Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On the Turning of the Year

            “Well, Mother, you certainly outdid yourself this Christmas.  I am absolutely thrilled with the Victoria 7-in-One Stereo that you brought me for Christmas,” said I, as I rummaged through my old collection of records, “Oh, look! Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians singing Auld Lang Syne.  Do you remember their first New Year’s Eve TV special with Robert Trout reporting from Times Square?”

            “Oh, Alfred, It’s been a wonderful Christmas. I’m so glad that Jeremy brought Winifred, she’s a lovely girl.  By the way, what were they talking about with you in the study the evening before they left?  It seemed so very serious.”

            “Well, Mother, I’m not sure what to make of it.  They asked me if I had accepted Jesus as my Saviour.  What an odd question.  Of course I was baptized; isn’t that the same thing?’

            “Don’t ask me Alfred,” said Mother, “How would I know.  I go to Church for the people; I don’t know about the rest of it.”

            “In any event Mother, I did enjoy their visit.  Jeremy said that they will be coming back for Easter.  Winifred said another odd thing, ‘Every Christmas leads to Passion Week and Easter.’  She really is serious about her faith, and Jeremy is just as enthusiastic. By the way did you see that fine historical piece that the Rector posted in the bulletin today?  It is an 18th century prayer by Dr. Samuel Johnson.  Let me read it to you.”

            A Prayer for the New Year

O LORD, Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from thee, but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth thy praise, testify thy love, advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with thee, O Father, as my harbor, thee, O Son, at my helm, thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.  Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me, thy comforts to cheer, thy wisdom to teach, thy right hand to guide, thy counsel to instruct, thy law to judge, thy presence to stabilize. May thy fear be my awe, thy triumphs my joy.

            “Somehow, Mother, that stirs me.  I think I just might join the choir.”

            “You know Alfred, that means Church every Sunday,”

            “I know, Mother, I know, but perhaps it’s time we became more serious about our faith, After all we aren’t getting any younger.”

            “Alfred, that’s wonderful.  You do have a fine tenor voice,” said Mother rifling through our old collection of records. “Oh look, Alfred,” Fats Domino and Blueberry Hill. Put it on and we’ll sing it together.

            “I found my thrill, On Blueberry Hill / On Blueberry Hill / When I found you. / The moon stood still / On Blueberry Hill / And lingered until / My dream came true.”

            “Mother, you are still my thrill.”

            “Alfred, and you are mine.  You always have been.”


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