- A note from Joy
King’s Chapel is a praying church! This week we’ve added a new link to our website page to make easy any request you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests sent here will be received by me, David Waters, and Cynthia Perkins. If you prefer, know that you can always reach out to any of us individually also.
Recently I was speaking with Cynthia Hargrove Perkins, the long-time King’s Chapel member who has recently begun chairing our Prayer Circle. I want us to be known as a “praying church” I told her.
What did I mean? I didn’t mean we’d be doing something new, only that we’d spread the word about who we already are.
Our largest worship service every week is called Morning Prayer, and uses our treasured prayers found in our unique King’s Chapel Prayerbook. Our Morning Light service at 9 AM is centered on individual prayers that worshippers offer out loud or silently, lighting a candle as they do. Every Sunday at 11 AM we read a “Bede List,” a list of names for whom we’ve been asked to pray. At the top of the list are always our own members, followed by family of our members, and finally by friends of our members or staff. When visitors come through our church, either on Sunday or during the week, a notebook for the entry of prayers stands open, and over the course of the year thousands of prayer requests are entered from people all over the world. As we promise them, we join in prayer with each request entered there, prayed by one of our dedicated members. Finally, our Prayer Circle prays daily for any prayer request you have – in strict confidence, held in their hearts. David and I always join our hearts in prayer for you and this blessed community.
King’s Chapel is a praying church!
For the last four weeks, once every week, we've had the new Black Lives Matter sign on the fence outside our church slashed or stolen. Each week we've replaced it. Sometimes the Pride banner in support of our LGBTQ community is slashed, too, or ripped down and crumbled, or covered with White Supremacy stickers that our sexton carefully removes.
This week I've checked in with other downtown Boston clergy. Their signs also have gotten slashed. A few years back a church on Newbury Street had a defiant White Supremacist group climb high on a ladder with their knives to deface the BLM sign, at 7 PM on that busy commercial street. Now the BLM sign at that church is made out of metal, and hung where it is protected by metal bars. Two other churches told me their signs are hung high, out of reach.
We'll hang our signs higher, too. But make no mistake. These were deliberate acts of hate against our LGBTQ and Black communities, right here in Boston; we know, because the signs about our worship services that hang nearby, at the same level on our fence, are never defaced.
One more thing about which to make no mistake: we'll continue to stand with any who are despised, because in God's eyes they are loved. I'm proud to be at King's Chapel.
“Be Not Afraid,” has sunk deep within me; I sing this hymn often in these hard, uncertain days. In the next three weeks, we’ll sing it and discuss it at our Sunday worship services. The chorus is:
Be not afraid,
The lyrics are not Christian pablum. There is no glib reassurance that God specially protects me or you. Neither is there a promise of “easy chair Christianity,” with my feet up and me reclining comfortably. If you know the Biblical passages from which the words are drawn or listen with care to the verses of the hymn, you’d never make that mistake. Instead, this hymn invites us to a “rest” and fearlessness that come only if we reject the “conventional wisdom” of America, and follow instead the alternative, subversive “wisdom” of Jesus. It’s what I crave. What about you? For the full lyrics, click here. To participate in the contest to identify sources of the lyrics, check this out.
“Be Not Afraid” is written like Handel’s libretto in the Messiah, taking its lyrics from many different sections of the Bible and weaving them together with music to tell a powerful truth; 81 Bible verses come from 14 different book. For example, Handel takes one clause from the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament, then later lines from Matthew, Luke and 1 Corinthians, in the New. Likewise, the 1970s hymn “Be not afraid” relies on central stories from all over the Bible.
How many sources can you find for each clause of “Be not afraid”? For example, “Be not afraid,” is the most used clause in the whole Bible – found from Old to New Testaments- because it’s what we humans most need to hear. Abraham, Moses, David, Mary, and Paul all hear, “Do not be afraid.”
“I go before you always,” is a phrase Jesus says to Mary in the Book of Matthew, after his resurrection (tell my friends I’ll go before them to Galilee); and in his final moments before the ascension (“I am with you always” ). It’s also said by God during the Exodus, when the pillar of cloud and of fire leads the people to the promised land.
“Come follow me,” is the great invitation Jesus makes early in his ministry – “Follow me, and I’ll help you fish for people,” but sheep also follow their shepherd in the 23rd psalm.
“I will give you rest” echoes from that psalm, and from the scripture we read this week, in Matthew, that begins, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” But it continues with the thought of wearing a yoke! “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Can you identify the source of different lines of the verses?
In the love of truth and in the spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God
and the service of all.
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