Sunday, December 04, 2005

Day 13: A Four Service Day

Today, my last day in Oxford, is a four service day, which has to be a record for me.

First, I went to a quiet 8am Holy Communion 1662 BCP service at St. Michael’s at the North Gate. I was the youngest there, of course. I wanted to take communion in a traditional way, in part so I wouldn’t have to make a decision in case I felt uncomfortable with the goings-on at Christ Church later.

After the service we had a breakfast of tea and toast – very English – and fun conversation. They were amused to hear there are places in Texas where you can’t buy liquor.

Then was 10am Mattins at Christ Church Cathedral. A nice service, proclaimed by much bell ringing outside. You can tell I like that, don’t you. And I was quite impressed with the choir. The boys were a bit exuberant. They seemed very happy to be there to worship the Lord at the beginning of the service. They also surreptitiously conversed and threw bits of paper at each other during the sermon.

Oh. I sang “Lo, He comes” all the way through. First time.

I stayed for the 11:15am Sung Eucharist. Their services are by Christ Church time, by the way, which is five minutes slower than normal time. (Imagine the fun if it were the other way around.) This service wasn’t so nice. Crap modern liturgy, not overtly obnoxious, but wearisome. They even modernized the Lord’s Prayer. And the only male I can remember saying anything (other than the choir) was the lector for the first lesson.

The choir again was excellent though with some making faces at each other. So I’m about to go back for Evensong.

This afternoon was actually sunny. So I just walked around for a bit. I think I’ve discovered one reason Americans are fat – their dependence on the automobile. In Oxford and Cambridge and in most of the world, people actually walk to get where they want to go, even if they are walking to a train or bus. Other than running to Westminster Abbey, my only exercise has been walking to get around. And in spite of my increased beer intake, I don’t think I’ve gained a pound.

Evensong was excellent with good liturgy. One chorister began it by flicking the ear of the one next to him. I don’t know which of the three choral foundations in Oxford is the best. All three are quite good, to put it mildly. But I know which one is the most entertaining.

And go to Evensong early, and you might catch the end of their practice. You can’t do that with the other big choirs.

I have to put in a word for the organist as well. I want to say his name is Clive-Smith, but I can’t swear to it. His preludes and postludes were top notch. He can play very calming and peaceful pieces well . . . and he can rock!

Tomorrow morning, I attempt to get to Canterbury. Don’t be alarmed if I don’t post for a couple days, however. I might wait until London to bother to get online. (And forgive any typos in this post. I want to eat, pack, and get to bed.)

No comments: