Friday, January 11, 2019

The Party is NOT Over

Today is the final Sunday of the Christmas season: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While the rest of the world may see Christmas as a distant memory, for Christians – The party is not over!

Be attentive for the signs of Christmas. Look around. The trees are still up and lit. The poinsettia’s are still lovely and abundant. The vestments are gold and the banners are white.

I continue to be inspired by the beauty of our church. This is a good time to thank those who decorated as well as the generation that built the church that we are blessed to have inherited.


Our gospel reading takes us to a later time in Jesus’s life. We no longer hear of the infant born in a stable or the boy discussing scripture in the temple. Jesus is baptized by John and will soon begin his ministry.

What about the music?

While my primary source has chosen to move away from Christmas music, I have decided to begin and end today’s liturgy with Christmas. We will also sing the Christmas Gloria (with the refrain from Angels We Have Heard on High) our seasonal psalm, and the Christmastime Alleluia (repeated after the proclamation of the gospel). It will also be the last time our intercessory prayers will be preceded by the chime.

Thank you to John LoPrieto for finding, restoring and bringing the chime to the choir loft. The next time we use it (lent?) I hope to find a few volunteers willing to play it. (You just need to follow a script and use a hammer:)

The hymns at gathering and offertory are more traditional of nature and speak of Jesus’s baptism and his future ministry. Our communion song is a contemporary composition by Matt Maher titled “Love has Come” (#484). Take a quick look at the text at some point.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,


It's not the perfect family - It's the Holy Family

Hold Onto Love

 Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. 

 The deadline for what you are reading, however, was December 19th. 

Five shopping days until Christmas and I need an article about the Holy Family? There are unwrapped gifts in the trunk of my car. There is Advent and Christmas music all over my desk.       Help me, Lord!

An obscure thought comes to mind.  I try to get past it but it is blocking everything else out. I vaguely remember when it first came.  It was a time of personal and communal sadness and confusion.  Like many who serve, identify with and love the church I was reeling from daily news reports that were going from bad to worse to unfathomable.

The thought came as I was practicing a song: “Hold on to Love” (#486)

There is a place for the sadness, hold onto love.

There is a season of gladness, hold onto love

When pain and confusion seem endless, hold on to love.

We cultivate healing through kindness, hold onto love

This thought became the ray of hope that has carried me through the darkness of autumn through to this Christmas Season of light and joy.

It’s not the perfect Family.

It’s the HOLY family.

The Party is NOT Over

Today is the final Sunday of the Christmas season: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While the rest of the world may see Christ...