Minister’s Message – Week of January 7
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Minister’s Message – Week of January 7

Photo: Dora Alis

The first Sunday of 2018 represents a meeting of the new and the old.  Our Chamber Choir will sing Benjamin Britten’s rendition of a Welsh folk song, “A New Year Carol.”  This song reflects the tradition of sprinkling water from a well as a reflection of the blessing of a new year:  “Here we bring new water from the well—so clear, for to worship God with this happy new year.”

However, just as the new year is upon us, our 2017 Christmas is not yet over.  The festival of Epiphany on January 6 represents the end of the Christmas season, and this Sunday—one day after the actual festival—we will be celebrating this last day of Christmas.  In Christian tradition the focus of Epiphany can be focused on the baptism of John or on the visit of the Magi.  With the choir singing an anthem with a water theme, I wondered about focusing on a practice related to baptism.  In some eastern Orthodox traditions, at Epiphany the priest would take a cross and fling it into the ocean.  Congregants would then swim out to retrieve the cross.  I was so intrigued by this tradition that I was tempted to move our morning worship to Spanish Banks and invite the congregation to engage in our own liturgically based polar bear swim!

However, before you begin searching for your bathing suits, I do want to let you know that sober second thoughts led me to focus on the visit of the Magi.  This seems appropriate since throughout Advent we experienced angel visitations to Elizabeth, Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.  And, then, on our Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany, Debra invited us into the story of Anna and Simeon.  It is time for the Magi to make an appearance.  It is also time because our world of migrants and refugees makes this travelling story a contemporary one.  

I do hope that you will be able to join us this Sunday as we follow a star with the remembrance of past promises and the hope engendered by a new year.

Brian Thorpe

Click here for the 2018 Winter Guide:

For a copy of this Sunday’s announcements bulletin, please click here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons License (Attribution, Non-Commercial).