January 2020 -
January 1, 2020, 3:00 PM

I don’t know about you, but after all the things, stretching from St Cecilia right through Christmas and beyond, I think there are very few things I would rather do than just collapse for a couple weeks!  Who’s with me on that?  AND there is flu, so I hope you have all had your shots that can, and get rested and drink lots of fluids so we can all be ready to tackle the New Year with optimism and excitement!

We had a great turnout on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas morning as well.  We sang all our favorite hymns, including more on Sunday the 29th.  We get our last chance for Christmas carols on January 5.

On Christmas morning, we found a gift at the front door of the church, all wrapped up in brown paper, with no label and no name: but this unassuming package contained a beautiful icon of St Martin de Porres (Peru).  Martin (1579-1639) was the child of a freed slave woman who may have been Indigenous and/or African and a Spanish ‘gentleman.’ Abandoned by their father, Martin and his sister were raised by their mother in poverty. He early developed the habit of daily prayer and aspired to become a Dominican monk, but the church would not permit persons of mixed race to be monks.  He worked in an abbey for decades, cleaning and serving as a volunteer.  He learned barber/surgical skills and used them to help the sick.  Eventually, one of the abbots permitted him to profess as a Third Order Dominican — a move not sanctioned by law, and decried by some of the other monks.  Yet he continued to serve and to pray.  He is the patron saint of barber-surgeons, public health workers, innkeepers, and people of mixed race.

I am deeply moved by this gift, and I dare to hope it was occasioned by a sense that Christ Church, with our practices of hospitality and the many ministries and community groups we support, is in some way living out the call that Martin of Porres exemplified, that our light is shining in our community, and that we God’s grace here is being felt by those around us. 

God is good, my friends, God is good.  Let us give thanks!