Monday, December 26, 2011

A magnificent Christmas occasion

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.

A snippet of the ecclesiastical procession, led by Archbishop Aspinall

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 ecclesiastical 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. Joe reckoned that the guy with the censer seemed to be having the most fun

Even though I had my hearing aids in, I could not understand a word of the sermon. The PA system at the cathedral is rather amazingly bad. Anne however tells me that it was about relationships and such things -- but with no mention of the wonders of the incarnation. VERY C of E!

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.

After the service Joe and Cianne took tea with me for a while, while Anne had to zoom off to get to lunch with her children.

Jenny put on a lunch for just 5 of us at 1pm, which was very traditional: turkey, ham etc. It was good of her to do both a Christmas eve party and a Christmas day lunch.

Anne came back to my place for Christmas night. After big lunches we were not very hungry so I made us some ham and pickle sandwiches on toast for dinner -- using leftover ham from lunch. That is my usual Christmas night fare.

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