is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Joy To the World

Tom (O Holy Night) Bragg, Kimmy and Betty B. deCecil ;-)
I've had another grand and glorious Sunday, that of course started with worship.  Our service today didn't have any rousing renditions of the Hallelujia Chorus, nor were there baptisms or new members to welcome, but we did sing Joy to the World, Away in a Manger, and Good Christian Friends, Rejoice.  

Michael Rintamaa played There's a Song in the Air for the Offertory...and my friend Betty Cecil and I tried to remember the words without looking.  We also harmonized on the Doxology just as we always do (we are not really supposed to, but after 12 years of relentless harmony, we just cannot resist).  

It's important to note the message for this second Sunday after Christmas talked of inclusion, of how God's love is for all of us to enjoy, not just for the chosen few, not just for the saint, nor just for the sinner because God loves all of us. God is not a hater.   God is love.  

It struck me that although they are still perfectly gorgeous, the poinsettia plants will be removed this week, as will the advent wreath and the candles that accompany them --  they will be removed as we make way for Epiphany and begin to prepare for Lent.  

However, for today, I wanted to enjoy the last gasp of Christmas. I wanted to cling to and enjoy the Hope that the Season brings. I wanted to take one last snapshot of the Joy that comes with the Holidays and keep it in my heart, and cherish it for the entire year.  By promising myself to do that and now by memorializing that promise here in my little blog, I hope to go back to this feeling day after day until once again, carols are in the air, and tinsel is being bought and everyone starts to talk turkey and stuffing and stockings again.  

I saw Leslie Beatty and Lori Houlihan at the post-inaugural
reception. We talked about mascara ;-)  

After worship, I got myself a nice little photo of the poinsettias, I hugged Betty and Maud and all my choir buddies, and I headed home to reflect on the meaning of the day and thank the Lord that once again I had awakened on another Sunday.

I then began to prepare for another celebration and that was to attend today's inauguration of our city's newest Mayor, Jim Gray.  It was a ceremony filled with the beauty of simplicity, with Tedrin Blair Lindsay on the piano, arrangements by Dr. Johnie Dean, and songs by the Lexington Singers Childrens Choir (America the Beautiful) and lovely vocalists Jessie Rose Pennington (Simple Gifts) La'Shelle Allen (Joshua Fit the Battle), Reginald Smith (If You Believe) and Whit Whitaker (Brand New Day), who all brought their gifts to the stage with a delightful and pleasant presentation that brought tears to the eyes of the standing room only crowd. 

Peggy Stamps put together one heckuva program! 

Mayor Gray gave a spirited speech, one that showcased his love for our community as well as his hope for our future.  He got a little choked up at the end, and again, there was not a dry eye in the least I think that was the case - I was busy blinking back the clouds myself. 

Back to the simplicity and how gorgeous it is, though - I think as long as we remember to love kindness, do justice and walk humbly, it will be easier for all of us to forgive one another - and ourselves - of our shortcomings and unite as a neighborhood rich in history and bonded by the pride of living in a city that stands in the crossroads of so much. 

We live at the intersection of bluegrass and rock music, we live in the center of one of the most beautiful states in the union where two major highways overlap and bring visitors from all over past our tobacco farms and Thoroughbred tracks, and we live in a community that combines art with medicine, medicine with compassion, and compassion with culture.  There's a lot here to make us Kentucky proud --  it's good to be a Lexingtonian!  

Carol Wilcher is another friend I've met through my work
as a standardized patient for the University of Kentucky
College of Medicine. She's also a tireless campaign worker
and a good neighbor. I love to see her walk her dogs
past my apartment every day :)

Here is a prayer we shared in worship today, and again, I hope it brings meaning to your life today as well:

Immanuel, God with us, show us where you may be found today:
in each human birth, in family joy, in relentless tragedy,
in treasured babes, and homeless families.

Immanuel, we rejoice that you are with us - 
in everything, through everything.

Lord Christ, be born in us today.

Word of God, become flesh in us that we might live your gospel.

Light of the world, shine in us and through us for the sake of your world.

Loving God, help us to see your grace,
hear your voice,
and follow in your way;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. 


Joy to the World!

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