Posts Tagged ‘evensong’

Evensong at St Paul’s

November 1, 2011

Saturday evening Pandora and I attended evensong at St Paul’s.

Evensong was created by Thomas Cranmer from the sevenfold monastic cycle of prayer – the two offices of Vespers and Compline are combined. It is sung daily in most Cathedrals, and is similar in the text to Mattins.

Evensong is a ritual, an invocation to help the invisible to cross the transition zone and manifest in the visible world.

We were lucky, we were at the front under the dome.

Looking up I could see the church was dripping with wealth. Contributions from the City Guilds, the forerunners of today’s City Institutions.

It was the second day after St Paul’s had been closed for a week, not that anyone seemed to know why it was closed.

The sermon was surreal. Greed and wealth and poverty, and yet no mention of the camp outside, no mention or explanation of why St Paul’s had been closed for a week, no explanation why St Paul’s would wish to take legal action against the camp outside.

The church was a full house. The camp outside was not impeding access or discouraging people from attending evensong.

Whilst St Paul’s was closed Flash Evensong organised evensong on the steps of St Paul’s.

Flash Evensong at St Paul’s-in-the-Camp

Earlier in the day we had attended Sermon on the Steps.

Sermon on the Steps at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

Beautiful sung evensong

May 27, 2011

Beautiful sung choral evensong this evening with Guildford Cathedral Choir at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

Sometimes we need these rituals. Instead of going away reflecting on the words of the priest, we immerse ourselves, experience the glory.

I was about to go home, when in walked a Danish choir, Simple Singers. Please join us they said. How could I say no? [see Danish rhythmical choir visits London and Guildford]

Sung evensong in Holy Trinity

January 21, 2011
Holy Trinity Guildford

Holy Trinity Guildford

There is a passage in The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho, where something happens, causing a delay. Why has this happened? It is a cause for reflection, in the same way as synchronicity is a cause for refection.

We have been jolted out of our time frame, we are on a different path. There was a reason for it.

On my way to Guildford, the man at the station had a problem issuing with me with a ticket, which meant I missed my train and had a 40 minute wait in the cold for the next train. My whole day was out of kilter.

I made use of the wait to call a friend, the times thus passed quickly.

I was late having my lunch. I did though as a consequent meet a lady who was organising an art exhibition of works by veterans who were suffering war trauma. The exhibition ‘Having the Courage’ (11 January – 8 March 2011) was mounted by Combat Stress.

Founded in 1919, Combat Stress provides specialist help to ex-Service men and women who suffer from Service related psychological injury. The title for the exhibition is from an observation made by one veteran about the challenges of engaging in a creative pursuit. ‘Having the courage to give it a go’ can open up a whole range of new possibilities. Apart from gaining a sense of achievement, art-making also provides an important and pleasant distraction from intrusive memories of past trauma.

This made me later than I meant to be visiting a local market in Guildford. I was buying some lovely yellow tomatoes, a voice in my ear, the wife of my friend who I had spoken to earlier. We had a wander and a chat.

I could then have gone home, caught a train, before everyone finished shopping and left work and the trains are horribly overcrowded, but I decided no, I would climb back up to the top of the town to hopefully see a lady who had broken her wrist. I had with me Chinese balls and I had suggested the previous week she used them as fairly non-strenuous exercise. She was not there, had gone home early.

I walked further up to the Oxfam Bookshop. Overpriced but that is another story. The previous week I had had an interesting conversation with the guy in the shop about Orhan Pamuk and Paulo Coelho. He told me he had liked Veronika Decides to Die and I recommended he read My Name is Red which was sitting on the shelves.

Synchronicity: Paulo Coelho posted on his blog Veronika as his Character of the Week.

Sychronicity: Whilst we were talking a young guy walked to the counter with a pile of books in his hand. One if which was My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.

Sychronicity: The guy I was talking to in the bookshop had until recently been living in Istanbul. Istanbul is where Paulo Coelho will hold his St Joseph Party this year (19 March).

Sychronicity: Paulo Coelho had a few days earlier posted on his blog the significance of vespers.

Walking back down the town I noticed the lights were on in Holy Trinity and it looked like there were some people in the church. It is sadly so rare these days to find any church open, that you takes the opportunity when you can.

I had stumbled upon sung evensong by the choir from Guildford Cathedral, which was due to start in ten minutes time. This was the second time I had stumbled upon. The previous occasion was summer 2010. I decided to stay.

The format appears to be fairly fixed, singing interspersed with two readings, the first from the Old Testament, the second from the New Testament. It may even be more prescriptive than that as when I asked later of the Rector for chapter and verse he looked it up in his diary.

God’s Covenant With Noah – Genesis 9:8-19

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.

Man has a Covenant with God. He broke that Covenant. Man is the Custodian of Gaia. Man despoiled the environment around him. He laid waste to the Earth and Civilisations collapsed. Now he lays waste to the Planet. The End of Days? [see Christian Theology and Gaia]

The parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Note: a talent was worth about 20 years of a day labourer’s wage.

I always have problems with this passage. Jesus, with one or two exceptions, associated with the poor not the rich. Was it not more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven, than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? Are we not required to relinquish our earthly possessions, to help the poor and those in need? I see this as a refection on the ills of society, the widening gap between rich and poor. The rich get richer whilst the poor get poorer. The rich use their wealth to accrue more wealth, the poor struggle to make ends meet and get by with what little they have, they cannot afford to speculate, to take risks. Never has this been more true as it is today, and yet as Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank has shown and the Church Urban Fund, if the poor are given a little helping hand, they can be quite enterprising. [see Tackling poverty together]

I learnt that Holy Trinity (sister church of St Mary’s) are discussing the sale of Israeli so-called Peace Oil at St Mary’s. This can only be a good thing, and well done all those who raised its sale. Hopefully Holy Trinity will reach the right decision and not permit its sale. It should not be on sale on either moral or ethical grounds, and if the church does not set moral and ethical standards who does? It would also be contrary to the church’s own declaration that it is a Fairtrade Church! [see Peace Oil or taking the piss?]

I picked up two copies of Blessed Trinity – Music from Holy Trinity Guildford. Two copies because I did not have the right money for one copy!

On my way home, I met a lovely French girl on the train!

All what happened today would not have happened but for a series of delays, each of which, starting with my missing my train, led to the next delay.

Note: Vespers is the evening prayer in the Orthodox Church. Evensong is the equivalent in the Anglican Church.

Top story in The Prayer Daily (Saturday 22 January 2011).

St Nicolas: A Taste of Silence – An 11 week course on Christian Meditation starting at 8pm on Tuesday 1 February 2011.

The Good Book Tour: The Story of the Common Bible in English. The Millmead Centre, Guildford 7:30pm Saturday 12 Feb 2011.

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