Monday, October 15, 2012

Major Washington DC church will have new organ installed by early 2013; another parable about free speech


I did attend a service at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC on Oct. 14. The service was held in the Fellowship Hall, because the Sanctuary is now in the first stage of renovation for the new organ from Austin Organs (link). Renovations are extensive, and include a new electrical wiring system and sound system. Some of the building does not have power now.

It is thought that the sanctuary will be open for a while in December, and then close again for a while the last steps of installing the organ in the chancel are completed.  Although the Church has not announced an official date, it appears that the chancel with the new organ should be open by the end of January, 2013. 

The service including a reading of the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31).  “Why do you call me good?  Don’t pander me!”  A Reverend Sanks gave a famous sermon on this scripture in May 1972 (he managed to navigate from this scripture to a comparison of motherly and fatherly love as to "unconditional" quality).  But today, the underground chuckle was “Mitt Romney”.  Dr. Jeffrey Haggray’s sermon was about “not preaching political sermons” but still raising social consciousness. 

For piano music, we had the Sarabande from the French Suite (don't know the number, don't know all the suites!), played by Lawrence P. Schreiber. 

But the Sunday School lesson, in the Youth Lounge, on slides, was almost a stage performance itself.  The lesson plan dealt with the idea of the individual’s speaking out against the social interests of family, group, or crowd.  Rudyard Kipling had said that those who speak out and “own themselves” are truly alone.  The lesson included panel quotes from Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Patrick Henry. 
   
Curiously, I recall a line in the inauguration speech of George W. Bush in 2001, “Those without responsibility for others are truly alone.”  I think he said that again (Spring) later at a commencement speech at Ohio State. I don't think "W." could really live up to these words. 
  
There is a belief that those with direct responsibility for others (usually family members, who aren’t necessarily just one’s own children) will resist the opportunity to speak their own minds, at least just to promote themselves as having some special access to “truth”.  


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