Reflections

Weekly reflections from one of the Cathedral clergy.

Prayer resources

 

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Pilgrimage resources

 

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Date: Friday 30 October

Eucharist

Led by: Jenny Vereker

Date: Friday 30 October

Evening Prayer

Led by: Mark Haworth

Date: Thursday 29 October

Evening Prayer

Led by: Barbara Sherlock

Date: Wednesday 28 October

Evening Prayer

Led by: The Dean

Music Reflections

Music reflections with accompanying words by members of the clergy are posted at 2 pm Monday to Friday on the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

Please note that the daily Music Reflections will be taking a break for half term (26-30 October). They will be back on Monday 2 November.

Date: Friday 23 October

All the Wonder that Surrounds Us, arranged by Richard Hubbard for piano, voice and flute.

The words are from the Wild Goose Resource Group, which is a part of the Iona Community based at Iona Abbey on the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides. The tune is the Welsh melody “Ar Hyd Y Nos”.

Flautist: Ruth Dennigan

Singers:
Rachel Parsons
Deborah Edwards
Martin Steadman
Hugh Pakenham

 

“How can we revere God’s goodness meant for all time? How to ensure each uniqueness keeps in its prime?”
I felt these lines in John Bell’s ‘All The Wonder That Surrounds Us’ today, because they indeed ask how we can do things that we are not doing. The goodness of creation, even at a time when we are more aware of our impact on nature than ever before, seems still to be way down on our list of priorities. Huge areas of natural beauty are being gouged out for high speed rail lines – apparently even trees formally revered for their beauty and age do not merit reverence in the face of ‘progress’. One of a multitude of affronts towards our natural heritage; hardly ensuring that the uniqueness of creation is kept in it’s prime.

Neither do we see the uniquenesses of humanity being kept in its prime – in fact we are now waking up to the ways that our society has ensured the opposite has been the case for Black, Asian and minority Ethnic people in this country and indeed in the Western World, which took the prime of those people’s lives and used it for its own ends…

How can we revere creation? How can we ensure all creation reaches its prime? Bell’s hymn suggests that God’s peace, God’s justice and God’s love are the key to transforming our hearts, minds and souls, and thus transformed we can begin the work of reverence and preservation of God’s goodness, God’s holiness, God’s sacredness in all creation. And where do we begin to be transformed? How to set out on this journey? At the side of a manger in Bethlehem, more than two thousand years ago…

Date: Thursday 22 October

Procession Royale by George Baker. Performed by our Music Advisor, William Saunders.

Reflective words by Rev’d Sarah Geileskey, Cathedral Curate

 

George Baker (1951- ) the American composer, organist and dermatologist composed Processional Royale just five years ago, dedicating it to organist Sir Stephen Cleobury of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. We hear the instrument flourish in this trumpet friendly B-flat major key as the procession draws closer and the excitement level rises.

Words from Psalm 98

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

We might expect such a ‘royale’ procession to be saved for special occasions and celebrations – so on this ordinary mid-week day may this musical reflection help to sustain us as we remember with gratitude those times of celebration past and look forward to a time when one day soon, we shall again burst into jubilant song!

Date: Wednesday 21 October

Tuba Tune by C.S. Lang. Performed by Elli-Mae McGlone, Organ Scholar at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Here’s a midweek voluntary to lift our spirits and send us bouncing into the rest of the week with renewed energy.

Craig Sellar Lang was a New Zealander who settled in Britain in the early 20th century.

Many church musicians will be glad to have learnt their skills with his Hundred Tunes for Sight-singing practice, score reading exercises to help play four part vocal scores and string quartets and tests to learn to harmonise at the keyboard. They are all so well-written that practising was never chore.

Go forth into the world in peace.
Be of good courage.
Hold fast that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Show love to everyone.
Love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
and the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Written by Canon Stephen Mitchell

Date: Tuesday 20 October

O for the Wings of a Dove by Felix Mendelssohn performed by Choral Scholar, Emily Mustoe.

Apart from his oratorios perhaps the best known and most popular of Mendelssohn’s small-scale choral compositions in the English-speaking world is Hör mein Bitten (Hear My Prayer). It is a paraphrase of the first seven verses of Psalm 55 and the canvas on which Mendelssohn engages in some very expressive word-painting.

Few symbols have a tradition as long and as rich as the dove. In addition to its symbolism for the Holy Spirit, the dove was a popular Christian symbol before the cross rose to prominence in the fourth century.

In sending out the Twelve, Jesus said to them, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16 KJV). The NIV says, “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Make no mistake about it, Christians are sent. Jesus prays to his Father in John 17:18, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” In identifying with Jesus, Christians are not only “not of this world,” but also sent right back into it on a redemptive mission.

Nineteenth-century pastor Charles Simeon provides a wonderful comment on the serpent and dove imagery: “Now the wisdom of the one and the harmlessness of the other are very desirable to be combined in the Christian character; because it is by such an union only that the Christian will be enabled to cope successfully with his more powerful enemies”.

Date: Monday 19 October

How Willing My Paternal Love from Handel’s Oratorio ‘Samson’, performed by St Edmundsbury Cathedral Chorister singing tutor, Colin Baldy.

In the text used for this oratorio, Milton’s Samson is not the Samson of the Old Testament, a folk-hero who is good at riddles, a conventional strong man, primitive in intellect and emotions. Rather Milton touched Samson with the grandeur of a Greek tragic hero. Samson Agonistes literally means ‘Samson, the Wrestler’ and Milton means, by this name, to designate the moment of Samson’s greatest feat of strength when he wrestles the pillars of Dagon’s temple to the ground. But Milton also means much more. His Samson suffers physically but he suffers even more spiritually. Milton’s Samson Agonistes is a man wrestling with himself, in agony from his own inward turmoil. Milton’s Samson may be a symbolic commentary on the meaning of blindness. What is it, he asks, to see clearly? What does it mean to be blind? Milton’s answer is clear. Samson’s enemies are blind, for they do not see that arrogance and pride make men mad; they do not see that violent men call for their own destruction. And in their blindness the Philistine tyrants, in sport call for Samson who at last sees clearly what his divine calling had always been: to die for the freedom of his people.” Loving God, let there be light in the eyes and futures of those who live in darkness. Let us see clearly the difference we can make when we share your good gifts freely to restore hope to those whom others overlook. May we give our lives in your service. Amen

Date: Friday 16 October

Suite pour Orgue Op. 5 – Sicilienne by Maurice Duruflé, performed by David Rees, St Edmundsbury Cathedral Virtual Organ Competition Winner Advanced Class.

Maurice Duruflé apparently felt uneasy about having his works published lest they prove to be imperfect in some way. That word ‘perfect’ seems to be at the root of damaging behaviour. The brutal toll that ballet takes on the bodies of those who strive for perfection in dance; lives poured into artistry at the cost of social interaction and the feverish pursuit of greatness that will erode our very humanity.

And yet when it is reached, perfection is often beautiful, and can seem as if it is the divine goal we have been reaching for, although the terrible pedestal it rests on might tell us otherwise.

However, in Jesus we see that our imperfection is how we are perfected. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them that Jesus spoke to him, saying “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Where we lack, God fills the rest, and as we place our trust in Him, we are perfected. Perfect imperfection! And perhaps this is the most beautiful and divine perfection of all.”