Friday, November 25, 2005

Day 4 – A New Anthem at St. John’s

I’m going to skip that it was a good day with lots of wandering about and another nice Evensong at King’s. I did pray before King’s that I would worship well. I noticed I was focusing so much on choirs, music, art, and architecture that I wasn’t experiencing this trip as a pilgrimage as much as I intended.

Well God answered that prayer rather quickly. Evensong at King’s meant a lot to me. It was interesting that there was no organ tonight. But I think that actually helped add an even more reverent atmosphere.

But then I ran over to St. John’s for their Evensong. Maybe that’s cheating, but oh well. They had a change in the program. Instead of There is no Rose, which I was looking forward to, they did a new anthem commissioned for the special Advent services this weekend, The Cry of Elisha After Elijah.

Now, I’m not a big fan of modern church music, but this piece is excellent. And the last verse had me silently crying afterwards during prayer (Words by R.S. Thomas after the Welsh of Thomas William):

The friends that we loved well,
Though they vanished far from our sight,
In a new country were found
Beyond this vale of night;
O blest are they, without pain or fretting
In the sun’s light that knows no setting.

After the service, I shook hands with the Music Director, Dr. David Hill and said the new anthem was an excellent choice and that I looked forward to hearing it again Sunday. He cheerfully responded, “Well, here’s the composer!” And Geraint Lewis shook hands and I thanked him, saying it brought tears to my eyes.

What wonderful worship I experienced tonight! I could have floated out of the chapel. I was so joyful and thankful.

I’m even more glad I have a ticket to Sunday’s special service at St. John’s. And you can listen with me! BBC Radio 3 will broadcast it, including on the internet, this Sunday on a half-hour delay I think. Here’s the details (You’ll have to scroll down a bit.). 18:30 should be 12:30 noon Dallas time. And it should be available online for a while afterward.

Something you won’t be able to experience is seeing a chorister pick his nose and look like he was about to fall asleep while singing the responses. ;^)

No comments: