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WORSHIP WITH US

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by Rev. Alejandro de la Torre
Pastor for Latino Ministries

12 Days of Christmas
Today is the fourth day of the 12 Days of Christmas, and like you, I have been hearing the classic carol thousands of times; but let me confess something, as limited as I am with my English, I really did not understand a word of this song. So I researched a web site which I considered probably not very accurate but, still interesting: “the religious symbolism of each day of the twelve days of Christmas”:

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch"
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

The fourth day refers to the Four Gospels from which we take our Gospel reading every Sunday. What comes to my mind right now is the way we end the reading of this gospel every Sunday in our worship service, saying: “this is the gospel of hope”. I believe this is because the voice of Jesus that we hear in the gospel truly brings us hope. I know that it is easy to talk of hope in this Christmas Season, but I also know that for many people this is a hard time; a time of melancholy and frustration.

In the midst of distress, weariness and fears, it is a good time to let these words enter into our souls: “this is the great news of hope.” Probably we will automatically repeat them many times as many of us do with the words of the old Christmas carol until perhaps finally we allow their meaning to give significance to our lives. Since we are entering into a season of hope, do not miss the opportunity to express your own hope, to share your hope and to strengthen your hope, especially here with us at The Cathedral… of course… OF HOPE!!!

Prayer
Oh God of peace, lead me on the paths of hope and never allow me to live under fear and despair, but in the hope and certainty that in your love, I will always have a reason for singing.

But if you remain silent, who can condemn you? If you hide your face, who can see you? Job 34.29

A Word of Hope
Have you finished your costume yet? Halloween is just two days away and the parties have already begun. Do you ever wonder why so many of us go to extremes every year to dress ourselves or our children as super heroes, grotesque movie monsters or even scarier politicians? The “Hallow” in “Halloween” means “holy”, so how does all this fuss relate to a Holy Evening? The first Hallow-e’en costume parties originated in the Middle Ages, but they were far from parties as we know the term.

European villagers were obsessed with possession in those dismal times of plagues and poverty. Since demonic influence and possession seemed to them to be the most logical and probable cause for all their woes, the idea came about that dressing up in frightening-looking outfits and making lots of noise was the best course to frighten the demons away. The practice was encouraged by the church leaders who also told them that All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before the venerated Feast of All Saints, was the night the spirits of evil were at their most active level, doing whatever was necessary to snatch people’s very souls and thoroughly defile the upcoming worship events. So, everyone put on their masks and rattled their chains to literally scare the devil out of each other and send the demons back to the pits where they belonged.

This is not likely the reason you or some of your friends might be wearing a costume today, but it is not surprising that at this time of year much of the LGBTQ community eagerly embraces the opportunity to play dress up on the streets. Few believe in possession, but most have been touched by oppression. Many are still forced to wear a mask in their work or worship places year round. On this night, wearing a mask is their own choice, not somebody else’s. They are freed from playground mentality rules such as “don’t ask, don’t tell” to noisily proclaim their real identities and maybe drive out a few of their own demons of guilt and shame. And if that is the case, maybe it’s a holy evening after all.

Prayer
Help us to know that we are all hallow in your sight.

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Worship Information

Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

Sundays
9 & 11 a.m. – Sunday Worship
9 & 11 a.m. – Children’s Church
11 a.m. – Youth Groups
1 p.m. – Sunday Worship in Spanish

Wednesdays
7:15 p.m. – PULSE Service

Location
5910 Cedar Springs Road | Dallas, TX  75235 (map)
Local: 214-351-1901 | Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)

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