Page 2 - New Project 1

"Centenary United Methodist Church"
3 W Washington St
Bath, NY
Pastor - Leanne Zeck
Phone - 607-776-3434
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Page 2

December 2021
Pastor’s Page

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease

You may recognize the above lyrics from the Christmas Hymn “O Holy Night.” When a parish priest in 1843 in Requemaure, France wanted to commemorate the renovations to the church organ, he turned to the poet and wine merchant Placide Cappeau. Cappeau had little interest in religion but chose to accept the request. His friend Adophe Adam was a composer so Cappeau requested his help in putting the poem to music, and thus O Holy Night was written by a non religious poet and a Jewish composer. At first the hymn was instantly popular, but when Cappeau’s strong disdain for religious authority was made known, church leadership banned the singing of the hymn. The people would not let it go, and the song was sung outside of the church. An American Minister, John Sullivan Dwight heard the hymn, translated it to English in 1855. Dwight and many abolitionists in the US embraced the hymn as a call to justice.

I love “O Holy Night” for the verse above. It is a reminder that Christ’s coming in Bethlehem is the beginning of God righting the wrongs in our world—in me. May we not just sit in wonder at the Manger, but may we join in the work of justice so the world knows we are ruled by the law of love and the gospel of peace. May through our loving one another, including our enemies and those who annoy us, Christ break the chains that enslave us and our neighbors. May all oppression cease in Christ’s name.

Merry Christmas!
Pastor Leanne

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