Monday, January 9, 2017

The Work of Christmas Begins

“Blessed are they who are poor in spirit.” 

                                                                      Matthew 5:3 

Today the liturgical calendar begins an 8 week stretch of ordinary time connecting the seasons of Christmas and Lent. 

With the exception of today; the gospel for the next 7 weeks, is taken from chapters 4, 5 and 6 of Matthew’s gospel. 

These chapters will be familiar to many as they contain Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. 

A well-known element of the Sermon on the Mount is the Beatitudes. 
These 8 aphorisms have been the focus of my prayer and musical preparation.

They are also where my job as music director and position of interim chair of social concerns intersect. 

Today, and over the next 7 weeks I plan on using the song “We Are the Light of the World (#595) as the recessional hymn. 

We will sing just one verse each week as each verse focuses on one of the beatitudes. 

This week’s verse may (found at the top of this blog) may the most perplexing. 

How can being poor in spirit be a blessing? 

Here’s something I found that might help. 

When we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. 

The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). 

Fr. Rich has been having the staff pray a prayer by Howard Thurman titled; “The Work of Christmas Begins.” I have a feeling you’ll be hearing and/or seeing it soon. 

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman

My hope is that our worship will lead us to begin the work of Christmas here at St. Mary’s. 



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