, Padre, give us a speech,” he did. It was a good talk, an earnest talk, and since he believed what he was saying, they believed him too. He told them how much Jesus loved them and how Jesus became one of them; he told them how Jesus brought healing to the sick and hope to the prisoners; he told them about Jesus’ wounds and how he ended up dying on a cross for them. And before he left, the Bishop spoke a prayer, not read from the Prayer Book but sprung from his heart. As he said good-bye, the men thanked him, but the Bishop knew that he had not brought them the hope they needed. He walked out the door, and then he suddenly turned back into the ward as if he had forgotten something. He stood silently before the men and then he started to undress. He took off his coat and let it fall to the floor. He took off his necktie and his shirt. He peeled off his undershirt, and every movement was painful. Then he took off his trousers and his socks and his shoes, and the patients saw that every part of his body was scarred and strapped together by braces. The Bishop was a wounded war veteran too. He stood there for a moment and then put his clothes back on. No words were spoken because no words had to be spoken. There was compassion in that ward; there was understanding in that ward; there was love in that ward. As he left, the Bishop raised his hand and blessed the men. They never forgot him.

“Jesus was stripped of his garments,” says the Gospel. Jesus hung before the world exposed and vulnerable, wounded like we are. God comes to us in the person of a man who showed himself to us in all his weakness. God did not stay aloof from us, working miracles from the sky; God did not just send us a Bible full of love letters; God came to be with us, to hang on the cross beside us, to tell us that even the pain of thorns and nails can be redeemed and healed.

Somehow the dogma has arisen in Christianity that Jesus died so that our sins might be forgiven, as if God’s anger had to be appeased, as if God wrote a passion play so that Someone Else took the punishment we deserved. There are theologians who talk like that, but not the ones who walked beside Jesus. Jesus didn't die so that God could forgive our sins; Jesus stretched out his arms upon the cross to show us that God does forgive our sins - because God loves us – this much.

The Solemn Collects

Officiant Dear People of God: Our heavenly Father sent his Son into
the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved and that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and
become heirs of everlasting life. We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their needs.

Let us pray for all the nations and peoples of the earth,
For
those in authority among them and
For all who serve the common good
That by God's help they may seek justice and truth, and live
in peace and concord.

Silence

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of
peace, and with your wisdom guide those who take counsel for
the nations; that in tranquility your dominion may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body, mind, and spirit;
For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed
For the sick, the wounded, and the crippled
For those in loneliness, fear, and anguish 

For those who face temptation, doubt, and despair 

For the sorrowful and bereaved 

For prisoners and captives, and those in mortal danger
For those whose hope and trust have been dashed by the torching of black churches in Louisiana and victims of racism everywhere
That they may know the vastness of God’s love for them and be comforted and relieved and that God may stir up in us the
will and patience to minister to their needs.

Silence

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of
all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come
to you, that they may find you present with them in all
their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve
them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us pray for all who have not heard the Gospel of Christ;
For those who have lost their faith 

For those hardened by sin or indifference 

For the contemptuous and the scornful 

For those who have persecuted others in the Name of God
That God will open their hearts to truth, and lead them to 
faith and obedience.

Silence

Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and
lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you; and bring
home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there
may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
 Amen.

Silence

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred 
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world 
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Officiant We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
People Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

.
. Officiants: The Reverend William J. Eakins, The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
. Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress; Jill Ingham

A Sunrise Easter service will be celebrated in the Observation Lounge at 7:15 am on Sunday, April 21.
.
. Future services: Sunday, April 28 at 5:30 pm
. Sunday, May 5 at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 02:18 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

WORSHIP SERVICE & SERMON

Maundy Thursday

sunny 70 °F

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
aboard the Silver Whisper on MAUNDY THURSDAY, April 18, 2019

The people speak the words in bold.

Holy God, maker of the skies above,
Lowly Christ, born among us,
Spirit of life, wind over the flowing waters,
In earth and sea and sky, you are there.
In everything we touch, in everyone we meet, your presence surrounds us.
We give you thanks.

But we have trampled you in creation
We have missed seeing you in one another
We have rejected you in the poor.
Forgive and renew us, fill us with joy.

Let us pray.
Gracious God, we give you thanks for your Son, Jesus who, on the night before he died, promised that he would be with us always, gave us the gift of himself in bread and wine, and gave us a new commandment to love one another as he has loved us. Mercifully grant that as we open our hearts to receive these gifts we may be strengthened by them. Amen.

Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25

God led them with a cloud by day, *
and all the night through with a glow of fire.

He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
and gave them drink as from the great deep.

He brought streams out of the cliff, *
and the waters gushed out like rivers.

But they went on sinning against him, *
rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

They tested God in their hearts, *
demanding food for their craving.

They railed against God and said, *
“Can God set a table in the wilderness?

True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; *
but is he able to give bread or to provide meat for his people?”

So he commanded the clouds above *
and opened the doors of heaven.

He rained down manna upon them to eat *
and gave them grain from heaven.

So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
he provided for them food enough.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.
Glory to you, Lord Christ.

When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve. While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (14:17, 22-26)
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Christ.

A Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

It was the Last Supper, the last time the disciples would eat together, the last time the disciples would all be together as a family, because within a few hours of that supper, all Hell would break loose.

It was night and there were soldiers, and the air was choked with the fear of the disciples’ own deaths - and they didn’t yet know the half of it. But Jesus knew that if ever there were to be a day we would call Good Friday, if the world were ever to be saved from the evil outside those doors and the evil outside our doors, then, within hours, he would bear a cross to Calvary’s hill.

I remember my own last suppers, times of separation that were filled with poignant meaning and choked back tears. I remember when my last son left to go away to school and all the advice I wanted to give him - how to separate the laundry, how to manage his money, how to drive safely, how never to skip breakfast - all the things he needed to know.

I remember the last time I ever saw my father. He was in a nursing home trying to recover from a stroke. He was very weak, lying in bed and barely able to speak. I had to fly home to go back to work. I gave him a big hug and started to leave. And it was then my father lifted his hand as in blessing and spoke the precious words I’ll never forget: “You’ve been a good son, Bill. I’m proud of you.”

Offering a last act of love, giving last words of advice - this is what Jesus was trying to do at the Last Supper, trying to keep his little family of disciples safe in the face of his death. The Passion narratives in the Gospels tell us that his last meal with his disciples, Jesus did three things.

He warns the disciples not to squabble among themselves, that a dispute over who is the greatest is foolish because they are all the greatest, made in his Father’s image and so precious that he will soon die for them, and because being the greatest isn't what it is all about anyway. He tells them to love one another because one another is all they have.

Next he tells them to be servants. “I am among you as one who serves,” he says, as he washes their feet. I have given you an example. Now go and serve each other, remembering that you are so precious that the Almighty God stooped down to be born in a manger for you, that I have stooped to wash your feet, and that I am breaking my body for you.

Jesus knew that servanthood is not an easy road, and so he gives them one last thing; he feeds them a last supper that will endure; he gives them himself. He takes the loaf of bread. “This is my body,” he says and breaks it, fragments it, that the bread can be shared among them and in the sharing make them whole and make his new body whole, his new body that is the Body of Christ, the church, constituted by the squabbling disciples and by all of us throughout the ages who have been fed from the one Body broken and the blood poured forth.

For thousands of years we have shared this real presence, this sacrament of Christ’s giving his life away for the life of the world, for us, that we may give ourselves away for our brothers and sisters. Again and again, over the centuries, the ancient drama of the Last Supper has been enacted in catacombs, on battlefields, in hospital beds, in great cathedrals and tiny chapels, and here in the Show Lounge on the Silver Whisper.

In one way or another, the bread is broken and shared, the wine poured out and drunk. It is our Lord’s last gift to us and his greatest promise. “Take this,” he said, “and share it, divide it, so that the whole world may be fed in my name.”

Jesus’ last instructions are echoed at the end of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The freedom fighter, Robert Jordan, is fatally wounded, and Maria, the woman he loves, wants to stay behind and die with him. But he tells her that she must go on, must go ahead and live for him. He says to her:

“Now you will go for us both; you must do your duty now.… Not I but us both. The me in thee. Truly. We both go in thee now. This I have promised thee. Don’t look around. Go.”

And Pablo hit the horse across the crupper … and it looked like Maria tried to slip from the saddle…. “Roberto,” Maria turned and shouted. “Let me stay! Let me stay!” “I am with thee,” Robert shouted back, “I am with thee now. We are both there. Go.”

These words are like the words that Jesus says to us tonight: Take my body. The me in thee. Truly. This have I promised thee. Go. And live for me.

HYMN: Let us break bread together on our knees

THE INVITATION

The table of bread and wine is the table of communion with the world for which Christ died. So come to this table; it is Jesus Christ who invites us to meet him here. Come you who have much faith, and you who would have more; Come you who have received this Communion often, and you who have not been at the table for some time; come you who have tried to follow Jesus and you who have failed.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

We offer you praise, Almighty God, for in the communion of your love, Christ comes to us and we come to Christ. With the whole realm of nature around us, with brothers and sisters from the east and the west, and with those separated from us now who yet in your great mystery are close to us, we join in the song of your unending greatness.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

On this night on which Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “This is my Body, given for you.” In the same way, he took wine, gave thanks for it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink this, all of you. This is the cup of my blood shed for you.”

Hear us now, O Christ; breathe your Spirit upon us and upon this bread and wine. May these gifts become for us your body, healing, renewing and making us whole. Filled with your presence, may we live in this world as people of mercy and compassion and love.

See, the Body of Christ is broken for the life of the world. Here Christ comes to us in bread and wine, in body and Spirit.

All who are drawn by faith are welcome to receive the sacrament at this,
our one Lord’s table.

THE WORDS OF ADMINISTRATION

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ's Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

Let us pray. Loving God, we pray for your church throughout the world and for the communities of faith from whom we have come and to whom we shall return. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the sick, the bereaved, the oppressed, the addicted, the homeless, and all who are in need. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the people of Paris and all who are disturbed and sorrowful over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Keep safe those who work to stabilize the structure; guide those engaged in rebuilding; give hope to all who are discouraged and fearful. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the leaders and the people of all nations that they may seek peace and find justice. Hear us, O Lord.

Summing up all our petitions, we pray in the words our Savior taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus said: Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.

I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.

By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another.

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you now and remain with you always. Amen.


The veiling of the cross.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins and the Reverend William J. Eakins
Altar Guild: Directress: Jane Kline, Jill Ingram. Usher: Douglas Kline

This Friday, April 19, is called Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death. At 9:15 am, we will say the Solemn Collects and pray for the world Jesus died to save.

Our Easter Sunday sunrise service will be at 7:15 am on Sunday, April 21, in the Observation Lounge.

Posted by HopeEakins 09:51 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

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