Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eucharist with the Prime Minister

Well, Christmas is now over for me for another year. I was on the 6.50am train as on a usual Sunday although the combined service was an hour later but I wanted to make sure of my usual pew so found a coffee stand open and filled in 40 minutes in the city. That was wise as the church was packed and the congregation included the Prime Minister of Australia. As the news services stated.
Mr Rudd, his wife Therese Rein, and their three children - Jessica, 24, Nicholas, 22 and Marcus, 15 - attended a Christmas service at St James Anglican church in Sydney's CBD this morning.
The photo shows him with his wife and our Assistant priest Father John Stewart.
It was good to see him queued up in the aisle with everyone else for communion although I was coming back along the side aisle at the time and between looking to see his wife and being a bit disconcerted by the security guys coming towards me (the wrong way) I went at first to the wrong pew. My sister thinks it is sad that the family have to be followed by security officers but that is the way of the modern world.

The Prime Minister has now attended our church several times this year. His main home is in Canberra but there is a house reserved for him in Sydney which has a prime location on the harbour for watching the start of the yacht race today and the fireworks on New Year's Eve. My sister thought he would attend the cathedral but he grew up in the Diocese of Brisbane so would obviously prefer the real Anglican services at St James rather than the Calvinist hotch potch of the cathedral. And who would want to listen to a sermon by one of the Jensens on Christmas day?

The choir sang the Kyries, Gloria, Sanctus & Benedictus from Mozart's Spatzenmesse K220 which, while beautiful, I found a bit long to stand.
I much prefer exercising my own lungs in the processional hymn 'O Come All Ye Faithful', the offertory hymn 'Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn' and the final hymn 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' but this year was particularly moved by the Gradual Hymn 'It Came Upon the Midnight Clear' ( music below) especially finding the third verse apt:
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel - strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

I seem to be very melancholy this Christmas

We did not arrive at my sister's home until nearly 1pm and we did have hot turkey and ham with salad for main with salmon for entree and plum pudding as dessert. Just as well the temperature did not go above 23'C (73'F) and the morning was cloudy but this can be a trap for the unwary as the UV was high so there could be some sunburnt European tourists today. Brut and New Zealand sauvignon blanc meant I felt quite strange for the more than 2 hours train trip home arriving just in time to see the news with the Prime Minister leaving my church and to watch something I never miss, The Queen's Christmas Message.


Maithri said...

Blessings of peace to you brother at the dawn of a new year... May each day bring new possibilities and deepen your connection to yourself, your loved ones and the divine,

Blessings, M

Davis said...

Glad you watched Brenda (I did too) - she did a lovely job as always.

Here, if Bush or Obama showed up at mass there'd be chaos and an army encampment, so it's amazing the PM could actually stand in the communion line with the prols.

Brian R said...

Yes, Davis. I guess 2 security officers with radios etc attached are not too much interference. I think he does not want to be too obvious so sits at the back, although that makes for a quick getaway. Hope your Christmas was satisfying.

June Butler said...

I seem to be very melancholy this Christmas.

Not so much on Christmas Day, but since then.

I noted the poignancy of the verse from "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", too.

We had temperatures approaching 80°F here, although it's supposed to be winter.

Brian R said...

Dear me, grandmere, weren't you describing snow a few days ago. I thought our weather was changeable which is why I get colds in spring. Seems to have settled to a constant high humidity now, unfortunately.