Upcoming Performances

February 23, 12:30 pm
Recitalist, Lenten series, Corinth Reformed Church, Hickory, N.C.

March 9, 12:15 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

March 11, 3:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Letourneau organ, Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, N.C.

May 13, 5:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, N.C.

September 23, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Schantz organ 40th anniversary, Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, Va.

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The Feast of Memorial Day, Rite x

Since I am no longer employed in a church and if I’m not subbing somewhere on a given Sunday, then liturgical feasts other than Christmas and Easter often pass by unnoticed by me. During a trip last year, I was reminded that it was Ascension Day, when I discovered that most of southern Germany was shut down on a Thursday! This year, I noticed that Trinity Sunday passed me by, when the organ listservs lit up with people complaining about disfiguring their liturgy with the insertion of patriotic music – this year, Trinity Sunday (church) coincided with Memorial Day (state).

Well, first, liturgy gets defaced every Sunday as a matter of course in some places, so I don’t have an opinion on what patriotic music might do to it further! However, I have written before of some interesting church & state (& otherwise) juxtapositions. But it can happen every year. Memorial Day usually “threatens” Ascension Sunday, Pentecost, or Trinity Sunday. And Boy Scout Sunday (first Sunday in February) usually falls during Lent.

For the record, yes, I am offended that some clergy and parishioners insist that God intended the USA to be free, and that we should therefore liturgicize it. Yes, I am offended that Memorial Day went from being a post-Civil War “Decoration Day” to being commanded by God (in some minds). Yes, I am offended that major US holidays honoring our soldiers are celebrated by giving civilians the day off (what’s up with that?). I am offended that many people insist that soldiers fight for our freedom and not for their own. And I am offended that people can sing the National Anthem at the top of their lungs in the middle of an otherwise solemn liturgy but still mumble a sturdy hymn they have known since childhood. Nevertheless, I also know that the sky will not fall if we toss the National Anthem into a service. I know that the national church will not excommunicate a congregation for moving the flag front & center every now and then. I know that churches near military bases are in a better position to make this work than others are. And I know that the writers of liturgy were human and not divine.

May I humbly suggest holding separate, ecumenical services on the high holy state days (and there are many: MLK, Presidents' Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, September 11, Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day)? Liturgy is not sacred. But it is beautiful. And it is beautiful in its own way. If it is added to in certain ways, its impact is threatened. And that can be true for a lot more than just liturgy. Sometimes doing something just because people like-it-by-golly, is not enough.

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