Thursday, December 8, 2016

All Is Well

It happens every year, and never ever more lovely, beautiful, moving than last evening's, “Lessons & Carols” at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church. The music, the children, magnificent choirs, soloists, the people. And, oh my God, the sweetness of Mia Carroll’s “All Is Well” absolutely swept me away. Oh, what an evening. Who missed it, condolences, my sympathy, and like everything in life and Time, it's over and there’s no way ever to make it up, to capture what you missed.   

All is well all is well 
Angels and men rejoice 
For tonight darkness fell 
Into the dawn of love's light 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well
Let there be peace on earth 
Christ is come go and tell 
That He is in the manger 
Sing A-le 
Sing Alleluia 

All is well all is well 
Lift up your voice and sing 
Born is now Emmanuel 
Born is our Lord and Savior 
Sing Alleluia 
Sing Alleluia 
All is well

There was in my past, years ago at another parish long ago and far away, when I did not care for the Lessons & Carols services, either at Easter or for Advent, nine lessons of our salvation history, as tedious, too long. But the artistry, beauty and love at Holy Nativity have made this my all time favorite worship event. It early opens the mystery, joy and wonder of Christmas, enriching Advent beyond words. 

And not only the Carols, but the Lessons. Each reading, each lesson, is a story, and part of the story, a chapter in our story with the Creating God. No doubt every reader likes her or his own part of the story best, and I do as well. My part for several years was the bit from Genesis in the Garden, when God walks in and catches the Man, and the Woman, in disobedience, neither with the courage to own up. It’s the beginning of our narcissistic trait of passing the buck, unable to accept blame and responsibility for our own misdeeds. Like deer in the headlight, the Man blames the Woman. And the Woman blames the serpent. And probably looking behind himself and no one else to blame, the poor snake takes it. “Henceforth you will crawl on your belly and eat dust. No longer a co-conspirator with humans, you will be feared by the woman, and you will snakebite her heel and her children will stomp and crush your head.” 

Have a nice day, a nice life, a nice henceforth. 

And although the Man and the Woman also get their comeuppance, even to this day reading, hearing the story, we blame Nachash. But I think C S Lewis had it right. In the beginning, as Aslan sings Narnia into existence, the boy and the girl pop up into the darkness. Jadis the evil antagonist who is variously witch and serpent, who came with them from another existence altogether, clinging to them, then flees, escapes ineradicably into the new creation even as the first song is sung and light first dawns. Not God’s creation or intent, evil is brought in by us. Unintentionally but nevertheless. I love the truth in the story: we have done this to ourselves.

So there you go. It’s all good. All good anyway. Life Is Good. Thank you, God. I wish I could do it all over again!


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