As the season of Lent draws to a close, Nativity gathers for worship in some of our most distinctive services of the year, all of which are meant to draw us nearer to the holy mysteries of Christ’s death and resurrection.
As we speedily fly through the Great Fifty Days of Easter, seemingly faster each year, I'm putting in a new communion hymn on The Day of Pentecost from the contemplative Taize' Community. The community is an ecumenical monastic order in France, near Cluny, founded by a Swiss Protestant, who felt called to minister to young people and work towards greater cooperation among Christians.
Their worship and their songs were made to be accessible to the brothers and pilgrims, using mantras, short repeated phrases like antiphons. Usually a cantor provides the rest of the text of the psalm or Canticle. We have used "Ubi Caritas" for a while now. For Pentecost we will use "Veni Sancte Spiritus." Both were written by the late French organist Jacques Berthier, who composed much of their music. In the past fifteen years or so this invocation of the Holy Spirit has gradually replaced the "Veni Creator Spiritus" as the musical prayer at the laying on of hands at ordinations, so many of you have probably already heard it.
In our 10:30 service, we typically sing the Gloria ("Glory to God in the high-est...") at the beginning of worship, just after the opening sentences. During the Great 50 Days of Easter, however, we are instead singing the Easter Canticle, the Pascha nostrum (which means Our Passover) in place of the Gloria. We are singing a metrical version of the Pascha nostrum by the Rev. Carl Daw, which sets it to the familiar tune "Sine nomine," which you know as the same tune as "For all the saints." Daw's Paschua nostrum first came out as an anthem in the 80's, and I was overjoyed that it became available for congregational use by being included in the popular, authorized supplement to the hymnal, "Wonder, Love, and Praise" from which the choir often sings.
Filmed on Palm Sunday during his visit to the Holy Land, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry delivered his Easter 2018 Message while standing outside of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.
Saturday, March 30, our youth group will hide eggs all over Nativity for the benefit of our
pre-school and elementary aged children. And, because candy isn't enough sugar, we'll also
be feeding them ice cream! With toppings! But before we do all this, we'll need to recover our “Alleluia!” banner so that our celebration of the resurrection can begin! The fun begins at 3pm. EYC kids check with Steve on when to report to make preparations.
To prepare for Easter, we gather as a church family to tell one another the story that makes all the difference for our lives, the story to which we entrust our lives. Here's a quick reminder of all the unique ways we worship and live out that story during Holy Week.
Looking at Hymn 135, “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” one notices that this is a seasonal hymn addressing the themes of this Epiphany season. The repetition of "manifest" reminds us of the manifestation of Christ to all, not just the descendants of Israel. It covers the Baptism of Christ and the Transfiguration, which are the focus of the first and last Sundays after Epiphany. The wedding at Cana is also alluded to for those years with a longer Epiphany in which we hear in the lectionary Jesus’ first miracle. The tune name is "Salzburg," harmonized by Bach, representing some of the best hymnody in the German/Dutch/Swiss Protestant tradition.
Contrasting to this is Hymn 448, "O Love how deep, how broad, how high," which is used extensively in both the Lenten and Easter seasons, and usually several times in the Season after Pentecost. The allusion to the Love of God is obvious in the title, and regardless of the season, it sometimes is the most cohesive choice for coordinating with the Collect, Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle and Gospel of a given Sunday. The Tune is "Deus tuorum militum," alluding to the original Latin text, "O God of your soldiers." It is French in origin, written just after the death of Bach, and represents the "new school" of Roman Catholic hymnody that emerged as a result of the Counter Reformation.
Very often as we look toward Lent, we begin having conversations about our fast, that is, what it is we are going to give up during this period. This year, I invite you to prepare for Lent by focusing on what it is you’d like to gain.