Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

Vigil Saturday: The Long Wait

“Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Then they and many other women had come with him to Jerusalem. . ..Joseph [of Arimathea] bought a long sheet of linen cloth, and taking Jesus’ body down from the cross, he wrapped it in the cloth and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid” (Mark 15:40-41, 46-47).

At sunset the Sabbath began; the first Vigil Saturday. What did they do that Sabbath? How did the mother of God, who had just watched her son die, and these other women who had followed him right up to the cross spend that Saturday? Did they go to synagogue? Did they say the prayers? Did they take part in the joy of the Exodus? Would they go to the Temple? Would they worship side-by-side with the people who had condemned and cheered her Son and their Savior to death? Would they too pray Jesus’ prayer, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do?” Or was their grief and anger too great? Did they just stay inside, holding on to each other, comforting each other as best they could? They saw where Joseph buried Jesus. They knew he did not have the time to properly anoint and wrap the body of their Beloved. They knew what they would do the first thing Sunday morning. But what did they do that long, long Saturday?

I know the Resurrection happened. I know tomorrow I will celebrate the Resurrection with my brothers and sisters in Christ. And this day is a long day for me. The waiting. Living an entire day between the last breath of death and the first breath of resurrection. It is hard. It is long. My first reminder is during morning prayers when I see there is no Gospel reading. There will be no Gospel reading tonight when I pray Compline. This is the only day of the year, we do not read the Gospel. The Gospel is in the grave, and we feel that loss, that void. Today the Church lives between life and death. And we long for, anticipate, and hope for Sunday morning. We live in anticipation and expectation of waking up Sunday morning to the creedal cry of the Church: “HE IS RISEN!” “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” I long for tomorrow when the silence of death will be broken. When I will walk into the sanctuary and see the cross draped in the victorious white of the Resurrection. We will sing ALLELUIA! Our first Alleluia since the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  We will hear the Gospel. We will renew our baptismal vows. We will take communion. We will pass the peace. We will worship our risen Lord and Savior. But today is one of silence and waiting–vigil.

I will always wonder what the women who watched Joseph place Jesus’ body in the tomb did on that first Saturday. They didn’t have our hope. They thought Jesus was dead, and the kingdom he proclaimed was destroyed with him. What did they do on that day between death and life?

Originally posted April 7, 2007.

Egypt: What the love Jesus talked about looks like on the ground

Like many of you who read this blog, I have been watching what’s been happening in Egypt avidly. After almost three weeks Mubarak has stepped down after very peaceful protests. The only violence that happened started with the government, not the people. And yesterday when Mubarak said he wasn’t going anywhere, the people did not let their anger lead them to violence, their protesting remained peaceful. The thing that has touched me the most, moved me to tears, is the way that Coptic Christians and Muslims are taking care of each other, and showing the entire world what it looks like to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Or as the Quaran says: “…Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is stranger, the companion by your side…” (4:36, emphasis mine).

Here is how Egyptian Muslims and Christians loved their neighbors:

From Ahram Online

On New Year’s Eve a Coptic Church was bombed in Alexandria, Egypt, killing 21 people. The Copts did not stand alone in their outrage. Their Muslim neighbors joined in and protested with them. On Ahram Online two Muslims made these powerful statements:

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

The Cross within the Crescent became the symbol for Egyptians who did not want fundamentalists on either side to define their religions. Muslims promised their Christian brothers and sisters they would attend the Coptic Christmas Eve service (January 8 on the Coptic calendar) and stand as human shields to protect their Christian neighbors. They were as good as their word. Muslims all over Egypt attended mass at Christian churches across the country to show their solidarity, not only with their neighbors, but for peace and safety from terrorist acts. (Thank you to chantblog for bringing this article and picture to my attention.)

Two weeks later Trahrir Square was filled with people demanding democracy: Muslims and Christians gathered against the totalitarian government demanding Mubarak step down, and a democratic government that listened to the people–all of the people–be organized. While his country’s unemployment rate was 30% and the cost of food doubled, Mubarak was sitting on $70-80 billion dollars. Yes BILLIONS, not millions. I can understand why the Egyptians said enough is enough (not to mention being imprisoned and tortured for not pulling the tyrannical line). And we in US we complicit in the dictatorship: we set up Mubarak and supported his regime.We give 1.5 billion dollars a year to Egypt for their military. We were also complicit in the tyranny when our government originally sided with the Mubarak regime to keep “stability” in the region. But that military stayed neutral throughout the protests. They did not attack the protestors nor did they try to make them leave. They stayed on the circumference and only acted if they needed to break something up. If Mubarak commanded them to disperse the protestors, they did not obey. The government shut down the internet in the country because people were using Twitter and Facebook to connect and organize. The people still found ways to organize and gather to protest tyranny.

Last week things did become violent as goon squads were sent out to attack the people. The general belief is that Mubarak and his officials sent the goon squads out to violently disperse the protesters. But the protesters held their ground and fought back. They were not leaving the square. Again the military stayed neutral. They broke apart fights and shot in tear gas when groups started fighting, but they did not take sides.

Friday, February 4, came: the Muslims holy day when this beautiful picture was posted on Yfrog. Nevine Zaki, who was in Tahrir Square, snapped this photo of Christians ringing around their Muslim brothers and sisters, so they could pray safely.

Nevine Zaki/Yfrog

As the Muslims protected them during Christmas Eve mass, now the Christians protected Muslims as they prayed on their weekly holy day.

But that’s not the end of it. On Sunday, February 6, Egyptian Christians held a mass in Tahrir Square and Muslims joined in. According to UPI.com:

Egyptian Christians held a mass of unity in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Sunday to show solidarity with the country’s thousands of anti-government protesters.

Muslim prayers also resounded in the square “in what seemed a show of interfaith harmony” five weeks after a suicide bomber killed at least 21 people at the end of a New Year’s Eve mass in Alexandria, The New York Times reported.

“We are all one,” people began chanting in Tahrir Square after the outdoor Coptic Christian mass was completed.

*                    *                     *                       *                        *                    *

Sunday’s mass was “for all Egyptians, Muslim and Christian, and I am proud to be Egyptian today because we are showing the world how important our country is for all the people who live here,” a 33-year-old Christian identified as Farid told the Egyptian news Web site Bikya Mass after the liturgy was completed.

The CopticNews.org, a Canadian site, posted this video from Sunday’s Mass at Tahrir Square, 2/6/11. (I can’t get the video to embed.)

Anticipation built this week as it appeared Mubarak was going to step aside. Then Mubarak spoke Thursday. It was one of the most patriarchal, clueless speeches, I think I’d ever heard. Mubarak made himself out as the old-style patriarch who ruled the entire family with an iron fist. His general message was: “I am your father, and you are my children. Obey me or suffer.” Mubarak was so out-of-touch with the rest of Egypt that he thought all he had to do was play the old-time paterfamilias/ruler, and the people would just go home. Instead they erupted in angry shouts of “Leave! Leave! Leave!” They marched on the palace and the state’s TV station. More people came. The people weren’t going anywhere until Mubarak was gone. And once again the people didn’t get violent. The protesters stayed peaceful. Personally I think Mubarak was trying to goad them to violence, so he could unleash the military on them. The people did not take the bait. Today Mubarak stepped down, and those thousands of people who stood their ground peacefully and demanded a democratic government are celebrating in Tahrir Square and across Egypt.

Myths have been busted in Egpyt. The myth that Arabs/Muslims always resort to violence to change government is gone. The myth that there has never been a peaceful protest or change of government in the Middle East is gone. The myth that Muslims and Christians are enemies, and that Muslims always terrorize and murder Christians in Muslim nations BUSTED. And this myth was busted on the global stage. In Egypt we saw Muslims protecting Christians as they worshiped. In Egypt we saw Christians protecting Muslims as they worshiped. In Egypt we saw Christians and Muslims worshiping side by side, and standing in unity and solidarity to make their country a better place.

This is what it looks like to “do good to the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is stranger.” This is what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like in real life. This is what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like in oppressive regimes where doing the right thing is, not only hard, but deadly. This is what Jesus was talking about when he told the parable of The Good Samaritan to illustrate “who is my neighbor?” It’s easy to give empty lip-service to loving our neighbors, but this is what it looks like when the rubber hits the road. This is what it looks like when it’s not easy, but you do it anyway.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Do good to the neighbor who is near of kin and the neighbor who is stranger.”

Who supported Jesus out of their own means?

Soon afterwards [Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources (Luke 8:1-3, NRSV).

One of the arguments that complementarians make for women staying at home is that it is God’s plan for men to work and financially support the family. As long as I’ve been on the other side of the argument, pointing out that women have always worked and supported their families monetarily, it was only last week when it hit me what these verses were saying. I’ve used these verses to show that women were disciples and followed Jesus in his travels just as the 12 did. But last week it hit me between the eyes: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna plus other women “provided for them out of their resources.” The Greek word translated as resources can mean property, possessions, resources, or means. These women financially supported Jesus and his ministry from their own finances.

I’m sure some would say that what they gave Jesus was really the money their husbands made. This could be true for Joanna, but she is the only one with a husband in this passage. Mary Magdalene had no husband, and Susanna is not paired with a husband in these verses. This means their money was theirs. We don’t know how they had these resources. Maybe they were business women like Lydia and Priscilla. Maybe they were widows. But neither woman, nor her resources, is tied to a husband.

It’s a little thing. A little thing that can be easily overlooked. But I think that we should pay attention to this little thing. Women who weren’t tied to a husband, and a married woman who isn’t tied to her home, are following Jesus all over the countryside and supporting him. These little things start adding up to show that roles women played in the Bible are much broader than mother and wife. It also shows the freedom Jesus allowed women to have in his own ministry. He didn’t tell these women to go back home and take care of their husbands and children (and he didn’t tell them to go home, get married, and start having kids). He welcomed them and accepted their support.

These three verses in Luke give us a glimpse of the broader role of women in Jesus’ ministry beyond the home.

Originally posted at The Scroll, April 22, 2010.

Ash Wednesday Liturgies at Chicago Grace Episcopal Church

Chicago Grace Episcopal Church will be having two Ash Wednesday services including imposition of ashes on Wednesday, February 17. The first service is at 12:15–1:15 p.m. The second service is 6:00–7:00 p.m. with a soup and bread supper following the liturgy. All are welcome to come. I will be attending the service in the evening. Our church is on Printer’s Row, 637 S. Dearborn, right next door to Kasey’s Tavern, and our sanctuary is on the second floor.

Tonight we say good-bye to the alleluias. This hymn from The Saint Helena Breviary helps us to tuck them away until Easter.

Alleluia, song of gladness,

hymn of endless joy and praise.

Alleluia is the worship

that celestial voices raise

and, delighting in God’s glory,

sing in heaven’s courts always.

Alleluia, blessed Salem,

home of all our hopes on high.

Alleluia, sing the angels;

Alleluia, saints reply;

but we, for a time on this earth,

chant a simpler melody.

Alleluias we now forfeit

in this holy time of Lent.

Alleluias we relinquish

as we for our sins repent,

trusting always in God’s mercy

and in Love omnipotent.

Blessed Trinity of Glory,

hear your people as we pray.

Grant that we may know the Easter

of the Truth, the Life, the Way,

chanting endless alleluias

in the realms of endless day. Amen.

A huge thank you to Bosco at Liturgy for having it all typed out, so I wouldn’t have to do it. Bosco also posted a Shrove Tuesday mediation.

Funeral Service for Wayne Mass

I’ve noticed that people have come to my site through the search “Wayne Maas Chicago.” I’m assuming you are looking for information on his funeral. For every one else, Wayne was the Minister of Music at Grace Episcopal Church in Chicago. Wayne died of a heart attack earlier this week. He was young and healthy, and this has been a shock to both his family and his church. Wayne was a wonderful man who brought beautiful and thoughtful music to our services. He will be missed. Wayne’s funeral mass will be:

Saturday, November 7
Grace Episcopal Church – Oak Park
924 Lake Street

10 AM Visitation
11 AM Burial Service
Light reception following

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: accept our prayers on behalf of your servant Wayne, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 493)

Witches, Skeltons, and Witch Doctors, Oh My!

Our building had it’s Halloween party this last Saturday. Here are some of the pics:

Tracy and I

It’s the Voodoo Witch Doctor and his Mrs. Witch.

President of Social Committee, Jeanine, Tracy, and me

For some odd reason we attracted a skeleton.

Ann and Jeanine

Then the skeleton ran into a street walker.


Condo Board President Barb

The Hippie is here! Now we can get the party started!

Because it’s not Halloween without The Great Pumpkin.

My familiar, Victoria aka The Diva

What is a witch without her Familiar?

Some (wickedly) enchanted evening, you may see a stranger

Oh my! Who is that sexy Voodoo Witch Man? I might just follow him home… (Actually he followed me because he’s a Gentleman Voodoo Witch Man.)

Halloweens Past: Last year we were Mr. Evil Clown, and Mrs. Sexy Harlequin. And I don’t seem to have pictures on the site of the year we went as Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebulb. I might have to remedy that:

Halloween 2006

New Benedictine Community

Sophia and I have been talking about starting a long distance Benedictine community for those of us who would like to follow the Rule of Benedict, but not close enough to a community (or a community we would fit in). She summed it up very well in her post, so I’m copying it here:

Calling all lovers–or potential lovers–of Benedict’s Rule!

After a lengthy and fruitless search for a lay Benedictine community to join, or a monastic house with which to affiliate as an oblate, I was finally inspired to consider seeking out a small group with which to explore the creation of a new, emergent style, community.

I am envisioning something long distance, coed, and very flexible about individual interpretations of Christian faith, Benedictine spirituality, and the OSB promises of stability, obedience, and conversion of life. Some sort of commitment to praying the daily office, in the version most appropriate for each individual, and to study of Benedictine spirituality and its application in our daily lives would likely be a part of our common practice.

We would support each other in mutual prayer and through an e-group for spiritual sharing and prayer requests. Perhaps we would eventually have a yearly in person gathering (with local gatherings more frequently, if we are lucky enough to get folks close enough to do that).

If anyone is interested in exploring this possibility please shout out in comments or email me at the address in the sidebar.

If you’re interesed let one of us know. Leave a comment on one of our blogs or email us. My email is shawna (at) shawnaatteberry (dot) com.

Holy Week Happenings at Chicago Grace Episcopal Church

If you’re in the South Loop area and need a place to celebrate the events of Holy Week, consider yourself invited to Grace Episcopal Church at 637 S. Dearborn St (Bus lines 22 and 62 Polk/Dearborn, Red Line Harrison/Polk exit, LaSalle Blue Line, LaSalle Metra Station).

Wednesday, April 8

Sandwich, Scriptures, and Sacrament, 12:15 p.m. Every week we bring a lunch and discuss a Scripture passage from the liturgy on Sunday. We will be discussing one of the Easter passages this week.

Our church helps out The Night Ministry. The Night Ministry ministers to the homeless at Humboldt Park through medical care, food and other necessities. At 5:00 p.m. will be making sandwiches and bag lunches for Thursday night. At 6:00 p.m. there is a centering prayer practice.

Thursday, April 9

Our Maundy Thursday service will be held at Humboldt Park (California and Division). If you would like to help hand out the lunches, we will be meeting at the church at 5:45 p.m. We will load up the van then head out. After we feed everyone, we will begin the liturgy for Maundy Thursday with whomever would like to join us. The liturgy will begin at 7:30 p.m. Our minister of music, Wayne Maas, will be leading the service. After we return to the church, we will strip the sanctuary for the observance of Good Friday.

Friday, April 10

There will be two liturgies on Good Friday: 12:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Our seminary intern, Elizabeth Molitors, will be preaching at both services and leading us through a modern version of the Stations of the Cross. A special offering will be taken up for The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Saturday, April 11

We will be going to St. James Cathedral (Red Line Grand exit) at Wabash and Huron to observe the Great Vigil, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 12

There will be two Feasts of the Resurrection, 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Our parish priest, Rev. Ted Curtis will be presiding.  After the 10:00 a.m. service, we will be enjoying an Eastern luncheon. There will be a special offering taken up for the Night Ministry on Easter and the following Sunday.

Woman of the Week: Mapule Ramashala and living forgiveness

Yes, this week’s Woman of the Week is posted early. I read this story, and I could not wait until Thursday to post it. From The Christian Century (December 2, 2008):

Mapule Ramashala, a black South African, was verbally harassed when she moved into a white suburb. Some youths tried to burn down her house. But after police arrested 12 youths for the crime Ramashala refused to press charges. Instead she met with the parents of the youths, telling them that she assumed they would organize the community to help her rebuild her house. She arranged for the youths who were charged with arson to perform community service. And she met with them periodically to see what was happening in their lives and to check on their progress in school. The community rallied around the task of restoring Ramashala’s house and came to accept her into the community (Religion and Theology, volume 15).

This is what it looks like to be Christ in the world. Mapule Ramashala, I hope to one day meet you.

Other Women of the Week:

Sarah: She was not dispensableHilda of Whitby: The woman who stood with bishops

Halloween and Confirmation Pictures

I know the two don’t quite go together, but the party was Saturday and Confirmation yesterday, so this was my weekend.

Mr Evil Clown and Mrs. Sexy Harlequin

The Hubby and I at church.

My priest, Ted Curtis, Tracy, Me, and Bishop Scantlebury