Easter 2019

℣Christ Arose!
Alleluia!
℟Christ Surely Arose!
Alleluia!

Christ is Risen
A 18th century Ethiopian Orthodox Icon

Happy Easter – Buona Pasqua – Joyeuses Pâques

The Gospel of Mark 16: 1-8

And the sabbath being [now] past, Mary of Magdala, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, bought aromatic spices that they might come and embalm him.
And very early on the first [day] of the week they come to the sepulchre, the sun having risen.
And they said to one another, Who shall roll us away the stone out of the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they see that the stone has been rolled [away], for it was very great.
And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right, clothed in a white robe, and they were amazed and alarmed;
but he says to them, Be not alarmed. Ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, the crucified one. He is risen, he is not here; behold the place where they had put him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter, he goes before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said to you.
And they went out, and fled from the sepulchre. And trembling and excessive amazement possessed them, and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.

Darby Translation – John Nelson Darby – 1890

Why weepest thou?

Though I my times in churches these days are more for sightseeing than worship certain observances of the High and Holy Days still resound for me both spiritually and culturally. As I have done very good Friday for the past 44 years I listened to Francesco Corteccia’s 1527 Passione secondo Giovannias spoken by Arnoldo Foà and sung by the Schola Cantorum Francesco Coardini. Foà narrates the story of the Crucifixion in 16th century Florentine Italian and the chorus sings the responses and meditations in Latin. Any linguistic barrier is broken by the familiarity of the story and the glory of the spoken and sung word.

I made this video of excerpts from Corteccia’s Passione secondo Giovanni with the remarkable altar piece by the da Maino Brothers in the Renaissance collection at the V & A.

And once again this year for Holy Saturday I am posting the glory of the words of the King James Bible as spoken by Dame Patricia Routledge. In her home parish of Chichester Cathedral she recounts the events of Easter Sunday as found in the Gospel of John Chapter 20.

April 20th is Look Alike Day – you are encouraged to emulate someone you admire by trying to look like them as much as possible. Obviously not a day for individualists!

A Midnight Tale

A tale told in the midnight hours is as old as story telling itself and one of the age-old traditions on the island of Corsica is to retell the story of the Crucifixion as midnight approaches on Good Friday. On his album Il Racconto di Mezzanotte Marco Beasely begins the tale with a prayer to the Virgin, tells of the Crucifixion as experienced by a Centurion, and sings the lament of a follower – perhaps Joseph of Arimathea – by the tomb. The lamentations of Mary are heard but broken into by her rejoicing in giving birth to Christ in the words of the Magnificat. And finally the storyteller once again invokes the intercession of Mary and asks for forgiveness. The midnight tale becomes one of the Offices of Holy Week as celebrated by a community not of monks but of ordinary people.

Lamentu a Ghjesu

O tù chì dormi
In sta petra sculpita
D’avè suffertu
Da colpi è ferite
Dopu d’atroci martiri
Persu ai ancu la vita,
Oghje riposi tranquillu
A to suffrenza hè finita.
Ma eo sò
Ind’una fiamma ardente,
Brusgiu è mughju
Tuttu ognunu mi sente,
Sò i lamenti di i cumpagni
È d’una mamma li pienti
Chjamu ancu à Diu supremu
Ci ritorni stu nucente.
È fù per quella
Cun spiritu feroce
Da tanti colpi
È viulenza atroce
Chjodi à li mani è li pedi,
Quessi t’anu messu in croce,
O Diu da tante suffrenze
Fà ch’eo senti a to voce.
Oghje per sempre
Tutta questa hè finita,
Avà sì mortu
Hè persa a partitat,
Oramai in Ghjerusalem
A ghjente hè sparnuccita
Vergogna ùn ci ne manca,
Morte sò a fede è vita.

Corsican text by Ruccco Mambrini
Music by N. Acquaviva/T. Casalonga

Jesus’s Lament

O you who sleep
within this sculpted stone
and have suffered
blows and wounds,
after atrocious torments
you have also lost your life:
Rest in tranquility today,
your suffering is over.
But I know
that in an ardent flame
I burn and cry out
and all the world hears me:
These are the laments of the companions and the weeping of a mother
who prays to almighty God
that you return to innocence.
And this is the story
where, with ferocious spirit,
with many blows
and with atrocious violence,
with nails in your hands and feet,
these people have placed you on the cross.
Oh God, of this suffering
let me hear your voice.
Today and forever
all is finished.
Look at yourself: you are dead,
you have lost the game,
now in Jerusalem
the people are bewildered,
there is no more shame,
faith and life are dead.

Translation by Candace Smith

April 19th is Garlic Day and World Marbles Day – not sure I’d want to get close enough to play marbles with someone who is celebrating Garlic Day.

Where There Is True Charity

Today is Maundy or Holy Thursday in the Western Christian Calendar. The word Maundy derives from the Middle English maunde; which comes from the Old French mandé; that leads us back to the Latin mandatum or command. On that day as he celebrated the first evening of Passover Christ gave his followers a commandment to love one another even as he had loved them. A commandment that could be considered a cornerstone of the early Christian faith.

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There are several ceremonies that are linked to Holy Thursday in many branches of Christianity. The most common is the reenactment of Christ washing his disciples feet – a ritual that has it’s roots in the ancient ceremonies of welcome to guests. In many cultures water would be offered to a guest to wash the dust from their feet. Often there was a servant to assist but it was not uncommon for the host to assist in the washing of an honoured guest or one of higher rank.

The 4th century hymn Ubi Caritas has long been used as the antiphon for the ceremony as it speaks to the that new commandment that Christ is said to have given his followers. The version most used begins with the phrase Ubi caritas et amour, Dieu ibi est– where charity and love are, God also is. An earlier version that we hear in this Gregorian setting tells us that Ubi caritas est vera, Dieu ibi est – where there is true charity, God also is. It is this text that is often used in the Roman Church today.

The Gospel of John – Chapter 13: 4-5/12-17/34-35

4. He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his vpper garments, and tooke a towel, and girded himselfe. 5. After that, hee powred water into a basen, and began to wash the disciples feete, and to wipe them with the towell, wherewith he was girded

12. So after he had washed their feete, and had taken his garments, and was set downe againe, he sayd vnto them, Knowe ye what I haue done to you?  13. Ye call me Master, and Lord, and ye say well: for so am I.  14. If I then your Lord, and Master, haue washed your feete, ye also ought to wash one an others feete.  15. For I haue giuen you an example, that ye should doe, euen as I haue done to you. 16.  Verely, verely I say vnto you, The seruant is not greater then his master, neither the ambassadour greater then he that sent him.  17. If ye know these things, blessed are ye, if ye doe them.

34. A newe commandement giue I vnto you, that ye loue one another: as I haue loued you, that ye also loue one another. 35. By this shall all men knowe that ye are my disciples, if ye haue loue one to another.

Geneva Bible – 1557-1560

April 18 is International Jugglers Day and also High Five Day – an interesting combination.

Until the End of Time

I have made well known my aversion to today’s celebration or at least as it is celebrated here in North America. However in honour of Ireland – and not the person (real or fictitious) who destroyed the old ways – I wanted to post my favourite “Irish” song. One that I’ve posted before but that I rejoice in every time I hear it. The harmonies in it are truly amazing and the song itself is a slightly melancholy but still joyous recollection of simple things.

Éire go Brách – Ireland until the end of Time

March 17 is Submarine Day – I’m not sure if it’s the sandwich or the boat!