By JR on Sunday, December 25, 2011
Four of us got to the sung Eucharist at St. John's cathedral in good time this morning. We arrived early so got good seats. It was a great celebration.
The opening hymn was that great hymn of faith: "O come all ye faithful". With a mighty organ located high up near the stone-vaulted ceiling and a big congregation lustily singing, the performance was as impressive a beginning to the service as one could wish. And the ecclesiatical procession with its various crosses, banners, vestments etc was so long that it lasted almost until the end of the hymn. Practically everyone associated with the cathedral must have been present and robed up.
Just about everything that could be done in an Anglican service was done, including a good bit of Anglican chant, which I rather like. It has a sort of eerie and timeless feel to it for me. I imagine that they did something similar in the temples of Isis and Osiris in ancient Egypt.
The censer was deployed energetically on several occasions, so much so that the transept was almost filled with smoke at one stage. Quite strangely however, I heard no bells during the service. "Bells and smells" normally go together
But we got to sing a lot of the great traditional hymns so that was the best part. Being an atheist, I don't participate in the prayers but I can't resist the hymns. They are a wonderful testimony to the faith that built Western civilization.