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Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Little Chant Availeth Much


I hope some of you watched the Eucharistic Service this morning from Indianapolis.  If you didn’t, I hope Beth Felice will add the link to it.

The music was awesome.  There was a huge choir, along with organ and brass. The music was amazing. 

I will admit I was filled with joy when I saw our Bishop Smith process in with all the bishops.  I am so very grateful for his ministry!

Let me also express my gratitude that this was a straightforward service out of our Book of Common Prayer. No innovations, no diversions. This was a straight “Prayer C” from our BCP.  And the Eucharist was admirable in its simplicity.

I have always enjoyed our Diocesan Eucharists. The music is great, and the people sing so heartily.  This Sunday at General Convention was all that and more.  There were hundreds and hundreds of people present from all the dioceses of the Church.  The opening hymn was “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.” Never had I sung and prayed it more heartily, nor felt more supported by the hundreds of voices joined with mine.

My friends, we Deputies are fervently aware that we are speaking and acting on behalf of The Episcopal Church.  During the singing of that hymn, I often had to pause as my tears of humility flowed.   I fervently hope that we who are gathered in General Convention are listening to and heeding  the Holy Spirit.  Seldom in my life have I felt as humble as I do in this role.

Beth Felice has already linked the Presiding Bishops’s sermon.  I commend it to you. I was deeply moved by her challenge that our hands should be vehicles of blessing, grace, comfort, and healing.  Her words led me to focus more deeply on what I do in my daily life with my hands and heart.

All too often, people talk about General Convention as merely a legislative assembly. Those who do so forget the conversion that can happen to those who are present as we think and pray deeply about the Church.  I, for one, was converted in this assembly.  I hope the words I heard today will stay with me as I come home to my parish.

If you watched the webcast, you saw some great hymns throughout the service and during communion.  All those were printed in the service leaflet we had in hand.  But did you see what happened after Communion?  The great and glorious communion hymns ended, and people were still receiving communion.  I don’t know why or how it happened, but a great shift occurred.  The choir and all the gathered people moved into chants from the Taize tradition. Those chants – sung again and again  --  rising and falling – stilled my heart and moved me into the presence of the Holy Spirit.  They stilled and focused my soul.  In the midst of all the sturm und drang of General Convention and all its legislation, those quiet chants helped me find my center in the work that we are called to do.  They freed me from the anxiety of General Convention and called me back to the work of the Spirit. 

My friends, I earnestly wanted to be a Deputy to General Convention.  And I am honored to be here. I expected to vote on legislation. I have done so, and still have many days to do so. I have been delightfully surprised to find that this experience – while exhausting – has also deepened my faith and renewed my spirit to listen to the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia and amen.  

2 comments:

  1. ...and that's why I love Taizé. I remember one service at Trinity-Kirksville where every single one of us (including the vicar) out of the half dozen or so of us there had just come off of "a rough week." I looked around and everyone was singing deep from their heart. Eyes were leaking. There was this wonderful deep feeling of "one-ness" and I have never forgotten that night.

    All shall be well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, KirkE, for hearing me. Sometimes, there's nothing like a deep, heartfelt chant to restore and encourage the soul. I know you get that.

    ReplyDelete

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