Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The eighth day of Christmas: New Year's Day

Hope and Deacon James are there when I arrive. It’s pretty rare to be in church on New Year’s Day. A friendly neighborhood older man, another I’ve always wanted to see this church and its always been closed people is checkiing out the church, telling us how beautful it is. 
There’s another older man checking things out. He’s wearing a Union cavalry hat from the Civil War. He’s seen us in streaming video on the Occupy Wall Street website.( ) And wants to see us for real. He decides to join us. 
We open with Hark the Herald Angels Sing, to remember it’s still Christmas. Do Psalm 148 peoples’ mike style.   With all its praise and emphasis on all creation, it’s perfect for New Years’ Day. (I especially like the sea monsters 148: 7).
John reads for us Isaiah 61:10 - 62:3.  And I read Luke 2: 22-40. Talk about it as Jesus’ bris, circumcision, 8 days after his birth.  Of the old faithful and righteous Simeon who had waited his life for this day and the prophet Anna whose words I wish were recorded.  Isaiah’s universalism brought forward into Luke.  And the pain that would come to Mary. And we noticed that the words child's father and mother were amazed, as if the earlier story about shepehrds and angels didn’t exist. 
When it cam time for communion, I asked how people felt about Auld Lang Syne. Deacon James never liked it because he never could understand it even though it was part of his watch night tradition at the African-Americn church in which he grew up. It always depressed John because he loved not being in school and when he heard it, it was almost time for school to begin again. 
Why do I bring it up? I lift cloth from the table, show the words carved in wood, In remembrance of me. Robert Burns was asking a question, Should old acquaintance be forgot? And his answer clearly, NO. Jesus calls us to this symbolic meal to remember. Hope recalls how those who participated in the Enlace de gracia service duirng Regi's years remember each other no matter where they are, that their circle still remains.  And as New Year’s, and January, look both backwards and to the future, on this day, we remember...
We finish with the Taize version of the Nunc Dimittis, Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace. (Let your servant go, go in peace, O Lord. In peace according to your word.)
And my benediction is Galatians 4:4-7, about the fullness of time and that So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. And the service is over. 
I help Tia get the side lights in the balcony on for the coming Sanctuary service. And we both puzzle as to why the pipes are cold again and the boiler seems to be off. 
And then, after wishing her a Happy New Year, I head home. And stop at Saigon Grill where I will join Tracy and Victor and Hope and the New Years’ Day picket. It’s a good way to start the year.
Saigon Grill New Year's Day Picket

happy new year! feliz nuevo ano! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

For predictions for West-Park an dthe religious community for 2012, go to

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