02 July 2012

A Happy Memory

Once upon a time I attended a most uplifting Evensong using the 1928 U.S. rite where, after the Psalms were sung in Anglican chant, the Gloria Patri was not sung.  No, using the permissive rubric of that Prayer Book, the choir and congregation sang Gloria in excelsis Deo  to Sarum plainsong, and during the singing the Altar was censed as the congregation lit tapers one from another which they had been given before the service.  

The somewhat dark old church with poor lighting became ablaze with light.  A little child, a boy of perhaps three or four in his father's arms, looking all around the Church at the brilliant gleaming candlelight called out in joyful voice "Light of Christ! Light of Christ!  Light of Christ!" and the congregation in one of those rare spontaneous moments of angelic unity called out in resounding reply "Thanks be to God".

Upon another day I will explain the liturgical background for the use of Gloria in excelsis in the Evensong of The Book of Common Prayer, 1928, PECUSA.