The Friday Reflection
April 3, 2020
Rev. Michael Backlund

He called it sauntering. He hated the word, “hiking.” He didn’t march. He didn’t powerwalk. He didn’t run. He sauntered.
When we consider great leaders, a sauntering one doesn’t usually come to mind, but we’d be wrong about that. He was a great leader.
Tireless in his efforts to educate the public and convince politicians to conserve some remnant of our national wilderness, he caught the imagination of a president. In 1903, Teddy Roosevelt joined him for a three-day camping trip to Yosemite. Their first night together was spent beneath the Grizzly Giant in the Mariposa Grove, about which Roosevelt would later write, “The majestic trunks, beautiful in color and in symmetry, rose round us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the Middle Ages.”
Two nights later sitting around a crackling campfire in the meadow by Bridalveil Fall, they talked, and talked some more. And in the end, a president became a follower, and convinced of its rightness, arranged the legislation needed to end California’s control of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove and bring them under the care of Yosemite National Park in 1906 to be preserved and protected in perpetuity.
All of this – and more – by one who merely sauntered.
But saying “merely” isn’t right, is it? For you see, sauntering is not aimless walking around, but a holy undertaking. Sauntering harkens back to the name given to pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, the “sainte-terre-ers.” And for him, sauntering in the Range of Light was a divine vocation, a pilgrimage into the very heart of things: “When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
We Episcopalians, like this giant of a leader, are called and committed to Creation Care. A holy vocation. We stand on holy ground, if we but have eyes to see. God invites us to collaborate in the divine work of preserving and caring for our earthly paradise. Blessed are we beyond all telling to live so close to nature’s cathedrals within our own diocesan borders. In all our great and small ways, may we each commit to becoming a leader in caring for the divine magnificence we call, “The Creation.”
Dear God, help us to follow your holy one, John Muir, who said, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” Show us, God, how to become saunterers. And as Annie Dillard advised, fashion us into those pilgrims of life who with each step of our left foot, shout, “Glory!” and with each step of our right foot, proclaim, “Amen!”

Holy Week Lineup

Sunday’s live-stream of the Diocesan Palm Sunday

The service bulletin will be available here by Saturday evening.

You can view Sunday’s service in two different ways:
YouTube | Many experienced this last week, and found that YouTube was the most reliable for many people.
Facebook | They can also find us on Facebook, but what we have found is that Facebook has been overloaded in a way that it was never meant to be by all the different people and places using it. YouTube does not have these same issue.
Join us either way, but know that both are available to you!
It will be live at 10 am.

Reenvisioning Blessing of the Palms
Traditionally during Palm Sunday, congregations gather outside their worship spaces to begin the service. Following a brief liturgy that includes the blessing of palm fronds and palm crosses, congregations trace Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The beginning of our Holy Week journey continues into our sacred spaces where we, the people of God, retell the story of our Lord’s Passion.
On this Sunday, April 5th, we will gather not at the doors of our physical worship spaces, but we will gather together along the road leading into Jerusalem. We will not only be witnesses to this drama, we will also be participants.
Prior to Sunday morning, we invite you to identify an object in your home that is or could be sacred to you. It can be a palm frond from your yard, but it also could be a cross, a picture, a drawing, a photo, or any other object dear to you. During this Palm Sunday liturgy, Bishop David will bless these items.
These sacred objects will be “our palm crosses” for this day, this Holy Week, and throughout the year. These will be the palms we lay at the feet of Jesus as he triumphantly enters Jerusalem. This week, these blessed items will serve as the liturgical appointments in the sanctuary of our homes. Ultimately, these sacred objects will serve as our substitute “palm crosses” for the year that are intended to remind us daily of Jesus’ sacrifice and unconditional love that is revealed to us once again this Holy Week.
For the traditionalist in the group who have access to palm fronds and want to make your own cross, here are two tutorials on how to make a palm cross; video tutorial and graphic tutorial.
For those who would like to make paper crosses you can find a helpful video tutorial HERE!

Spanish Noonday Reflections, 12:00 pm
Join us each day of Holy Week at 12:00 pm on Facebook for a Spanish reflection with Bishop David and Deacon Nelson!

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Daily Prayers
Monday, we will be hosting Morning Prayer Live at 7:30 am. It will continue to be available throughout the rest of the week.
Tuesday, we will host Evening Prayer live at 6:00 pm.
Wednesday, Compline will be hosted live at 8:00 pm.

Reaffirmation Service, Tuesday at 12:00 pm
We will be postponing our Chrism Mass and Dcn. Nelson’s Liturgy of Installation as Latino Missioner, but we will be holding a reaffirmation service. This service will include clergy’s reaffirmation of their ordination vows, and the laity will be asked to reaffirm their Baptismal Covenant.

Maundy Thursday Re-imagined, 6:00 pm
While Maundy Thursday has traditionally been a time of foot washing and stripping of the altar, this will look different during this time. We are working on a liturgy that offers video liturgy. We invite you to bring your soup, bread, and drink to our Agape Meal in the middle of the service so we can share together. You will then be invited to strip away your own altar at home.
More information to come on this service.

Overnight Prayer Vigil
End of Maundy Thursday Service until Stations of the Cross
While we won’t physically be in our Faith Communities this year for the overnight vigil following the Maundy Thursday service, we still can keep watch by setting aside one hour for meditation and prayer in the “virtual sanctuary” via ZOOM.
We invite you to choose an hour-long time slot in the overnight vigil. During the vigil, we invite you to quietly read and/or pray for that hour as we keep watch leading up to the Good Friday liturgy. The room will display imagery of a candlelit Cathedral.
The goal is to have at least one person observing the vigil at any given hour throughout the Watch.
To sign up, click on the link bellow. Please fill out the information and select a time(s) you are volunteering to maintain the vigil. More than one person can choose to hold the vigil each hour, but we definitely need at least one person. By Wednesday, April 8th, a follow up email will be sent to everyone who has volunteered to participate in the overnight vigil.
You can sign up here for a time slot.

Stations of the Cross and Good Friday, 12:00 pm
Stations will begin at noon and are designed to be done in your home. Stations of the cross will be a bilingual experience with the voices of many people coming together. We are also putting together a children’s stations experience!
The Good Friday liturgy will follow the Stations of the Cross around 1:30 pm and conclude near 3 pm.

Holy Saturday Liturgy, 9:00 am
Holy Saturday will begin with a live liturgy at 9:00 am

Easter Sunday, 10:00 am
Join us for Easter Sunday at 10:00 am! More details to follow.

An excerpt from The Immigrants Creed: “I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger, and returning to his own country suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured, accused and condemned to death unjustly.”

Spring clean
Donate anything you haven’t worn, used, opened, or looked at in the past year to your local thrift store when they reopen.

 Friday Reflection
All articles and special news can be submitted to the Diocesan Office at:
All submissions are due MONDAY for the following Friday Reflection.
Submission requirements:
pictures -JPEG format
articles- word document
document to link- PDF
Please edit pictures for best brightness, contrast, and lighting before sending.

Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday
April 5 | 10:00 AM
Morning Prayer
April 6 | 7:30 AM
Reaffirmation Service
April 7 | 12:00 PM
ZOOM & Live
Evening Prayer
April 7 | 6:00 PM
April 8 | 8:00 PM
Maundy Thursday
April 9 | 6:00 PM
Overnight Vigil
End of Maundy Thursday Service until Stations of the Cross
Sign-up HERE
Stations of the Cross & Good Friday
April 10 | 12:00 PM
Holy Saturday
April 12 | 9:00 AM
Easter Sunday
April 12 | 10:00 AM

Guest Writer

Normal by Rod Geist
“We can’t always know God’s plan.”  “Someday you’ll understand.”  “God has a purpose for everything.”  Trust me, if you know someone who is dealing with any kind of tragedy in their life, don’t give them these answers. They do not help at all.[i]

Continue reading more of Rod’s story and how it might apply to our COVID-19 days.

Face Mask Pattern

The newest CDC guidelines suggest that everyone wear a mask when they are out getting essential items. This helps to prevent any transmission that may be caused by our speech patterns. They do not recommend N95 masks for anyone except healthcare professionals, but homemade ones are effective and easy to make!

A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
By Dcn. Tom Hampson
Loving God, throughout the Scriptures you call us to “Fear not!”, but these are troubling times for the hardiest souls. Give us courage to face the challenges of this new threat to your human family. Give us prudence, to do the necessary things to protect ourselves and others. Give us the clarity of vision to learn from this disease the lesson we are too prone to forget, that we are all connected, regardless of race or nationality or political persuasion. We pray for those who are struggling with this disease, that their health may be restored. We pray for medical personnel and first responders caring for those in need, that they remain healthy and unflagging in their life-saving work. And we pray for all those economically impacted, that they may find the resources to maintain themselves and their families. We ask all this, trusting in your abiding love, a love that even death cannot defeat. Amen.

Upcoming Event Information

Spanish Immersion at ECCO
Come join us for a week of Spanish learning!
Join us for a week of learning to speak Spanish! You will have time to learn, bring home materials to keep learning, and enjoy many activities among colleagues and friends.
Prices include take home materials, week long materials, lodging, all meals, and activities!
Registration is due by June 10th. We need 25 people minimum to join us! Register blow.
If the program is canceled due to lack of participant registrations, all costs will be refunded.
However, if a participant cancels after the registration cut off date, costs cannot be refunded.
Registrations are due – June 10th
Register HERE
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, 4147 E Dakota AVE, Fresno, CA 93726
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