There's a remarkable Vigil service hidden in the Book of Common Prayer, but you have to know just where to find it.
You'd think that the Vigil of Pentecost might be found after the Great Vigil of Easter, but it's not.
In fact, it's not explained within "Proper Liturgies for Special Days" section of the prayer book, but above the first collect for Pentecost.
On page 175, above the Rite I collect, and again on page 227, above the Rite II collect.
The instructions read:
When a Vigil of Pentecost is observed, it begins with the Service of Light, page 109 (substituting, if desired, the Gloria in Excelsis for the Phos hilaron), and continues with the Salutation and Collect of the Day. Three or more of the appointed Lessons are read before the Gospel, each followed by a Psalm, Canticle, or hymn. Holy Baptism or Confirmation (beginning with the Presentation of the Candidates), or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows, page 292, follows the Sermon.
So we're collecting page numbers as we go. It's a scavenger hunt kind of service.
If you consult the prayer book lectionary (page 917) you get these choices:
Genesis 11:1-9 or Exodus 19:1-9,16-20a;20:18-20 or Ezekiel 37:1-14 or Joel 2:28-32 Acts 2:1-11 or Romans 8:14-17,22-27 John 7:37-39a
Here's where things get really fun. The "ors" in the lectionary don't insist on three lessons the way the rubric for the service does. At face value from the lectionary citation, you could read Genesis, Acts, and then go ahead to the gospel. Note that this is only two lessons, and not three. So, there's a problem here. I would suggest that probably a minimum of two Old Testament lessons should be read.
More on this in our next installment.
You've just missed the annual commemoration of the "Ice Saints". These three saints are commemorated on successive days in May, and after which time, you can safely expect that there will not be another frost. No more ice. (But there is often a cold snap around this time of May, isn't there? How delightfully folkloric.)
Please note that different localities have different groupings of Ice Saints.
The Episcopal church commemoration of Boniface confuses things (he is June 5). The other Ice Saints are not commemorated in the calendar, nor are there any commemorations May 11-14.
The BBC Evensong broadcast typically does celebrate one of the Ice Saints, with the annual broadcast of Evensong from St. Pancras Church, as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.
This year's broadcast is now available for listening online (or will be shortly after this post), and will remain available for the next week.
"You can kill people with sound."
Arvo Pärt says this in this revealing conversation with fellow musical innovator Björk.
This video is a blast from the past. We previously blogged about it in a post with the rather ingenious title "madness - umlaut".
And when we think about the nature of music, we are confronted with music's "power". This inherent property of music is simultaneously reassuring and terrifying.
Of course, sound is literally energy. So is light. So is everything around us.
And it leads us to think about the nature of this mysterious spiritual "power" of mysterious things in this world in which we live.
The late, great modern gnostic George Gurdjieff claimed to have the power to kill a yak some miles away and to put an elephant to sleep just with the power of his mind (see "Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch (1872-1949) - elephant dormition ability of")
Our bodies are, perhaps, centers of this mysterious power. Or at least nodes in the matrix-fabric of universal power-ness. Or something.
How do we use our bodies, these engines of creativity and performance?
This and other questions come to mind as I consider the wonderful subtitle to Sarah Barker's book The Alexander Technique, "the revolutionary way to use your body for total energy".
Wild. Total energy. What is that?
"In art everything is possible, but everything [that] is made is not necessary."
It's surely possible to use this energy for good. As Pärt suggests, to use it for life.
Time to kill some yaks.
1 May 1863 - Jefferson Davis's s 5-year-old son Joseph E. Davis was buried from St. Paul's, Richmond. Joseph fell from the stairs of the White House of the Confederacy and died, just a few blocks from the church.
It's time now for the latest episode of "Ask Mr. Liturgy Person". Mr. Liturgy Person believes strongly in the principles of good liturgy, as well as scripture, tradition, reason, and the Oxford comma.
Q: Is this treatment of EASTER HYMN and the following instrumental arrangement of a chorus from Handel's Messiah [appeared in the original video, posted on the website of the parish in question, now a private video] appropriate for liturgy?
A: No. In fact, the rubrics restrict Saturday Night Fever to the Vigil.
To be clear: it does not seem that any of this is appropriate. Mindful of the fact that local congregations have their own tradition that supersedes denominational customs, this performance doesn't seem to be in keeping with what we generally understand as the best practices of sacred music -- in whatever "style".
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