31 January 2010
|Entrance||He comes to us as one unknown (Dudley Smith)|
|Penitential Rite||Remembrance (Marty Haugen)|
|Gloria||St Augustine's (Christopher Walker)|
|Psalm 70||My lips will tell of your help. (mtgf)|
|Gospel Acclamation||Salisbury Alleluia (Christopher Walker)|
|Preparation of Gifts||Faith, hope and love (Christopher Walker)|
|Eucharistic Acclamations||Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)|
|Lamb of God||Remembrance (Marty Haugen)|
|Communion||Love bears all things (Collegeville Composers Group)|
|Final||He who would valiant be|
These opening Sundays of Year C are very rich fare. Striking first readings: Ezra reading the word, the call of Jeremiah and Isaiah's vision of God next week; some of Paul's most familiar passages from 1 Corinthians and then foundational Gospels from Luke. It is interesting that today's first reading is not one of the two OT stories mentioned in the Gospel about Elijah and Elisha. I would suggest that the Lectionary compilers placed more weight on the task of a prophet than his reception and the necessity of speaking the word of the Lord. The relationship of the 2nd reading to the rest of the liturgy I think is complex - or at least not as simple as saying 'any coincidence is purely fictional'. Firstly all are viewed through the lens of the Paschal Mystery, secondly our understanding of that mystery is shaped by Paul, thirdly the Lectionary compilers did not put the epistles in any order but placed them. This is a long way of saying how do you understand what is probably most famous passage in this context? As a rule the more convoluted the connections the less certain the relationship. I offer two phrases in connection: 'If… I speak without love' and 'now I am a man'.
The music choices today divided equally between those directly with Paul's letter and those derived from the Gospel. A Sunday like this there seems to be a wide variety of possible choices and those who know my penchant for Huijber's Song of God among us might have expected an outing today. So choices can be about dismissal. Christopher Walker's Faith, hope and love with the verses based on Ubi Caritas I chose because I don't we sing it outside Maundy Thursday and it is nice to give an 'airing'. I wonder if anyone made a connection with our Advent Carol Service which used St Paul's texts a core? Love bears all things is one of the most simple and lovely chants in Psallite which I suspect could have a life of its own if people could see it in the density of the collections. Though the text of the verses fit the refrain well I wonder if there might not have been a choice that made connections with the Gospel — Psalm 32 (33) The Lord fills the earth with his love perhaps?
The opening hymn, He comes to us as one unknown, is found in Veni Emmanuel and sung to Repton (Dear Lord and Father of mankind). It struck me as 'well-made hymn' crafted to fit the tune and had a development of ideas. I am sure I may have used the phrase 'well-made hymn' pejoratively in the past — there are a number of contemporary US hymn writers whose texts I find well crafted, beautifully written with striking image and scriptural allusion but their very competence and polish means a density of thought which I find does not work in the Mass. The Dudley Smith text was not simplistic but had a clarity of thought which meant you could engage in text rather than admire it.
I have to confess to an uncertainty to the Mass of Remembrance Kyrie. We are singing it because we sing the Penitential Rite, it has an attractive melody and we have the music. But I am less certain of settings which jumble up Kyrie and Christe in the one text and where it is only sung once by all rather than in dialogue. You might say, 'Physician, heal yourself'.