Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is risen .....

Easter garden
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
On this Easter morning, it seems strange to be blogging instead of worshipping - a matter of logistics, when there are three congregations and one priest. But I have indeed celebrated the Resurrection - last night, at the Paschal Vigil service. Think Christmas Eve, with daffodils and a warm(ish), still night so that the candles didn't blow out and the congregation huddled in the darkness didn't freeze to death. Think yards of plainsong - the Exultet, which I sang (the first time a woman has sung this in the past 30-odd years in Holy T) along with KB to do the specifically priestly bits. Think Alleluias and a new setting of the Scottish Liturgy by John McIntosh, aka Mr B.Think joy and excitement.

And if all this sounds a tad strange if you know the nature of our church, with its damp walls and peeling paintwork, our small and aging congregation and lack of money, then think again. For a start, of course, the message of Easter doesn't change because you have a cash-flow problem. But it's not just that. I have occasionally worshipped in big city churches, where there is order, hordes of well-drilled servers, a clutch of clergy and visible youth presence. But I have never felt as moved as I do here, in the solid dark of the countryside (that's another thing: Holy T. is so far out of town as to be unaffected by street lighting), where the New Fire leaps and crackles dangerously under the trees and the Paschal Candle is the only illumination as we enter the church. The screech of a distant owl is less disruptive than the roar of traffic, and the crack of twigs underfoot can't have changed in two thousand years.

I was in a state of some tension before all this began; the Exultet is very long and I have a tendency to go sharp when excited. But when it came to the bit, even though I could barely see the music, the excitement seemed to be translated into the joy of the proclamation itself and I've never felt so absorbed and focussed.

Of course things go astray in the strangeness of a special service - but this is real life too - no? An aleatoric alleluia, the strange colour of the water used to asperge us (was it the jug? or the water from the back tap?), the vanishing incense (it returned) - none of this mattered. In fact, I don't think it was noticed at the time. It was wonderful. All wonderful.

And then we had the bubbly at the back of the church .....

Note: The Kilbride Mass will be available after copyright clearance.


  1. It is quite something that I need to consult my Oxford Concise dictionary just to read your blog!

  2. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Just for the record, I have stumbled across the general shape of the aleatoric alleluia twice today. First in the ECUSA hymnal (#206)and again on the daily service. Shame I wasn't a bit more confident of it at the time...