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January 10, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Third Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)
January 22, 2006

Sacrifice to the Kitchen God
(celebrated January 22, 2006)

with materials from the website www.schooloftheseasons.com.

Talk of the "Kitchen God" makes one think of Amy Tan's Chinese Baptist family, and her novel The Kitchen God's Wife. A week before Chinese New Year, the head of the household makes a sacrifice to Tsao Wang, the Kitchen God; the day that before, the house is swept completely clean. In ancient times, an antelope was sacrificed, but by 1900, people offered candies and sugar cakes (so that the Kitchen God might say good things about the family, or at least become so sticky in the mouth that speaking became labored); as well as grass and beans for the God's horse. Now the usual practice is to smear honey on the picture of the Kitchen God. On this same day, people post "good wish" poems, written by professional calligraphers, usually on red paper. They say things such as "May there be a single universal peace, with true wealth and honor" or "May the spring colors of the Nine Heavens appear in profuse elegance."

Blackburn, Bonnie and Holford-Strevens, Leofranc, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press (1999); Li-Ch'en, Tun, translated by Derk Bodde, Annual Customs and Festivals in Peking, Peking: Henri Vetch (1936)

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"Mysterious Presence, Source of All" No. 92
"Your Mercy, Oh Eternal One" No. 185
"What Gift Can We Bring?" No. 404

Jonah 3:1-5,10

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"Rock of Ages" No. 603R

This traditional hymn, written by Augustus M. Toplady (1776), absent even from Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937), has been recast significantly here:

1. Rock of A-ges, cleft for me,
let me hide, a shel-ter be;
O the wa-ters midst the flood,
from the wound-ed sky did flow;
May we find a last-ing cure;
Save from wrath and make all pure.

2. No-thing in my hand I bring,
simp-ly to your love I cling;
Nak-ed, come to you for dress;
Help-less, look to you for grace;
Foul, I to your foun-tain fly;
Wash me, Pure Love, now my cry.

3. While I draw this fleet-ing breath,
when my eye-strings close in death,
when I soar to worlds un-known,
see you on the mer-cy throne!
Rock of A-ges, cleft for me,
Let me hide; a shel-ter be

"Roca de la eternidad" No. 603R

The three stanzas from the uncopyrighted Spanish version, "Roca de la eternidad," by T.M. Westrup, which appears as no. 247 in Mil voces para celebrar, have likewise been recast and rearranged:

a. Ro-ca de la~e-ter-ni-dad,
fuis-te~a-bier-ta tú por mí.
Sé mi~es-con-de-de-ro fiel,
só-lo~en-cuen-tro paz en ti;
ri-co, lim-pio ma-nan-tial,
en el cual la-va-do fui.

b. Aun-que se-a siem-pre fiel,
aun-que lu-che sin ce-sar,
só-lo~en ti te-nien-do fe,
sal-va-ción he de go-zar;
Sé mi~es-con-de-de-ro fiel,
ro-ca de la~e-ter-ni-dad.

"In Christ there Is No East or West" No. 413R

This hymn is particular appropriate as Christian Unity Week is celebrated from January 18 through January 25, 2006. Christian Unity Week Resouces at textweek.com Here it has been moderately revised and set to McKEE (as it has been elsewhere), an African-American spiritual.

Psalm 62:5-12

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"O God Our Help in Ages Past" No. 145R
"O God, the Rock of Ages" No. 148R
"All My Hope Is Firmly Founded" No. 219R

No. 219R is based on verses from Psalm 62, the lectionary psalm for this week.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"God of Grace and God of Glory" No. 345R

Mark 1:14-20

Translations of Mark 1:15 are many. "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in this good news," is the New Revised Standard rendition. Others have suggested that the Greek "metanoia" means something closer to "think again," such that the English "repent" is somewhat off the mark, thus rendering this more along the lines of "The time has come, the reign of God is at hand, is available, think again, be new-minded, and believe in this good news."

In light of the day's Kitchen God observances, roughly analogous observations might be in order from the Confucian and Taoist traditions: "If one finds that one has made a mistake, then one must not be afraid of admitting the fact and amending one's ways." Confucius, Analects 1:8:4 "If one has, indeed, done deeds of wickedness, but afterwards alters one's way and repents, resolved not to do anything wicked, but to practice reverently all that is good, one is sure in the long run to obtain good fortune--this is called changing calamity into blessing." Lao-Tze, Treatise on Response and Retribution 5

from Hymns of the Spirit Three:
"A Voice by Jordan's Shore" No. 210R

from Singing the Living Tradition:
"Grieve Not Your Heart" No. 186
"We the Heirs of Many Ages" No. 102
"Dear Mother-Father of Us All" No. 274

Copyright © 2006 Richard E. Hurst, www.hos3.com/hotw
This listing and other materials above may be printed, copied, distributed, reprinted in church or local group bulletins or newsletters, or otherwise used for nonprofit local worship or education with the inclusion of the copyright citation and the website as its source. It may not be used for profit or republication without prior permission (blondlieut@aol.com).

Posted by rehurst at January 10, 2006 02:50 AM


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