Sunday, December 7, 2014

CAROL : what wondrous love is this

 But God, who is rich in mercy, 
for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, 
hath quickened us together with Christ, 
 (by whose grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, 
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

That in the ages to come he might shew 
the exceeding riches of his grace 
in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; 
and that not of yourselves:  
it is the gift of God:

I am not serving these carols as well as I wish.  Though dwelling on them, dwelling in them through this month is doing me such good.

All this month I am listening to carols at the start of my day.  Not as background to gingerbread and sparkled ribbon, but right in the foreground.  I'm listening so much more carefully and when I close the computer and head out to the rest of my life, I go singing.  Singing in my heart, or under my breath, or bursting loud, while the lights blink red to green, while the hot water splashes into the sink and steam rises up against the foggy kitchen window.

When I gathered with some friends this past evening to practice The First Nowell, that gathering together to sing felt so good.  Something that even the best recordings can't reproduce.  Our voices mingling, all of us breathing in and out together like some many-hearted organism.

One body.

Which we are, despite the rifts of opinion that divide us.

To which blessed body, even in this fractured age, the Christmas season still allows us public access.

The other day I was in the grocery checkout, enjoying the friendly talk ahead of me between a customer and the checkout clerk conferring over a recipe. "When are you in tomorrow?" said the customer, obviously a stranger to the clerk, "I'll bring you a piece, if it turns out."  That desire to break bread together, to be no longer strangers.

When it was my turn, the clerk accidentally included the sack of potatoes behind my small purchase.  We corrected the mistake, laughing -- "Though that would be a generous thing to do!" I said.  Then bent over my wallet, returned to the stream of carols playing within me. And reconsidered, "Why not?" 

The woman behind me said, "Oh, no.  That's not necessary."  

I turned to her: elderly, of limited means, a little weighed down with everything.

"Please --" I asked her and our faces opened to each other like flowers opening to light. "After all, it's Christmas.  When do I ever get to do this?" 

And so she nodded, "Thank you then," with such graciousness.  All day I felt the gift of that grace.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul! 
What wondrous love is this
that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down
beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb 

Who is the great “I Am,”
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, 

I’ll sing and joyful be
and through eternity, I’ll sing on.

1 comment:

Susan said...

My heart is full after I read this. Amen.

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