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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Home Worship on Sunday, March 29 (5th Lent A)

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Home Worship on Sunday, March 29, 2020

5th Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Watch the Livestream at

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)


I am posting this worship service online because we at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person this week. The Governor of Georgia and President of the U.S.A. have declared states of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. Public health officials recommend avoiding large gatherings of people to avoid spreading the illness to more vulnerable people. Therefore, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia has ordered all parishes in our diocese to suspend in-person worship.

At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Ms. Beryl Dandy, our church musician, and I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.

Today’s service is a “Liturgy of the Word,” also known as the first part of the Holy Eucharist from The Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer. Holy Communion is an incarnational sacrament, meaning it requires us to be together “in the flesh” as Jesus the Word of God became flesh among us. Because we are physically separated from one another, we will not celebrate communion today, but we will praise and worship God together.

You may read these prayers together in church or at home, as individuals or in small groups, while watching the live stream video or at another time. You do not need a clergy person present to say these prayers. Page numbers from The Book of Common Prayer are listed in parentheses after each section heading using the abbreviation “BCP." The written text of my sermon is included below.

May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

The Penitential Order of the Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Opening: LEV #129 – Draw Me Nearer

1 I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, And it told thy love to me; But I long to rise in the arms of faith, And be closer drawn to thee. [Refrain:] Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, To the cross where thou has died, Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To thy precious bleeding side. 2 Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord, By the pow’r of grace divine; Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, And my will be lost in thine. 3 Oh, the pure delight of a single hour That before thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God, I commune as friend with friend! 4 There are depths of love that I cannot know Till I cross the narrow sea; There are heights of joy that I may not reach Till I rest in peace with thee.

Opening Sentence (BCP, p. 351)

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.

His mercy endures forever.

The Decalogue / Ten Commandments (BCP, p. 350)

Hear the commandments of God to his people:

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have no other gods but me. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not make for yourself any idol. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not invoke with malice the Name of the Lord your God.  Amen. Lord have mercy.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Amen. Lord have mercy.

Honor your father and your mother. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not commit murder. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not commit adultery. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not steal. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not be a false witness. Amen. Lord have mercy.

You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Amen. Lord have mercy.

The Confession of Sin (BCP, p. 351)

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14, 16).

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

[Silence may be kept.]

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Lord, Have Mercy: LEV #236

Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy on us.

The Collect of the Day (BCP, pp. 357, 219)

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Ezekiel (37:1-14)

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 130 (BCP, p. 784)

1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; * let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2 If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, * O Lord, who could stand?

3 For there is forgiveness with you; * therefore you shall be feared.

4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; * in his word is my hope.

5 My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, * more than watchmen for the morning.

6 O Israel, wait for the Lord, * for with the Lord there is mercy;

7 With him there is plenteous redemption, * and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8:6-11)

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law -- indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Sequence: LEV #159 – Lift Him Up

1 How to reach the masses, those of ev’ry birth,

For an answer Jesus gave the key;

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,

Will draw all men unto Me.”


Lift the precious savior up,

Lift the precious savior up,

Still He speaks from eternity:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,

Will draw all men unto Me.”

2 Oh! the world is hungry for the living bread,

Lift the Savior up for them to see;

Trust Him and do not doubt the words that He said,

“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

3 Don’t exalt the preacher, don’t exalt the pew,

Preach the gospel simple, full and free;

Prove Him and you will find that promise is true,

“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

4 Lift Him up by living as a Christian ought,

Let the world in you the Savior see;

Then all will gladly follow Him who once taught,

“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John (11:1-45)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” 

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

"Do You Love Me Enough To Let Me Go?" by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

As a child, rock music was not my favorite kind of music. I was into pop and R&B and some hip-hop, bachata, salsa, and other Spanish genres too. But rock was not it for me. Until I started learning to play the guitar as a high school student. My guitar teacher showed us all different sorts of songs from the last 50 years that expanded my musical horizons. At that time, I was mostly interested in learning to play guitar for my church, to play worship music and hymns. But I began to find that music captured my imagination in other creative ways.

When I was in college, I re-discovered a band called Switchfoot that was sort of popular in mainstream rock-pop music circles, but had a really following among young Christians. As I started learning to play their music, I appreciated their musicianship, but even more so, their songwriting. They didn’t write anything you might consider for congregational worship, but their Christian view of the world was apparent to anyone who paid close attention to their lyrics. I loved the poetry of their songs and their ability to weave Christian ideas and themes into lyrics that were accessible to anyone and never sounded preachy.

One of my favorite of their songs is called “Enough to Let Me Go”, written by Jon and Tim Foreman. This song is about love and loss and accepting that we can’t always have what we want. It’s about moving on from grief and finding joy even in the midst of pain. But it’s also about death and resurrection. The poetry is simple but beautiful. Here is an excerpt (start listening at about 1:25):

Back from the dead of winter Back from the dead and all our leaves are dry You're so beautiful, tonight …

Every seed dies before it grows

Do you love me enough to let me go?

Do you love me enough to let me go?

To let me follow through, to let me fall for you, my love?

Do you love me enough to let me go?

Again, Jon and Tim Foreman, the authors of this song, are Christians. They see the world through the lens of God’s saving actions, most especially the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The primary analogy in this song is one of loss, of letting go of something or someone you love because it’s better than holding on even if it is more painful. It can be framed in terms of a romantic relationship and a breakup, but they also mix the metaphor with that of death. When someone we love dies, we cry and grieve, but we can also see that God has greater things in store for us when we let go of this life. So we are joyful, not because death is good, but because God’s power of resurrection is greater than death.

In Jesus, we see that we should not fear death because God has already defeated it. On Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead and released all of creation from our slavery to death. Now, death doesn’t have a permanent hold on us. Death doesn’t have the final word. Death is only the preface to resurrection. Death is like an enemy who has already lost, but is trying to get in a few more cheap shots before the clock runs out.

The cycle of death and resurrection is at the very core of the Christian life. Our lives are constantly changing. We are met with unexpected circumstances at every turn. We see and experience death throughout our entire lives. But, Jesus says, new life is possible. Death is not the end. Instead, we seek God’s power to raise us up into new possibilities, new bodies, and new lives.

For Christians, our belief in the resurrection is literal – we really do believe God raised Jesus’ dead body to life and that God will raise up our bodies and create a new heaven and a new earth after Jesus returns in glory to judge the earth – and resurrection is metaphorical. Metaphorically, St. Paul says, we die to our “flesh” to our sinful natures that pursue our own pleasures over others’ needs. We die to our self-centeredness and our hatred. And, by God’s grace, we rise again to a new spiritual life of love, peace, and mercy. He writes, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”

Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and the Twelve Apostles are all like us. They feared illness and death. When Lazarus got sick, Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to rush back and heal him to prevent his death. But Jesus didn’t make it in time. Jesus insists this was no mistake, but a way to reveal God’s glory. God has always had power over death because life and love are stronger than death. Even after Lazarus dies, Martha confesses that she believes in God’s resurrecting power. She holds onto that hope, but she is still devastated to lose her brother now. And Jesus decides to give them a preview of the eternal glory for which we all hope and wait.

Lazarus dies, but through his death, millions and billions of people have come to hope in God. Because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many witnesses on that day believed in him and Christians through the ages have been born again of the Holy Spirit. Had Lazarus lived an ordinary life, we probably would never even know his name. But because he died and God raised him up, his life became so much greater.

To me, the most poignant line of the song I quoted earlier is this one: “Every seed dies before it grows.” This is a paraphrase of Jesus’ words in John 12:24 (just a chapter after the story we read): “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”.

A seed is only a seed, but if it gets buried (if it “dies”) then it can transform into something remarkable and unexpected. A tiny acorn can become a giant oak tree if it is buried. Likewise, God can do incredible things in and through us if we are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. If we are willing to die to old, destructive habits, if we are willing to let go of our comforts for just a little bit, God can do beautiful, amazing things.

Right now, as a society, we are being asked by all the medical and public health experts to practice social distancing, shelter-at-home, avoiding large gatherings and unnecessary human contact. Our old habits are at least temporarily dying: habits of going to work, coming to church, handshakes and hugs, and many other pieces of normal life that are shutting down at this time. But in their place, the God of Resurrection can bring about transformational change. God can do infinitely more than we can ask for or imagine. More than we can even imagine!

Right now, we are being challenged with the same question Jon and Tim Foreman ask in their song: “Do you love me enough to let me go?” Do we love one another enough to take the medical experts seriously? Do we love each other enough to sacrifice of our work time, school time, church time, and even financial security and the wellbeing of our nation’s economy? Are we willing to let go of things that we’re used to but don’t matter as much as saving our own lives and the lives of others? Are we willing to change in order to bless our neighbors and slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus?

Our answer in these days must be yes. We are willing to die to old ways and old habits. We are willing to change our daily lives and patterns of behavior in order to love and serve our neighbors. But we don’t do so hopelessly. We are willing to “die” to these things because we believe that death (in all its forms) is not the end. We believe in a God who can raise us from the dead. We believe in a Savior, Jesus, who said, “I am the resurrection and I am the life.” We believe that God’s Holy Spirit lives within us even when we are apart and even when life is hard. So like Lazarus and his family and friends, we tearfully but joyfully accept a certain kind of “death” today believing that God’s new resurrected life is coming.


The Nicene Creed (BCP, p. 358)

We believe in one God,     the Father, the Almighty,     maker of heaven and earth,     of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,     the only Son of God,     eternally begotten of the Father,     God from God, Light from Light,     true God from true God,     begotten, not made,     of one Being with the Father.     Through him all things were made.     For us and for our salvation         he came down from heaven:     by the power of the Holy Spirit         he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,         and was made man.     For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;         he suffered death and was buried.         On the third day he rose again             in accordance with the Scriptures;         he ascended into heaven             and is seated at the right hand of the Father.     He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,         and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,     who proceeds from the Father and the Son.     With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.     He has spoken through the Prophets.     We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.     We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.     We look for the resurrection of the dead,         and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People (adapted from Form V on BCP, p. 389)

In peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, "Lord, have mercy"

For the holy Church of God, that it may be filled with truth and love, and be found without fault at the day of your coming, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury; Michael, our Presiding Bishop; Scott, our own Bishop; Frank, our Bishop-Elect; Guillermo, our Priest; for all bishops and other ministers, and for all the holy people of God, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, especially for all the churches in Savannah, that our divisions may cease, and that all may be one as you and the Father and the Holy Spirit are one, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the mission of the Church, that in faithful witness it may preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For those who do not yet believe, and for those who have lost their faith, that they may receive the light of the Gospel, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For those in positions of public trust, especially for Donald, our president; Brian, our governor; Van, our mayor; Al, the Chair of our County Commission; and Ann, the Superintendent of our Public Schools; that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and freedom of every person, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For a blessing upon all human labor, and for the right use of the riches of creation, that the world may be freed from poverty, famine, and disaster, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger; that they may be relieved and protected, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For this congregation for those who are present, and for those who are absent, that we may be delivered from hardness of heart, and show forth your glory in all that we do, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For our enemies and those who wish us harm, and for all whom we have injured or offended, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For all who have commended themselves to our prayers; especially for those on our parish prayer list: Martha Avery, Zavier Bradley, Raleigh Bryant, Christine Brown, Mark Case, Genella Chamberlain, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Brittany Dawson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Earl Golden, Gary Gordon, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Ronald Jones, Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Carmelita Maynard, Viola Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Willie Stephens, Gisele Walton, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, Noel Wheeler, Dean Williams; that being freed from anxiety, they may live in joy, peace, and healthWe pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For all those celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other important occasions, especially: Jordyn Jones (3/29); and Rashad Taylor, Sr. (4/3) on their birthdays; and Fr. Charles and Mrs. Evalena Hoskins (4/1) on their wedding anniversary; and anyone we remember now… we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For all who have died † in the communion of your Church, and those whose faith is known to you alone, especially Mary Hunter and Carmen Zoraida Diaz, and those we remember now…, that, with all the saints, they may have rest in that place where there is no pain or grief, but life eternal, … we pray to you, O Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, blessed Matthew, and all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life to Christ our God.

To you, O Lord our God.

For yours is the majesty, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and forever. Amen.


  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bishop of Georgia has determined that our parishes should remain closed until at least Easter Day (April 12, 2020). The Vestry and I will continue to provide for virtual worship via Facebook Live every Sunday and during Holy Week. On Easter Day, I will livestream a Sunrise Easter Vigil with Holy Communion. Then, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, I invite church members to come in small groups of 10 or fewer to receive their Easter Communion on the front steps of the church.

  • Mrs. Mary Hunter passed away on Friday, March 20, 2020. She was buried at Hillcrest Abbey East on Friday, March 27. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we limited the graveside service for fewer than 10 mourners. A video of the burial serices is available on our parish's Facebook Page. Please keep her and her loved ones in your prayers. Sympathies may be addressed to Cecelia Hunter (1615A Hunting Creek Dr., Alexandria, VA 22314) and/or to Dr. Harry Hunter, Jr. (2562 John R Street, Detroit, MI 48201).

  • My grandmother, Carmen Zoraida Diaz, passed away early yesterday morning in her sleep at the nursing home facility she has lived in for about the last two years. At this point, her funeral plans are still very uncertain because the COVID-19 outbreak is much more severe in and around New York City than here or anywhere else. I don’t think I will be able to travel to New York safely right now without putting myself and others at risk of contracting the coronavirus. If my plans change, I will inform the congregation before I go. Pray for me and my family right now since this is a highly unusual situation for all of us.

  • Many people are already feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. If you pledged a donation in 2020, please continue making those contributions. If you have not pledged, please consider donating to St. Matthew’s now and in the future. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these: (1) Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR (2) Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at:; OR (3) Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

The Offertory (BCP, p. 376)

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

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Offertory: LEV #210 – Down By The Riverside

1 Goin’ to lay down my sword and shield, Down by the riverside, Goin’ to lay down my sword and shield, Down by the riverside, To study war no more. [Refrain:] I ain’t goin’t study war no more, Ain’t goin’t study war no more, Ain’t goin’t study war no more. 2 Goin’ to lay down my war shoes, Down by the riverside Goin’ to lay down my war shoes, Down by the riverside, To study war no more. 3 Goin’ to put on my long white robe, Down by the riverside Goin’ to put on my long white robe, Down by the riverside, To study war no more. 4 Goin’ to meet my loving savior, Down by the riverside Goin’ to meet my loving savior, Down by the riverside, To study war no more.

The Lord’s Prayer (BCP, p. 364)

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

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.

The Dismissal (BCP, p. 366)

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all evermore. (2 Corinthians 3:14).

Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (1993). The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

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