yrieithydd: (Cross)
As well as being the day of the UK General (and some Local) Election(s), today is Ascension Day. Good service this evening at LSM. Much better attended than Pip and Jay but still nothing compared to Easter which is a shame! But then again many colleges were doing stuff* so various people who'd been around at Easter were probably at their colleges.

*We managed an 8:15 Communion with 6 students and the chaplain. We then had breakfast in the buttery. Good conversation.
yrieithydd: (Cross)
`Favourite quote this Easter: The cross was the victory won. The resurrection was the victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated. (John Stott)'

That was the response I had from an evangelical friend to my text of 'Alleluia! Christ is risen!'. On one level, I was amused because he was one of the two people to whom I sent that message where I was doubtful about getting the 'right' response.* On another I just went 'no, no, no' (and showed it to a friend (who coincidentally knows the person concerned) who agreed with me). On a third level, I thought 'that demonstrates exactly what I mean about evangelicals downplaying the Resurrection and reducing it to no more than a rubber stamp.

Having lived through the events of that week from Palm Sunday to Easter Day once again, this time against a very odd week, this quote just missed the point so spectacularly. As Mark said, 'thousands were crucified'. It is the risenness which changes the disciples sadness and fear to joy. Cleopas and friend trudge to Emmaus and run rejoicing back to Jerusalem after their encounter with the Risen Christ.

It is not possible to separate the crucifixion from the resurrection, one needs both for the event to be. Without the resurrection there would have been no victory.

Christ the Lord is risen today; Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens; thou earth, reply: Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle won:
Lo, our Sun's eclipse is o'er,
Lo, he sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
Death in vain forbids his rise;
Christ has opened Paradise.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where, O death is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save,**
Where's thy victory, boasting grave?

Soar we now where Chrsit hath led,
Follwoing our exalted Head;
Made like him, like him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies:

King of Glory! Soul of bliss!
Everlasting life is this,
Thee to know, thy power to prove,
Thus to sing, and thus to love:

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrestion thou!

(Charles Wesley 1707--88)

**AMNS, HP gives Once he died our souls to save. Without the Companion to Hymns and Psalms I don't know which is the original so I went with the one I prefer. The next line in AMNS is Where thy victory, O grave?. I'm trying to put together an earlier version from AMNS and HP and my memory of the Companion! Thus I've guessed which way round the last two verses of each book would come!

*As yet I've not had a response from the other.

Christmas

Feb. 5th, 2005 10:59 pm
yrieithydd: (Cross)
Mmmmmm, we've now had Candlemas and the post I was intending to right about Christmas has not happened.

So here are some thoughts, on mainly relgious matters and as much for my memory as anything )
yrieithydd: (Cross)
On the website of Peterborough cathedral at the moment is the following:

An Event Not To Miss: 06 January 2005, 17.30 - The Epiphany of Our Lord - Sung Eucharist.
Now Chapel has always been more Christmassy than I would like at the Carol Service but I'd allowed myself to hope this year as it was being acvertised as Advent Carols (and not as Christmas Songs of Praise). The Chaplain had admitted on Friday that it was rather more Christmassy than that and that he had been unable to bring himself to write that on the front of the service sheet. However, I was committed to mulling the wine for it. So I turned up yesterday to do that. At which point fun ensued as the executive chef seemed to think that it was sensible to mull wine in a tea urn. I was thoroughly unconvinced by this (especially given the limescale on it) and so, remembering the saucepan I `inherited' from my German housemate*, I went back to fetch it. This did indeed hang by its handles down into the urn, so I could mull wine in that and then put water in the urn, put the pan in the top and heat the urn to keep the wine warm for the service. During this, I got a chance to see the service sheet and I came very close to leaving after mulling the wine and heading down to LSM. However, I didn't. I wish I had. I left the chapel during the third hymn and spent the rest of the service listening from the crypt and keeping an eye on the mulled wine!

I coped with Once in Royal (verse 1 solo, verse 2 choir, verse 4 all, verse 6 all (with descant))+. However, when we got to O Little Town I found I couldn't bring myself to sing it. I nearly left then, but didn't. I got through a couple of readings a choir piece and then when we stood to sing O Come All ye Faithful, I stood up and slip out down the steps (thankfully I was positioned right by the stairs so I could keep and eye on things). I went into the crypt. I could still listen to the service but didn't have to participate. To be fair the choir stuff wasn't quite so oppresively Christmassy as the hymns (we had In the bleak and Hark the Herald after I left), but there was no mention of Advent at all and the Chaplain's sermon was Epiphany!

At least in my first year, when it was advertised as Christmas songs of praise we began with Adventy stuff and moved on to more Christmassy stuff which was at least a compromise between liturgical purists like me and people who want to keep Christmas with their friends before they go down. It was, due to the vagueries of term, on the feast of Christ the King.

I really don't understand this keeping Christmas with your friends thing. As I said to a friend the other day, `I love Advent and don't want it spoilt by Christmas!'; she agreed and then laughed as she realised the absurdity of the statement! On one level, I don't care what other people, especially those for whom Christmas is only about giving gifts and having fun (and getting drunk) and not about the Incarnation of our Lord do, but why does the Church have to pander to them? Advent is important. To miss it out is to miss out some of the important themes of the Church year. The joy of Christmas is greater having had the preparation of Advent. Up until then Advent had started well. Before Compline on Saturday, I suddenly grinned as I realised that the Office hymn would be Creator of the Stars of Night which I love. Then Advent Sunday at LSM was good. There was something stark about the sanctuary party processing in to the Advent Prose being sung unaccompanied. The Vicar's sermon was good too. Good hymns, though I am disappointed that I got to the end of Advent Sunday without having sung either O Come, O Come Emmanuel or Lo, he comes.

*Ie he left it behind so I started using it
+I use the verse numberings of AMNS. I don't understand this choice as if I were singing 4 verse of it I'd go for 1, 2, 5 and 6.

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