Yesterday was the first Sunday of Lent, and the first such service I’ve experienced in the Episcopal church. The service, during Lent, varies greatly from the rest of the year, and includes choral chanting of the Great Litany. St. Andrew’s is fond of the 1928 version of the Book of Common Prayer, and both services are essentially Rite I, with the 10:00 service including music. That’s the one we attend.
I realize that much of Lent revolves around seeking attonement, and yet, rather than feeling like a supplicant, I found a great sense of peace during the chanting of the litany. There’s something sort of Zen about choral chanting, about a rote response to the cantor’s verse, about the half-spoken half-sung phrases that pushed thoughts of self out of my head and let me just be.
Fr. Young mentioned during his sermon that one of the old guys who attends the morning mass, the one without the music, commented that recitation of the litany was punishment for all wrongs, and that his response was, “You think it’s bad to recite it, at the 10 AM service they SING it.” We laughed, of course, because the line was offered in a way that elicited laughter, but I couldn’t help thinking that I like the singing. It’s so restful, hearing the chanting resonate in and around you.
This church community is small, and the congregation tends to be older, though that’s slowly changing, but it feels very homey to me – welcoming and thought-provoking, intellectually challenging, sincere. I’ve come to really like it.
Oh, and for the record: I’m giving up cheese. I thought about going off caffeine, but Fuzzy feared for his safety. And I’m far more addicted to cheeese than to coffee, anyway. But, because I also believe that this is a time to expand horizons and do Good, we’ve joined the “Drive for Life” community on LiveJournal (thanks Jacobine), which arranges transport for animals being adopted from rescue, or being moved from kill-shelters into foster- or forever-homes. We volunteered for a trip in March, but they said they’d filled it after all, so we’ll keep watching.