Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Epiphany in its place

We celebrated The Epiphany tonight. And yes, we were celebrating the feast on its proper day rather than on Sunday morning - because of the incense. Part of me, I suppose, was incensed because of this - resentful at not being able to have the service on the Sunday - but I was mistaken. Tonight's Eucharist, celebrated in the very early evening, was special in the same way that the Christmas Midnight Mass was special.

Even before the service began, the high ceiling of the nave was beginning to appear hazy with the smoke drifting through from the sacristy. The darkness outside created the expectancy and the lack of the ordinary which seemed fitting for such a day - the day in which we picture the extraordinary visit of the Magi to a very ordinary young woman who had become the god-bearer. This day, the culmination of the strange and wonderful events of Jesus' birth, must have have seemed totally strange to her, and that strangeness drifted into the church tonight as we waited.

In the event, those of us who were there felt special. It was beautiful, mysterious and powerful as we prayed for the country where it all began. I found myself glad that we had saved the feast for its proper day. And we all found ourselves applauding Mr B for his final organ piece - a wonderful evocation of the strange procession over the desert, harness bells and all.

A cold coming we had of it? Yes, but it was worth it!

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