Christ Episcopal Church
PO Box 67 413 West Evesham Road
Magnolia, New Jersey 08049
Phone ~ 856.783.4270

9:15 a.m. Christian Education
10:00 a.m. Service

THE DRAMA OF HOLY WEEK – Christ Church, 2023


Dear Friends in Christ:


Sunday begins the retelling of the central story of Christianity known as the Passion Narrative.  It’s about the last few days of Jesus’ life that takes us through his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through his Crucifixion on Good Friday and Resurrection on Easter.  This is the heart of our Christian faith.  Each day marks a significant event that is worth our attention and reflection. 


Each of the Gospels spends most of its time focusing on what Jesus said, did and experienced.  We will go from the crowd’s shouts of joy, “Hosanna”, to the crowds shouts of , “Crucify him!”  Jesus is not the kind of Messiah most people expected or wanted.  His obedience to God, his humility and self-sacrifice along with message of the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God promise a new life and new beginning.  However, it is not what the people wanted.


Jesus came to disrupt the way things were being done.  He is a challenge to both the religious and political systems of his day.  The system was marked by what we have come to know as a domination system.  In the system, a few wealthy people collaborate with the religious and political leaders to control and manipulate the population.  Any challenge to the system is marked by violence.


The Passion Narrative is so familiar to us that it would be easy to overlook what is taking place.  We are in such a rush to get to Easter, along with the cultural additions of the Easter Bunny, that we miss the many powerful and important statements that the life and death of Jesus being made.  Jesus worked outside of the expectations of his day.  He brought hope to the poor, healing to the sick, forgiveness to the sinners, strength to the weak, and recognition that we are all God’s children.  Do we understand what is taking place?


One of my favorite sermon teachers is Herbert O’Driscoll.  I studied with him at the College of Preachers. I have read many of his commentaries as I prepare to preach.  One of my favorite comments of his were question as we read Scripture: “Who are you in the crowd?” “What are you thinking and feeling?” “Where do you most identify yourself in the story?”


As we move forward into Holy Week I invite all of us to reflect on these questions.  Read the stories of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.  See what God has to say to us in the last days of Jesus’ life, his death and his resurrection.  The Passion Narrative is our story to both claim and proclaim!  With warmest regards, I remain, faithfully yours in Christ, Fr. Pat

We are unique!

We probably never should have happened. But here we are joining two separate church communities into one and enjoying every minute of it.  Properties were sold and properties demolished but our soul remains strong. The people of Christ Church are here because we want to be a part of the “New Thing” that God has created in our midst. We are committed to outreach.  Our goal is not to amass wealth, but to use the resources we have to build our spiritual base and support those less fortunate.

Food pantries… Back packs…Christmas with Santa are just a few of our projects. Studies in Scripture, Quiet retreats and opportunities for fellowship come together to help give meaning to our Sunday  Liturgy. There are not any red carpets in our newly consecrated church building, just a stone floor ready to accommodate the wheel chairs and walkers for the disabled.

The Good Shepherd window is the focal point of our worship area. We are a community where in the words of J.S. Bach, “Sheep May Safely Graze”.  Come in and See.

Father Critelli

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