Monday, May 8, 2017

Live in Abundant Life

Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC, 4th Sunday of Easter, 7 May 2017
Year A RCL Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
What animal, other than humans, do our scriptures mention today?
Yes! You're correct! Sheep!

Notice: These dolls represent sheep. Each carries distinctive colors like cattle being branded.

Visiting Scotland, our family learned sheep farmers paint a particular color on their sheep so when they mix along the hillside with neighboring flocks, each shepherd easily sees his sheep as they munch what's planted. Sheep eat food which has sprouted from seeds watered by rain God sends to nourish the earth & give growth.

What products do we get from sheep? [Answers: wool, meat.] Although sheep provide wool from which we make blankets & clothes, I am more familiar with cotton, having enjoyed the snow-like beauty of cotton fields for years living in the south.

My husband & our son know lots about cotton: They scouted cotton fields in the summer for our son to earn money for school. A few years ago, the company our son works for sent him & other employees to learn about cotton growing in California. It is different, he says.

He tells about experts explaining details during days flying over fields, being in fields to see various stages of growth, how plants are tended, picked & baled. The last day the group sees baling in action.

Standing in a warehouse surrounded by bales of cotton, the guide asks for questions. One person points to a bale & asks:
to make a bale this size,
how many sheep does it take?

! ! ! ! !

Was this person not listening all those days? This reminds me of a question in a favorite book of mine, which asks: If a man
tries to fail & succeeds, which does he do?1 

Does he fail or does he succeed?

This lighthearted & challenging question, reminds me of the disciples in our Gospel today. Jesus talks to his friends about sheep & shepherds, a normal part of their culture.

The disciples just don't get it. . . . Why?

 ? ? ?

People familiar with sheep say sheep respond to their shepherd's voice. At a clergy conference, a colleague shared about his trip to Israel & the guide taking the group among flocks of sheep & having a shepherd call a sheep by name. It looks up. He calls another name & way in the distance that sheep looks up. Sheep from other flocks keep munching & pay that shepherd no attention. They respond to their own shepherd's voice.

So why do the disciples not get this? . . . .

Like the disciples, we can be slow to respond, so slow to understand what Jesus is telling us, slow to remember we are sheep in Jesus' flock, “branded” in the water of baptism.

Jesus clearly tells the disciples he is the good shepherd & the gate for the sheep. This dual image sounds confusing. In Jesus' culture it makes sense.
Bible commentator William Barclay says2In Jesus day there are 2 kinds of sheep-folds:
“communal sheep-folds” in villages to keep all the community's flocks at night. These are strongly guarded under lock & key.
When shepherds are away with their flocks in open places, they use hillside sheep-folds, which have a wall with an opening for the sheep to enter. At night the shepherd lies across the entrance to keep the sheep inside: the shepherd literally becomes the gate.3

Jesus assures us he comes so his sheep “may have life, & have it abundantly.” We hear the joy this abundant life brings to believers right after Jesus' resurrection. Our lesson from Acts says:
The baptized devote themselves to the apostles' teaching & fellowship, to the breaking of bread & the prayers. They spend much time together in the temple, break bread & eat with glad & generous hearts, praising God & having the good will of all the people.

This is abundant life. This is joy-filled living. This is good stewardship of the gifts God gives, like the gifts God blesses us with to use & share.

Our scriptures tell us of joy-filled life. Psalm 23 tells us about dwelling in the house of the Lord for ever. We tend to think of this as life after death. In the Hebrew perspective4, [and I paraphrase in parts] the Psalmist speaks of deep longing for life inside the Temple.

You may recall the song “If I were a rich man” Tevye, the farmer, sings in Fiddler on the Roof. He sings: “I'd sit all day in the synagogue & pray.” He sings about lingering in God's temple. This is the life dwelling in deep communion with God which we hear in Psalm 23. Trust in God is like living right in the Temple close to God, praising God continually.

What does this mean to you?
How do you see yourself as a person dwelling in God's house?
How do you see yourself as a sheep in the good, tender care of Jesus,
the Good Shepherd?

We gather in this temple regularly like the people we read about in Acts. We spend much time together in this temple. We break bread & eat with glad & generous hearts, praising God & having the good will of many. We carry this joy from here out to others. This is abundant life. This is joy-filled living.
What does this mean to you?
How do you see yourself as having abundant life here?
How do you see yourself as carrying this abundant life out our doors &
into your home, into your daily life?

We come to this holy temple & each of us is the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. Like the challenge of Jesus as shepherd & gate, we have 2 images to live into:

gathering together in God's holy temple &
being the temple
where the Holy Spirit dwells.

What can you do to remember we do more than gather in this temple?
How can you remember we are the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells?

God lingers within us. Each of us is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

You have abundant life to enjoy & share!

If a man tries to fail & succeeds, which does he do?5

More important:
If you – if we – try to succeed as generous, loving people who are where the Holy Spirit dwells:
how can we possibly fail!?



Bibliography
Barclay, William. The Gospel of John. Vol 2. Revised Ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975.
Cathcart, Thomas. Daniel Klein. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...:Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. New York: Books. The Penguin Group. 2007.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
He Knows Your Name”. http://www.sermons4kids.com/ Accessed: 3 May 2017.
Holy Bible. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Levenson, Jon D. Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible. Minneapolis: A Seabury Book. Winston Press. 1985.

1 Cathcart, Thomas. Daniel Klein. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...:Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. P. 49. Note: verb tense is paraphrased.
2 Barclay, William. The Gospel of John. Vol 2. Revised Ed. P. 58.
3 Ibid.
4 Levenson, Jon D. Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible. Pp. 176-177.

5 Ibid. Cathcart. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Have Seen the Lord!

Easter Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC, 16 April 2017
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colosssians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18

What do I hold in my arm? [Congregation responded: "Easter Bunny"]
 
     Look what it really is!
A bear in bunny clothing!  
                                    
We all have times when we don't see things quite as they are. Maybe this costumed bear can help us relate to Mary in our Gospel.


Mary declares:
           I have seen the Lord!

Alleluia!

What a contrast we hear between the 1st part of our Gospel, when she feels distraught & bewildered. Notice how she talks to Jesus without recognizing him there at the empty tomb.

Ever do this? Sometimes a person speaks in a place we don't usually see them or after moving away & we're just not sure who they are. Suddenly we recognize them & have a joy-filled reunion.

Once she recognizes Jesus, Mary has a joy-filled reunion & shares the Good News with the disciples. This Good News spreads through Peter's testimony we hear today in Acts.

What a difference we see in Peter who such a short time ago got confused about Jesus washing his feet & then denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus redeems our mistakes.

We have Good News to share:
God loves you. No exceptions!
May we have grace to share this Good News with our brothers & sisters in the human family.

What blessings we have knowing Jesus, knowing forgiveness of our sins & having new life in God's family. Through Baptism we receive forgiveness & are born into Holy Community with each other & God.

Notice what Jesus says in our Gospel. He tells Mary “go to my brothers” & tell them the Good News. The disciples become more than followers: they are brothers. You & I are Jesus' family & we have Good News to share.

Remember: in our Baptismal Vows we promise to seek & serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. We promise to do this with God's help. As our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says in his 2017 YouTube Easter message:

“Love wins.”

With God's help, we can share the Good News: We live in God's Love. Remember love is the new commandment Jesus gives us:
Love one another as I have loved you.1
Do not be afraid to share it.

God gives us each other as brothers & sisters to work in community, serving where we are as the Body of Christ. We are the hands & feet of Jesus to help our brothers & sisters who do not know God to learn how much God loves them, to know they do not have to struggle alone with life's hard times, to know the joy of forgiveness of sins, the promised resurrection of the body & life everlasting. God's Love makes us strong & able to share, to meet life's challenges, to make a positive difference in the world.

Share the Good News: I have seen the Lord!

Think how you have seen Jesus. . . . .We see Jesus in many ways. Here's one way: Look around. Jesus is sitting “here in plain view”, as lyrics say in John Fischer's song “Jesus My Lord,” which also says:
. . . Have you ever stood in the family with the Lord there in your midst
                   Seen the face of Christ on each other?
Then I say . . . You've seen Jesus My Lord.

You have seen Jesus. I have seen Jesus.

I see Jesus in the faces of you sitting here right now.

What grace & beauty I see!




Bibliography
Bacon, Ed. 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style. Hatchette Book Group. 2012.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. 2nd Ed. Nueva York: Sociedad Biblica Americana. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jesus My Lord.” Words & Music: John Fischer. http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/gospel-songs-chords/have_you_seen_jesus_my_lord.htm. Accessed: 15 April 2017.
Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suppering, and the Crisis of Faith. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2011.
Mitchell, Leonel L. Lent Holy Week and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide. Lanham, MD: A Cowley Publications Book. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2007.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.

1 Which we remember from our Maundy Thursday Liturgy”. BCP P. 275.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A New Heart & A New Spirit

Easter Vigil Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC, 15 April 2017
Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Exodus 14:10-31, 15:20-21; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Matthew 28:1-10
On this night of nights, notice what Jesus says:
Do not be afraid...”
Jesus says this to the women who come to the tomb early in the morning. He says this to you & me. His words have been heard by millions of Christians on other Easters, including the 44 Christians killed by suicide bombers in Egypt during Palm Sunday worship this week [April 9].1 May they rest in peace.

These Christian brothers & sister of ours know the depths of Jesus' love more deeply than we can imagine. Notice what Paul tells the Romans & us: Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
Paul says all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death & have newness of life, no longer enslaved to sin. His words complement what we hear from Ezekiel:
the Lord God says,
I will...sprinkle clean water on you,
& you shall be clean.
Tonight we have renewed our Baptismal vows & been sprinkled with water. Even though we are clean, we are human & will make mistakes. When we do, remember what we hear in Genesis when God creates: God sees everything he has made is good – very good. We know Jesus comes to make us & everything good again – very good.
Remember what we hear God assure us in our scripture from Ezekiel:
“A new heart I will give you...
a new spirit I will put within you...
I will remove from your body the heart of stone
& give you a heart of flesh.”

As Christians, we know this is possible because the loving heart of flesh which beats within Jesus stops beating on the hard wood of the cross. Jesus' human heart stops beating on Good Friday – the day that looks awful, the day that declares: God DOES love us & God redeems us through Jesus' death. Death is not the final word.

We celebrate this truth: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Jesus' Resurrection gives us confidence to live in new ways.
Jesus calls us into a new relationship with God & each other, to live in holy community. Notice tonight's Gospel from Matthew repeats details to emphasize the work we have to do to share the Good News of Jesus' Resurrection:
  • The angel says to the women: "Do not be afraid... Jesus...has been raised...go quickly & tell his disciples."
  • They leave with awe & great joy & run to tell the disciples.
  • They run into Jesus, who also says, "Do not be afraid”.
  • Jesus sends them to go speak to “my brothers”. Now the disciples are more than followers: they are brothers.
You & I are Jesus' family. We have Good News to share. Do not be afraid to share it.
In our Baptismal Vows we have just promised to proclaim by word & example the Good News of God in Christ. This Good News includes what we read in Romans: We are no longer enslaved to sin. We are no longer trapped in sin. We promise to proclaim this with God’s help.
Proclaim is an interesting word. It can mean [the dictionary2 says]: “to declare publicly, insistently, proudly in speech or writing, to praise or glorify openly”.  My phone dictionary app also suggests: “extol: proclaim the rescue worker's efforts”3.
Proclaim the rescue worker's efforts:
Jesus is our rescuer.
This concept of the rescuer's efforts reminds me of the Chilean mining disaster in 2010. You may recall the mine's collapse kept 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet down in the bowels of the earth for 69 days – Aug. 5-Oct. 13.4
Humans have been trapped in sin a lot longer. You & I have Good News to proclaim to release trapped people. As we do this work, I encourage you to continue in the apostles’ teaching & fellowship, in the breaking of bread & in the prayers – all with God’s help.
We do this work with God.
We do this work in community.
God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us in this rescue work so that our love may overflow more & more
with knowledge & full insight
to help us determine what is best.




Bibliography
Bacon, Ed. 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style. Hatchette Book Group. 2012.
Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. 2da Ed. Nueva York: Sociedad BĂ­blica Americana. 1983.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Merriam-Webster. Smartphone Dictionary app. Merriam-Webster Inc. 2012. Accessed: 14 April 2014.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
Suicide bombers kill 44 at Palm Sunday services in Egypt”. Associated Press article. Goldsboro News-Argus. 10 April 2017. P.7A.
Timeline: Trapped Chilean miners. Accessed: 14 April 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/13/chile.miners.timeline/index.html

1 “Suicide bombers kill 44 at Palm Sunday services in Egypt”. Associated Press article. Goldsboro News-Argus. 10 April 2017. P.7A.
3 Merriam-Webster. Smartphone Dictionary app. Merriam-Webster Inc. 2012. Accessed: 14 April 2014.

4 Timeline: Trapped Chilean miners. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/13/chile.miners.timeline/index.html. Accessed: 14 April 2014.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When Life Looks Bleak. . .

Good Friday Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC. 14 April 2017
All Years RCL Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22:1-11; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42

Despite how bleak life looks on this dark day, notice Jesus is in charge.
When the mob arrives in the garden, Jesus comes forward & identifies himself. Although his hands are literally tied, it is poor Pilate whose hands are tied. Pilate tries 3 times to let Jesus go, telling the mob, “I find no case against him.”

Notice how much action comes in threes today as we experience this 2nd portion of the 3-part drama of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday & the Vigil, which lead us to Easter:
  • We know Peter says: I'm not his disciple. I'm not. I am not.
  • The crowd cries 3 times for Jesus' death at the 3rd trial Jesus endures. First is an informal trial by Annas, then a trial with Caiaphas the high priest, finally Pilate.
  • Pilate has the inscription on Jesus’ cross written in Hebrew, Latin & Greek.
  • And we have a trio of Marys near the cross: his mother, his aunt, & his friend.
Hanging on the cross, Jesus gives us a 3-fold lesson in being human: he takes care of his family, he thirsts, he completes his work.
1st the Son fulfills his responsibility. He arranges for someone to take care of his mama. He does this hanging on the cross.
Family duties often call us when we feel pulled in all directions. Look to Jesus on the cross.
2nd Jesus says, “I am thirsty.” He expresses his human need which we experience. Notice: Jesus relies on fellow humans to help.
We thirst, feel worn out. Rest. Ask for help. Jesus’ understands.
Notice: His disciples feel bewildered, confused as he is arrested & snatched away. Think of a time you felt this way.

Country music singer/songwriter Sam Baker knows about relying on fellow humans to help after his near-death experience in a terrorist bombing of the train he was on traveling in Peru, as I learned listening to Terry Gross' interview with him on NPR's Fresh Air1.

Sam, who grew up going to church & drifted away, has renewed perspective, faith, & sense of purpose he expresses in songs. In his song, “Steel”, about the explosion, he sings: “No one is just an observer / The same bell tolls for the served & the server / For the strong & the weak / The weary & the brave...”2
Sam teaches us about our common humanity, about mercy & grace & faith in humanity, as he says in his NPR interview. One thing which has changed for him is “the sense that all suffering is universal...we all (suffer)”3 & this has taught him empathy & faith in us humans.

In the 3rd lesson we hear from Jesus, he declares: “It is finished.” His job is done. Humanity’s brokenness can start to heal. The barrier we caused between us & God is torn down.

This is the Good News – powerful news – we have to share . This is the work we have to do to help heal others whether in big or in small ways. . . . . Remember what Romans 10:15 says: “Beautiful are the feet...that bring Good News.”

We washed our feet Maundy Thursday – either physically or spiritually. They are ready for the journey to take Good News to those who need it wherever we live, wherever we travel.

We do not despair because Jesus hangs on the cross today.
As Easter people, we know what happens next!


Bibliography
Bacon, Ed. 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style. Hatchette Book Group. 2012.
Baker, Sam. BlueLimeStone Publishing. Sambakermusic.com. Produced by Walt Wilkins & Tim Lorsch Bull Creek Productions. 2004.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suppering, and the Crisis of Faith. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2011.
Michno, Dennis G. A Priest’s Handbook: The Ceremonies of the Church. 3rd Edition. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing. 1998.
Mitchell, Leonel L. Lent Holy Week and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide. Lanham, MD: A Cowley Publications Book. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2007.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977
Sam Baker: Finding Grace In The Wake Of Destruction. http://www.npr.org/2014/05/06/310089151/sam-baker-finding-grace-in-the-wake-of-destruction. 6 May 2014.

1 Sam Baker: Finding Grace In The Wake Of Destruction. NPR “Fresh Air” Interview with Terry Gross. http://www.npr.org/2014/05/06/310089151/sam-baker-finding-grace-in-the-wake-of-destruction. 6 May 2014.
2 Baker, Sam. BlueLimeStone Publishing. Sambakermusic.com. Produced by Walt Wilkins & Tim Lorsch Bull Creek Productions. 2004.

3 Ibid. Sam Baker... NPR “Fresh Air”.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Where is Our Focus Tonight?

Maundy Thursday Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC, 14 April 2017
Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Psalm 116:1, 10-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Why do we wash our feet tonight before we share Bread & Wine & then
strip the Altar & have no dismissal?

We have no dismissal tonight because we start our Liturgy, which we continue tomorrow & conclude at our Easter Vigil – the great celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.
After we share our Holy Meal, something with which we are familiar, we will take the reserved Sacrament from here to the Altar of Repose in the Parish Hall for our Communion here tomorrow & strip the Altar to remind us of the stripping away of Jesus from his friends, from his mother/his mama, the stripping away of all Jesus has: his clothes, his life.

Notice: Before his arrest & guards strip away his clothes, Jesus himself removes his outer garment, ties a towel around himself & stoops in humble service, washing the disciples' feet.
Jesus gives us the new commandment, which we read in Corinthians, giving new meaning to sharing bread & wine. This new mandate, in Latin mandatum, gives Maundy Thursday its name.
Jesus shows us what it looks like
to love one another.
It looks different.
Tonight our worship reflects the differences on this night in Jesus' life which our scriptures describe. Our scriptures point us to God's calling us to live & work in community. God creates us in God's image of Holy Community. Jesus teaches us how to live & work as the Body of Christ – to BE a holy community.

Tonight we hear Jesus command us to love each other as Jesus loves us. This love is strong enough to bend down & wash the feet of others. Jesus takes on a menial task to show us clearly how strong God’s Love is for us. Jesus takes on a menial task to show us how to serve each other, to give us courage to serve the least among us, courage to let ourselves be served.
As Jesus’ disciples, we are Jesus' Body, his hands & feet. Jesus gives us work to do: to love & serve as Jesus does, to build relationships right here. I am thankful how you love & work together in community, following Jesus' new commandment.

This new commandment looks different. It looks like humble service: difficult, menial. In this humble service Jesus demonstrates what we read in Acts 20:35:
Jesus says “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Jesus gives humble service. The disciples receive humble service to learn humility & see God's grace in action. NOTICE: Jesus says, It is more blessed to give than to receive. He does not say it is not blessed to receive. It is more blessed to give. It is also blessed to receive. It can be difficult to receive humble service. We see how difficult this is for Peter.
Like Peter, we may love Jesus & be confident we will always be loyal when suddenly, Jesus challenges our perspective. . . . What a blessing it is to have Peter to remind us, we don't always get it right, yet Jesus loves us through our protests & confusion.
It may be difficult for us to receive the gift of grace through foot washing. I find it difficult. I always have. Remember: It is blessed to receive. Through this gift we give & receive grace.

Jesus stoops in humble service for us to learn how to serve & how to love all of God's people, including those of us whose lives stink, whose feet stink.

Tonight we stoop to wash feet to remember what Jesus does the night before he washes away our sins with his blood.
Jesus takes time this night to wash his disciples feet, to share familiar food in a new way, to give us a new commandment, to give us the peace the world cannot give.

Jesus does all this in community.
He is not alone.
May we have the grace to stoop & bend,
to wash & be washed.


Bibliography
Bacon, Ed. 8 Habits of Love: Open Your Heart, Open Your Mind. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style. Hatchette Book Group. 2012.
Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers. 1988.
Holy Bible with the Apocrypha. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press. 1989.
Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suppering, and the Crisis of Faith. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2011.
Michno, Dennis G. A Priest’s Handbook: The Ceremonies of the Church. 3rd Edition. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing. 1998.
Mitchell, Leonel L. Lent Holy Week and the Great Fifty Days: A Ceremonial Guide. Lanham, MD: A Cowley Publications Book. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2007.

New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.