VOLUME 3, NUMBER 22, APRIL 22, 2012
A Season this important needs to be celebrated and elevated as much as possible. While we all know about the requirement for Alleluias in certain parts of the liturgy during these fifty days, and all of the great metrical hymns of this season, these are only the tip of the iceberg as far as liturgical enhancements of the season go. Over the centuries the Church has found a great many ways to celebrate the season of Easter.
For example—the 20th Canon of the Council of Nicaea (the same Council that gave us the first draft of the Nicene Creed) reads:
Forasmuch as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord's Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere (in every parish), it seems good to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing.
In other words, according to the Council of Nicaea, we should not kneel for prayer during the great Fifty Days (what's referred to in this canon as the Pentecost) of Easter. In most places Anglicans, to emphasize the victory of Christ and the Easter Season as a time of celebration in contrast to the time of preparation and penitence that is Lent, the Confession of Sin is dropped during the Great Fifty Days. We follow this tradition at the 10am Mass.
One of the more interesting features that Grace Church has added to our Easter Season liturgies at 10am is the Victimae Paschali Laudes (Hymn 183). As I wrote last year, this hymn—specifically for the Easter Season—is one of the four Sequences that remain of the great collection of Sequences that traditionally welcomed the coming of the Gospel with Alleluias (except during Lent). The others were the Veni Sancte Spiritus (for Pentecost—Hymn 226), Lauda Sion (for Corpus Christi—Hymn 320) and Dies Irae (for requiems, though this has been suppressed since Vatican II and is not included in the Hymnal 1982). On the Sundays in Easter we have been singing and will continue to sing the traditional Easter Sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes in its original setting before the Gospel. Please pay attention to this theologically rich text as we sing it for the next few Sundays.
And speaking of theologically rich texts, I would like to draw your attention to the Pascha Nostrum (see The Book of Common Prayer, p. 46 and 83), a text not used or, sadly, even known by most Episcopalians because most don't pray the Daily Office. The Pascha Nostrum (Christ our Passover) is to be said or sung in place of the Venite each morning throughout the Easter Season. I love praying this text (taken from two passages of 1 Corinthians and one from Romans) and can still hear it (and sometimes sing it) in the setting to which I am most accustomed (the Plainsong version at S 46 in the Hymnal, which we would sing at Matins each Sunday during Easter at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Times Square). It's impossible to forget one is in celebration mode when praying this text each morning.
These are far from the only liturgical enhancements to this season. If you pay attention, you'll notice many more. The Fifty Days of Easter continue. Happy Easter!
HELP FIGHT HOMELESSNESS IN BERGEN COUNTY... Please join and/or support Team Grace Westwood on Sunday afternoon, April 29, as we participate in Bike Bergen. Last year, 15 of us walked three miles, or biked 15 or 25 miles, raising over $3000 which was split between Family Promise of Bergen County and Christ Church CDC. See Larry Sunden if you'd like to participate.
SONGS OF HOPE CONCERT... This Sunday Grace Church will host a special benefit concert for Peace4Paws. From 2 – 3 PM there will be a concert by the Palisades Opera Company, featuring selections from Verdi, Rossini and Mozart. A reception and exhibits begins at 3 PM with food, raffles and information about pet rescue and adoption. At 3:30 PM there will be a musical theater concert featuring Broadway show tunes. Tickets for both shows are $30 adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 children under ten. Purchase tickets at the door. All proceeds support sanctuary for retired research animals at Kindness Ranch, the Hudson Valley Humane Society, Beagle Freedom Project and Mylestone Equine Rescue.
FOOD FOR FRIENDS, AN EASTER THOUGHT... Easter is the greatest feast of the Christian year and Christians feast in more than one sense. The Easter season lasts for 50 days, and surely during this time we can reach out to include needy persons in our celebration, especially by donating to the Food for Friends food barrel on Sundays through Pentecost, May 27 this year. The Food Pantry wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's CDC and marked Food Pantry. Send checks directly to St. Paul's at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501.
Thursday, May 17
Sunday, May 27
Sunday, June 3
Sunday, June 10
Ministers of the Assembly
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