BECOMING AN ALTAR – LENT 2011
“God, you call us to journey with you into the unknown. Help us to respond in faithful obedience. Strengthen us for what lies ahead so that, secure in the knowledge of your loving care, we like Abraham may be a blessing for all.
Parishioners at the Church of St. Andrew were definitely called into the unknown when they arrived on the first Sunday of Lent expecting to find a more somber church. They did not expect to find the altar missing. The space where it usually sat was empty, bracketed only by two lonely black candle stands, their arms reaching upward in supplication. We were going to build an Altar of Outreach to the world. We were going to build, as a parish, an altar of sacrifice as we brought our gifts, matched weekly to the gospels.
Matthew 4. 1-11 TEMPTATION OF JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS
. We are called to feed the hungry and collected 233 boxes of Kraft Dinner for the monthly lunch at a local high school to be prepared alongside the RCMP. The reason for the Kraft Dinner as our first gifts of outreach was explained and parishioners stepped forward to be the table during the Eucharist. Following the service the children eagerly built their vision of an altar.
John 3. 1-17 NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS.
We are called to remember that we are born of water and the Spirit and collected baby items for Holy Trinity’s Layette Program. You can see some of them crowding the sanctuary steps.
233 boxes of Kraft Dinner make a very small altar so once again, parishioners assist at the Eucharist.
John 4. 5-42 JESUS AND THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA.
W e are called to offer the Living Water of faith in Christ to all we meet and collected apple juice for the Food Bank. 93 of them are sitting on the sanctuary steps ready for next week’s altar.
But for this week, our altar was composed of boxes of diapers and 115 items of clothing and baby toiletries for the Layette program. It was finally large enough to hold the Bread and Wine for the Eucharist. Cherished hand embroidered baby blankets became the Fair Linen.
John 9.1-41 A MAN BORN BLIND RECEIVES SIGHT
We are called to continue building the altar with eyeglasses and books. Look at the “building blocks” for next week’s altar sitting on the sanctuary steps.
The 159 eyeglasses were designated for the Lion’s Club Eyeglass Recycling Center and the 549 books for the Head and Neck Cancer Support Group at the QE II Hospital. Next week’s altar will be even bigger but for this week those cans of apple juice were a great foundation. They are hiding behind the baskets of cookies and Simnel cake brought in by the Mother’s union for Mothering Sunday.
John 11. 1-45 THE DEATH AND RAISING OF LAZARUS.
We have brought in 87 balls of wool and 199 knitted squares which the Mother’s Union will make into blankets. These will be distributed to the homeless and needy through Adsum House, Metro Turning Point and The Salvation Army. See the Mother’s Union page for a photo of last year’s blankets being blessed.
PALM SUNDAY - Our Altar of Outreach is complete and consists of 1460 items lovingly given to touch the world.
After the Palm Sunday liturgies, in preparation for Holy Week, the altar was taken apart to send out into the world.
Thanks be to God for a parish who generously supported our Lenten Outreach and built an altar of thanksgiving and Lenten sacrifice.