Reflections

These reflections are originally published in the weekly newsletter, the Net.
All reflections written by Fr. John Saville will be archived here.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to read previous entries.

New Year’s Day and the Feast of the Holy Name

Dear Friends,

With Sunday falling on January 1st this year, we get to celebrate New Year’s Day and the Feast of the Holy Name. There are five hymns in our hymnal which combine this secular holiday and sacred holy day.. My favorite is #250, called “Sixth Night” by Alfred Fedak. The 17th century text is Slovak, but we will practice and then sing it (in English!) for the opening hymn this Sunday. The melody is simple, and will make you feel like you are dancing your way into the new year:
 
Now greet the swiftly changing year
with joy and penitence sincere;
rejoice, rejoice,
with thanks embrace
another year of grace.
 
For Jesus came to wage sin’s war;
this Name of names for us he bore;
rejoice, rejoice,
with thanks embrace
another year of grace.
 
His love abundant far exceeds
the volume of a whole year’s needs;
rejoice, rejoice,
with thanks embrace
another year of grace.
 
With such a Lord to lead our way
in hazard and prosperity,
what need we fear in earth or space
in this new year of grace?
 
“All glory be to God on high
and peace on earth,” the angels cry;
rejoice, rejoice,
with thanks embrace
another year of grace.
 
See you on Sunday!
P.S. Christmas sermon recap:
He became like us, so we could become like him (St. Athanasius)
 
I made the point that one word which sums up the good news of Christmas is “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us”.
 
To illustrate the incarnation as described in the prologue of John’s gospel, the Word became flesh and dwells among us, I shared a story about a little girl who was afraid of sleeping alone in the dark. In spite of her mother’s assurance that God was with her, she finally said, “Well that’s fine, but I want someone in here with skin on them”. That reminded me of the last two lines of “To Kill a Mockingbird”:
 
He (Atticus) turned out the light and went to Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”
 
Christmas calls us to be the skin for others, to be and bring Christ to others by being with them in person, in the flesh.
 
Here is a link is to the musical memory I shared: the final movement of “Hodie” which includes a thrilling moment when the choir sings “Emmanuel! Emmanuel! God. With. Us.  It is followed by part of John Milton’s poem “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”. (The recording is not my University of Redlands choir!) Below that is my 60 cent copy of Harper Lee’s classic.

Reflection: Christmas 2022

Dear Friends For Christmas Eve and Day, the lectionary offers two choices for the gospel. I usually use Luke’s account, the one most people know well, thanks to Christmas carols and cards and creches. The other choice for the gospel on Christmas, which we will be using, is from what is known as...

Reflections: Decorating for Christmas

Dear Friends One of our family Christmas traditions was to drive through the neighborhoods and streets in Corona which were known for their extravagant front lawn Christmas decorations and lights. They never failed to impress and delight us. But sometimes, less is more. Last week I passed a...

Reflections: St. Nicholas

Dear Friends, Last week, I shared some thoughts about your patron saint, St. Andrew. If my seminary had a patron saint, a good choice would be St. Nicholas, whose feast is today. Let me explain. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra (now Turkey). He died on December 6th, 342. Very little is known about his...