We have begun Holy Week, 2017. Palm Sunday: The Sunday of the Passion, these were very moving services at 8 and 10 am. We began this journey with shouts of “Hosanna in the highest”! and concluded our liturgies in quiet contemplation, looking towards this Holy Week of services. The fourth verse of the German chorale, Herzlich tut mich verlangen, the Passion Chorale by the Renaissance composer, Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) and harmonized by the great Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), says much of my faith and my desire for this holy week and beyond.
“What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend, for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end? Oh, make me thine forever! And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never, outlive my love for thee.” (Translated by James Waddell Alexander (1804-59)
The musical language I hope to bring to this Holy Week, with the assistance of Our Saviour and guests, is one of drawing us closer to the drama of each service through music.
Tenebrae, Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm
The music, the language of the Renaissance, composers, Victoria, Palestrina, Croce, Handl, Viadana, and Anerio, are particularly poignant for the words of these meditations. Tenebrae (Latin for "shadows" or "darkness") is a Christian religious service celebrated in the Holy Week within Western Christianity, on the evening before or early morning of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Tenebrae is distinctive for its gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings and psalms are chanted or recited.
In Monte Oliveti (On the Mount of Olives) begins our journey, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass…” We tell the story in words with the reading of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the Treatise of St. Augustine, the Bishop on the Psalms, a reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, and three sets of Psalms sung by the ensemble, the people joining, singing the Refrains.
Maundy Thursday, the beginning of the TRIDIUM, is another service beginning with the GLORIA, we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist, and then, FOOTWASHING, and the Celebration of Holy Communion. The quintet sings a communion motet, “Take, eat” by the Los Angeles composer, Fred Bock. Then we watch as the Altar is STRIPPED BARE, we sing “Psalm 22, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” We process to THE ALTAR of REPOSE: our time for meditation in St. Luke Chapel, remembering the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sign up for your time during the night (9 p.m. until dawn, 7:00 a.m.) to reflect on your life in Christ, your love of OUR/YOUR SAVIOUR.
Good Friday, Noon to Three O’clock – the clergy will speak on the “Seven Last Words of Christ”, we will pray the Solemn Collects for Good Friday and sing hymns, unaccompanied as points of meditation on the Word. Come and go as you are able, and during that period of time, WALK the STATIONS of the CROSS, set up for you outside on the beautiful grounds of this special place, The Church of Our Saviour.
Good Friday evening, 7:30 pm, we read the lessons for this day, then the choir and guests present a setting of the Passion: “The Crucifixion, A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer”; the libretto by The Rev. William J. Sparrow-Simpson and the music setting by Sir John Stainer. Hymns are interspersed as the congregation joins the choir and meditation on the Passion.
THE GREAT VIGIL of EASTER, we gather at 7:30 pm as the New Fire is lit, the Lighting of the Paschal Candle, and then we enter the darkened church and sing “The Light of Christ”, Thanks be to God! and hear the Exsultet, “Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels…” We then hear the “record of God’s saving deeds in history, how God saved God’s people in ages past…” Five lessons and psalms bring us to “Alleluia. Christ is risen. Te Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!” DO NOT MISS this FIRST SERVICE of Easter.
EASTER Day we gather for three services, 7am, Rite One Eucharist in Grace Chapel, 9am, Rite Two Festive Eucharist with the trumpet, Children’s Choirs and the Handbell Choir and 11am Solemn Choral Eucharist/Bilingual (incense) with brass quartet, timpani and choir.
HOLY WEEK: find time to spend time with us in meditation and worship. I know your soul will be blessed and your spirit and life enriched with words, prayers, music.