Saturday, December 26, 2009

They sang an Easter song after my Christmas sermon...

For most of my life, I have followed the liturgical calendar. Over the years, it has come to add an orientation and meaning to my life in deeper ways than the secular calendar.  I love the start of the Christian year (Advent), which is more than a full month sooner than New Year's Day.  In this four week time, I relearn the old story told by prophets and gospel writers, about the promise of a Savior.  This time period becomes a pilgrimage, as I once again take a spiritual journey to Bethlehem, remembering the birth of the Christ Child.

The church I currently serve doesn't follow the liturgical calendar.

This has made that inward trek to Bethlehem more difficult, especially when preparing to preach. During Advent, the preacher resembles a tour guide, telling the stories, introducing the cast of characters,  and pointing out the sites so that people can make their own journey to Bethlehem.  But this year there was no tour, no discussion of John the Baptism (or Joseph or Mary or Elizabeth or Zechariah), no angel visitations, no census requirement.

So I approached my sermon hoping to find that point of intersection between the old story and today's story, hoping that there, in the midst of it, we all could get a glimpse of where Christ was being born in our midst.  To help with that experience, I had asked that the song "O Holy Night" be sung after my sermon.

Imagine my surprise--and dismay--when I ended my sermon and "I Know that My Redeeemer Lives"--an Easter song!--was sung! I wanted a CHRISTMAS song, not an Easter song!!!

We have extremely gifted soloists at Glide, and even though I was upset over this unplanned song, I was drawn into music and felt my heart open to the words of the song:

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives                (lyrics by Nicole C. Mullen)

I was trying hard to bring people to the Bethlehem manger, but isn't the real message that Jesus still lives? You don't have to go to the manger, because eventually he'll come to you.  From the cradle to the cross and beyond, whenever we experience new life, new hope, new love, Christ comes to us. 

They sang an Easter song after my Christmas sermon, and it couldn't have been more perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I am so impressed with your ability to see a message, to see THE message, inspite of the dismay of things not going according to plan.

    This really speaks to me and causes me to contemplate what I need in order to keep the negative from blocking the messsage even in dismaying or dissappointing situations.

    Thank you.