Grace Church
in New York

This Week at Grace

This Week’s Services

 

Wednesday, April 24

6 pm Holy Eucharist

Sermon: The Rev. Julia Macy Offinger

Sunday, April 28

The Second Sunday of Easter

9 a.m. Holy Eucharist

Sermon: The Rev. Julia Macy Offinger

Music: The Parish Choir

11 a.m. Morning Prayer

Sermon: The Rev. Julia Macy Offinger

Music: The Girls’ Choir with HS Singers and Adults

6 p.m. Holy Eucharist

Sermon: The Rev. Mary Cat Young

Music: Hymns with Instrumentalists


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News from The Rector

April 18, 2019
 

Dear Friends,

 

Why is it called Good Friday? 

 

Such was the question put to me in yesterday’s 5th Grade Bible class at Grace Church School. Happily, this semester as we have been working our way through the New Testament, the syllabus perfectly coincides with Holy Week and Easter. In other words, we have been talking about Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter at the same time the church is observing these important holy days. But our tour through the events of Jesus’ life can only skim the surface. The class is meant only to be a survey course for 10-11 year-olds, so we don’t dive into theories of the atonement that might address how God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The downside is, all they see in the death of Jesus is a horrible execution of an innocent man. And we’re calling this good? Why? 

 

I had to be fast on my feet, so I proposed an analogy. We call the day Good Friday, and someday the people of France might (and in all humility, I emphasize the word might) call the calamity that nearly destroyed Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday the Good Fire. The fire began in the attic, most likely due to a $7 million restoration project that was underway near the central spire. The truth is, at 850 years old, Notre Dame was falling apart, and in dire need of serious work. It is a structure many times larger than Grace Church, and believe me, Grace Church could swallow $7 million of restoration in an afternoon! So the work being done on Notre Dame was only going to be a drop in the bucket. Was the fire a good thing? On the one hand, no, and thanks be to God for the firefighters who beat it back and saved the building.  But now, the objective reality will be a completely renewed and more wonderfully restored Notre Dame Cathedral that would not have happened without the fire. So on the other hand, someday the fire might even be called “good.” 

 

The subjective reality might also be good. The fire has moved hearts and affected people all over the world. Seeing the beloved structure nearly lost, people have opened their purse strings and contributed almost $1 billion in just a few days. These are resources that would not have been forthcoming had it not been for the fire. The cause of restoring Notre Dame might also rally the people of France around each other to address the inequities currently roiling their society. 

 

Why do we call it Good Friday? Because we believe that a renewed humanity arises out of Jesus on Easter Day. At the Easter Vigil on Saturday we will pray: O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature; Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

 

See you in church.

 
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802 Broadway

New York, NY 10003

212.254.2000

www.gracechurchnyc.org

An Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York