Belated greetings for Holy Week. I do hope no one has missed anything as a result. A little parental difficulty, now thankfully resolved, has kept me busy the last few days.
However, notwithstanding the late delivery of the Pew Notes for Holy Week, there is still much to participate in this week.
Tonight Wednesday 4th April:
5:30 Choral Evensong (Men’s Voices) Plain Song Responses and Canticles (tones V and VIII), Lamentations part 2 Tallis
6:15 Reconciliation Evening. Led by the Chemin Neuf Community (www.chemin-neuf.org ) There will be prayer stations available around the Cathedral, with the opportunity of Sacramental Confession. If you have never experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), it is well worth it. None of us, least of all me, is without sin, and an opportunity for “spiritual flossing” as it was once memorably described to me, is a great aid to preparation for Good Friday; indeed it does help to put the events of Our Lord’s Passion into proper perspective. It’s not complicated, and I’m sure the Chemin Neuf community will be very happy to lead you through the process. HOWEVER, it is not a compulsory part of the evening worship, and you can still take much from the evening without engaging in Sacramental Confession.
8:30 Choral Matins…yes folks we have finally achieved Choral Matins, if only (for now) during Holy Week. Why not drop in on your way to work?
Chrism Eucharist took place on Monday, so if you weren’t there….too late.
12:05 Midday Prayer for Christian Unity led by Chemin Neuf
5:30 Said Evening Prayer
7:30 Eucharist of The Lord’s Supper with washing of the feet. Also the stripping of the Altar, which will return from Passion colours to Lent Array for this purpose. One of the most moving services of the year. I am assuming there will be the usual opportunity to keep the watch night Vigil after the service has concluded. Music is as follows: Ubi Caritas Durufle • Byrd Mass for 3 voices • Psalm 116 • Love bade me welcome Vaughan Williams• Lamentations part 1 Tallis…Cue tongue in cheek aside about curious juxtaposition of the Tallis Lamentations, not to mention my annual observation on the continuing absence of Tenebrae Responses, either on Holy Wednesday Evening or at Matins on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (see previous years Pew Notes on lost opportunities for thoughtful worship and wonderful music!!)
10:30 Way of the Cross. Closest we get to doing the Stations of the Cross, in which the whole congregation use the entire Cathedral to trace the sign of the Cross, whilst the choir sing, and the Clergy read the Stations of Our Lord’s Passion at various places around the Cathedral, before we descend into the Tomb (The Well) and out into the world in silence. Pretty certain some Byrd (Ave Verum), Bach, and the Lotti Crucixifus (8 part) will feature.
12:30 Three Hour Devotion. Led by Chemin Neuf. This will be a time of quite prayer and reflection, with meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ…There’s a fantastic setting of this by Heinrich Shütz should you wish to get in the mood for this, also one by Haydn for the more classical era amongst you (try Spotify, where you can also find a very good recording of the Tenebrae responses by Carlo Gesualdo).
7:30 No Story So Divine. A sequence of words and music for Holy Week. I may be incorrect about this, but I believe Chemin Neuf are involved in the selection and presentation of the texts for this year. Arrive early, if only to enjoy the spectacle of yours truly trying to persuade the sound system to work…I still have nightmares about last year!!
3:00 Said Evening Prayer
8:30 (note time) Vigil Eucharist For Easter Eve….Apologies for last week’s mis-information; although this service is not being sung by the Cathedral Choir, it is being SUNG…indeed you, the congregation are going to be let loose on the propers of the mass, and the psalms …so limber up your vocal chords in the car on your way to the service. However WARNING…I was stopped by one of Liverpool’s finest yesterday on suspicion of using my mobile whilst driving…you try explaining to the bemused girl in blue that you were in fact, singing along to Bach’s St Matthew Passion (John Eliot Gardiner recording)!! A group of singers from the Cathedral will also be joining us. Anyone who’s been to Compline this week will know that they’re very good indeed. Thank you Mr Bishop.
6:15 am For the early birds amongst us all Sunrise Service on top o f the tower. In other words, you really need to arrive no later than 6 in order to allow time to get up to the top (two lifts + 108 steps if you haven’t done it before). However, your hardiness will be rewarded with Easter Breakfast after the service, which is very inviting for those of us dreaming of our first bacon buttie in six weeks!! Cost is £2 (under 11’s free). Contact 0151 705 2191 for more information. Obviously if there’s a big take up, you may have to arrive earlier to allow time for everyone to get to the top.
10:30 Festive Eucharist for Easter Day: Preacher is Rt Revd James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool. Music is as follows: This joyful Eastertide Wood • Dove Missa Brevis • Easter Anthems Bullock •Christians shout for joy Bach • Haec Dies Byrd • Lindley Now the green blade Two things to note, the Mass setting is new to the repertoire (it did have an outing minus Gloria during Lent) and has been very kindly sponsored by Bill Purves, for which many thanks. Also the welcome return of Hæc Dies (so much so that they’re doing it again at Evensong!)
3:00 Festive Evensong For Easter Day: Preacher: Canon Precentor Christians, shout for joy Bach • Responses Smith • Psalm 66. 1 – 11
Leighton Second Service • Hæc dies Byrd
11:15 Easter Monday: Organ Recital by Ian Tracey
The Choir return on 22nd April, which is notable for the presence of Most Revd & Rt Hon John Mugabe Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Primate and Metropolitan of England, who will be leading our Worship at 3pm, which is the annual Healthcare Service and Prayer for Africa. There will also be an higher than usual number of French nationals around, as the Cathedral Western Rooms is acting as Un Bureau De Vote (polling station) in the French Presidential and Legislative elections this year. So if you find any lost looking visitors clutching polling cards and baguettes, please direct them downstairs.
As we enter the last few days of Lent, why not try and find some time to reflect on the Passion story, and on the enormity of God’s love for us through the sacrifice and resurrection of His only Son. That is a very difficult concept to get your head around. Often a former offender will say to me “but I’m not worth it, why would anyone die for me, let alone the Son of God?”…well none of us are worth it…except we are to God, for whom as his creation, we are very important, and we are made so by the transforming love of God through His son.
As it’s still Lent I am resisting the temptation to sign off with the “A” word…but here’s looking forward to its use on Sunday
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