Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nashville Emmaus Xmas Party

First, before going into the Emmaus community's monthly gathering/annual party, I wish to affirm something. Xmas. This is shorthand for "Christmas", of course. Some unknowing folks of the Christian faith object to it, on same grounds as their opposition to the greeting "Happy holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" or otherwise taking Christ out of Christmas. I disagree. You see, in Greek, the original New Testament language, the letter "X" (called "chi") is the initial for the word xpistos ("KRIS-tos") or Christ, the "anointed one" or 'messiah". Indeed, in early Christian art a common symbol was Chi-Rho, that is, the "X" combined with the "P" (called "rho"), the first two letters of the Greek title! So dear reader, use of Xmas isn't eliminating Christ from Christmas but rather emphasizing Him!

Now that this affirmation is out of the way, to the party!

The Nashville Emmaus Community, like all Emmaus communities or fourth-day groups, has a monthly gathering. The one in December is held at The Upper Room headquarters (aka the UMC Board of Discipleship building) and is a Christmas or Xmas fellowship as well as worship gathering.

Saturday evening was the gathering for Ought Nine. I was there, along with my guitar. We started out in a fellowship or meeting hall downstairs, with lots of potluck food and a guitarist (not yours truly!) picking carols to provide background music as we dined and chatted around tables decorated in the spirit of Christmas and that of Emmaus.

Then we adjourned upstairs to The Upper Room Chapel for worship. We two guitarists led the congregation in singing two well-known and beloved carols, and then we went into worship according to one of the Methodist orders (which is basis for the Emmaus worship order found in the "purple book"). But this time we sang the "Sanctus" and the "Lord's Prayer" while we two guitarists played. This was a neat addition; I loved it! And while folks were coming forward during the Lord's Supper to receive the elements by intinction (i.e., taking a piece of the loaf and dipping it in the cup and partaking), we played as series of more carols. The entire service was very moving and season-appropriate!

No comments: