You Are Always Welcome (Back)

St Nicholas #Episcopal is the product of several mergers. Today the son of a former Holy Innocents family came to us as a visitor from out of town. When I asked what brought him to St Nick’s today, he mentioned the family connection, said that it was his father’s birthday, and said the ashes of his family had been at Holy Innocents but didn’t know what happened to them.

“Oh, they’re right here!” I exclaimed, and pointed toward the baptistery. “The Holy Innocents columbarium came with us when we closed. You can visit your dad, there’s a chair set up for prayer. He and the others have a home with us.”

He teared up a little, and I noticed that he and his wife spent quite a lot of time near the columbarium during the “Peace” break and the second half of the service.

 The columbarium contains the ashes of some former Holy Innocents parishioners, and possibly some more recent St Nicholas people as well.

The Paschal candle stands nearby, reminding us of the Light of the world and of our birth and baptism into the community and fellowship of Christ. The book contains names of other dearly departed, and for the upcoming celebration of All Saints/All Souls, more names will be added.

The chair provides a hospitable place to sit and reflect with those who have gone on ahead.

We were so happy to be here to help this visitor reconnect with his family, and to assure him they’re safe at home at St Nick’s.

As the celebration of All Saints falls on Sunday Nov. 1, there will be special music and other observances. The choir of St Nicholas is working on a very special piece for the anthem, Morten Lauridson‘s “Prayer.”

The text is taken from the poem of the same name by Dana Gioia, and it is heartbreakingly lovely. We in the choir hope to do it justice.

Prayer, by Dana Gioia

Echo of the clocktower, footstep in the alleyway, 

sweep of the wind sifting the leaves.

Jeweller of the spiderweb, connoisseur of autumn’s opulence, 

blade of lightning harvesting the sky.

Keeper of the small gate, choreographer of entrances and exits, midnight whisper travelling the wires.

Seducer, healer, deity or thief, I will see you soon enough—

in the shadow of the rainfall, in the brief violet darkening a sunset—

but until then I pray watch over him as a mountain guards its covert ore

and the harsh falcon its flightless young.

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