Holy Week 2019
Until last month most people had never heard of Belleville, Ill, the home of the man who aimed a rifle at Republican members of Congress on a baseball field on Wednesday, June 14.
Belleville is a little town east of St. Louis. They have an Episcopal church there, St. George's.
And while I've never been to Belleville, I have been to Toddhall Retreat Center, which is run as a ministry of St. George's.
Toddhall is the location of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) St. Louis Course, which I attended last year.
This is a very tenuous association with political violence. My spouse, on the other hand, had a frightening experience in Washington, DC last year: she was under lockdown in Politics and Prose Bookstore as "pizzagate" came to its ignominious and dangerous end.
Last year, in what seemed to be a particularly violent summer, I wrote a bit about church music in a violent world. And since learning the shooter was from Belleville, my thoughts naturally turned to the music that I will make near there this week, and what liturgy and music generally have to say in this era of continual mass shootings and seemingly incessant police shootings of black people.
I'm on my way toward Belleville again this morning. At the 2017 RSCM St. Louis Course, which begins today, we will be singing Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).
In the midst of the 18-minute cantata, these words of Christopher Smart (1722-1771) are sung by the full choir:
For I am under the same accusation With my Savior, For they said, He is besides himself. For the officers of the peace Are at variance with me, And the watchman smites me With his staff. For the silly fellow, silly fellow, Is against me, And belongeth neither to me Nor to my family.
Being struck by the night watchman was serious. His job was to keep order, and his weapon was a staff.
The blow was often powerful enough to kill, and it is in this way that composer Michael Wise (1648-1687) met his end.
"He is besides himself."
Who in their right mind opens fire at a baseball game, we might ask? Or fires a shot in a pizza parlor?
But then there are the "officers of the peace" who are at variance with the crazies.
NBC News: Darren Wilson Described Michael Brown as ‘Crazy,’ Intent on Killing Him (25 November 2014)
Woe betide anyone who is at variance with the officers of the peace these days. Many of them smite first and ask questions later. They work under a system that has not found them culpable – not once.
Today is the Feast of William White (1748–1836), the Bishop of Pennsylvania who served as the first and fourth presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. The Collect of the Day begins "O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion..."
How much has changed since the times of Smart, Bishop White, and Britten. And yet we find ourselves in another time of turmoil and confusion.
Thank God for the blessing of words, music, and liturgy like this in a place like this.
And for the opportunity to come together to sing "with the spirit, and with the understanding also."
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the red (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.