Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Service High and Anthems Clear

On Sunday, our congregation sang The Litany from the Book of Common Prayer, an act of solemn prayer for our nation and for the world in a time of crisis. As is our manner on such occasions, the Ministers and Choir sang The Litany in procession, with the congregation joining in on the responses from their places in the pews. While singing, the Ministers and Choir perambulated once around the nave and then down the central aisle into the sanctuary. For a small parish, we managed to muster quite a good procession, 13 in number: crucifer, light bearers, banner bearer, choir, deacon and priest.

This day was also the birthday of R. Vaughn Williams (here pictured). Williams was musical editor of the English Hymnal and the first Oxford Book of Carols. These two items probably rank rather small among his many other great achievements, but the music of the Church is so enriched by these two volumes that we have to mention them with deep gratitude and admiration. Our commemoration at Saint Bartholomew's consisted of several hymn tunes written, arranged or harmonized by Williams, selected from our Hymnal, 1940. Those included Monk's Gate, Down Ampney, Kingsfold, King's Lynn, and King's Weston. At Communion time, our head chorister shone brightly in a solo performance of The Call, from Williams' Five Mystical Songs. The text of The Call is a poem by the Jacobean priest, poet and divine, George Herbert. The performance was beautiful and even electrifying: one wonders, how can such a young person sing with such understanding and depth? All in all, I think our Sunday Service might have been worthy of a much larger parish, if not a small cathedral. We are blessed.
Natural Fire
The predominant color of the Puget Sound flora is definitely green, underscored by brown. Yet, here and there one finds a splash of color, as with the Autumn display of the cherry tree outside our Church. The leaves are a muted red, and the color is enhanced further by the shiny red cherries. As you can see, it provides a beautiful contrast within the understory of our Douglas Firs. Sitting in the pews of our Church, one can easily be beguiled by wonderful views of nature through the large windows!

Benedicite, omnia opera Domini.