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St Clement’s Midnight Mass, 2012

2013 January 19
by Gordon Reid

Once in a while, my friends may be surprised to hear, I write a poem. This one reflects some of the joy I felt at our Midnight Mass.


“In darkest night, St Clement’s stands red-black against the sky;

Then gradually the light shines blue from narrow windows high

Above the garden, where St Francis keeps his peaceful place

And prays for faithful Clementines, who decked with silks and lace

The Christmas Crib, his own invention centuries before.

And now the first of worshippers steps through the open door

And signs himself a baptized child in holy water blessed,

Like Walsingham’s clear spring, where Lady Mary gave the best

Of gifts again to man, the child of Bethlehem, the boy

Of Nazareth, the man of Calvary, the cause of joy.

Not only on this Christmas night but ever through the year,

Our Lady sits within our door to make that message clear.

Then into church, where shining nave floor leads the eye to where

The House of Bread, our Bethlehem, on spot-lit altar there,

Of cloth of gold and red and blue and shining linen white.

From there he goes to venerate the tableau of that night

When Mary’s “Yes” undid Eve’s “No” to God’s unfolding plan

And brought forth Him in Bethlehem as weak, dependent man

Who made the world, the galaxies, and that star overhead,

And emptied of his godly power, He showed to us instead

What God’s power looks like here on earth – a Babe, a Cross, a Tomb.

But now at midnight, all we see is Mary, Joseph, room

For Jesus who will come in  priestly arms, processed around

The church, to smiles and rueful recognition that a round

Of cheers and clapping would not be the way for Clementines

To show how moved they were. So in goes Jesus and the signs

Of Godhead are the holy water, incense smoke, right praise

For Him whose love will grow and nurture us through all our days.

And then back to the altar where the holy words are said;

Another wonder worked, when you and I are fed

With bread and wine, the life and power of Jesus for all time.

God bless us all! St Clement and Our Lady – help me rhyme!



4 Responses leave one →
  1. Robert Edwin Deming + permalink
    January 20, 2013

    Thank you Father for your thoughtful lines of rhyme at this Christmastide! R.E.D. priest affiliate Christ Church, New Haven.

  2. The Rev'd Ethan Alexander Jewett permalink
    January 20, 2013

    I to my flat in the rectory climb,
    racking my dull brain and wishing to learn
    how he can possess gifts rich and sublime
    that even his curate did not discern?

  3. Beryl Leach permalink
    January 20, 2013

    I”m printing that out – really lovely.

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