When I was a small boy, my school choir joined many others and sang a concert Hamilton Place. Everything about it was exciting: the dress rehearsal, and then the performance itself, with lights blinding us but still certain that more people were watching us than ever had before!
The part I still remember and still find myself humming is the song that came alive. We had been practising it for weeks and weeks, but when we came together to sing it with all the other choirs, all those voices together made it sound astonishing and new. So powerful that more than thirty years later, it still pops into my head, an earworm that just won’t leave! Here’s a link to a different group singing Dave Brubeck’s “God’s Love Made Visible”.
God’s love made visible! Incomprehensible!
Christ is invincible! His love shall reign!
From love so bountiful, blessings uncountable,
make death surmountable! His love shall reign!
I always think about it now, deep into Christmas, with Epiphany just around the corner. The song’s lyrics sum up the good news of great joy we’re celebrating. And the way song is so irrepressible makes me think of all the ways the story can’t be contained. The shepherds have to come see, and go away talking incessantly about the Saviour come into the world. The wise ones from the East bring their gifts and pay homage. When Jesus is taken to be presented in the temple, Simeon and Anna marvel and sing and delight at God’s visible love being shared with the world. And then, as Jesus is baptized–we celebrate the ministry he gives to the world as he travels and teaches, heals and restores community, always inviting us to lean into God’s better ways of living for our common good.
At the Church of the Nativity, we’re packing a lot into this coming Sunday: we’ll celebrate the Epiphany, and the Presentation, and the Baptism, all in one action-packed service. Customs and traditions of each of those feasts will be a part of what we’re up to. We’ll bless chalk, a gift that we’ll take home with us to bless our homes. We’ll bless and hold candles, rejoicing in the Light that comes into the world for all people in Jesus. We’ll touch and feel the water from the font, reminding us of our baptisms–and how Jesus invites us to live.
And at coffee hour afterward, we will share in the Three Kings’ Cake in honour of the three visitors–maybe you’ll be the one to find the gold hidden inside your slice!
God’s love is made visible in Jesus, our God-with-us. And God’s love shines forth for all, transforming us and sending us to serve. May you know and trust God’s blessing in the year ahead!