The first post was up at Caminante, No Hay Camino, a blog written by my friend Lee. She is an Episcopal priest who lives in Vermont and she posted her Christmas sermon. One of the things that she addressed was the whole church-closed-on-Christmas-Sunday phenomenon.
Apparently the humungous churches in Texas decided it would cost too much to open their doors on Christmas morning. A spokeswoman for one of the megachurches said that 500 volunteers, along with staff, are needed to run Sunday services for the estimated 8,000 people who usually attend. She said many of the volunteers appreciate the chance to spend Christmas with their families instead of working, although she said a few church members complained.
The way some of the churches are getting around not having services today is clever: one enterprising church is handing out a DVD it produced for the occasion that features, in their words, a ‘heartwarming contemporary Christmas tale.’ Their spokesperson said, ‘What we’re encouraging people to do is take that DVD and in the comfort of their living room, with friends and family, pop it into the player and hopefully hear a different and more personal and maybe more intimate Christmas message, that God is with us wherever we are.’ That church considers itself a pace-setter and one that reaches out to the unchurched. They figure that the unchurched are not apt to come to church on Christmas Day anyway, especially since there are plenty enough services the night before.
The other post was written by Austin Fleming, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, who authors, A Concord Pastor Comments. He wrote about a tradition at his parish, Holy Family in Concord, MA.
We’ve a custom at all the Christmas liturgies in my parish of singing Silent Night before the prayer after Communion. It’s simple, it’s beautiful and even folks who haven’t opened their mouths through the whole Mass sometimes join in singing this carol.
As I told the people after singing Silent Night, “How good it is for us to be in prayer together. How important is the presence of each one of us for all the others and how important is the presence of us all for each individual.”
I was struck by the strong commentary on the need for and the importance of community in worship.These different posts, written by different people, with different points of view say something similar. They say something the same really – and that is that no one of us can make it on their own.
That is one reason I spend a lot of time in thought about God coming as a baby, who truly can’t just make it on his own! Even if the baby is God.
Food for thought, similar and different.