Reflections from the Rector
When we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
These are lines from a post-Communion prayer found in the English liturgical resource Common Worship. I have been reflecting on the notion of “home,” while on pilgrimage with the Trinity Choir this week.
Halfway through our journey together, we are now well-ensconced in Salisbury, where we are serving as the choir in residence at the glorious 13th-century Cathedral. We have hit our rhythm now–a pattern of meals, rehearsals, rest, and Evensong, with the occasional sightseeing, tea, and card game (euchre of course) thrown in by some. After nearly a week of travel, a weekend singing at the amazing St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and several transitions in between, we are home.
We are home in the daily liturgies which are our primary employment here. The ordering of time and prayer in the Daily Office is a Christian practice that predates even this medieval cathedral. Mattins, which we sang at the Chapel, and of course Evensong, have arranged the hearts and minds of the faithful across continents and millenia. They bring us back, again and again, to the ancient stories and songs of our faith. The repetition of the Canticles, albeit in endless musical composition, provide rest and reset in its ritual.
Pilgrims have traveled to cathedrals to be reminded of our home in Jesus Christ.We gather at cathedrals to be lifted by their majestic art and architecture, and we are held by the knowledge that their ministries include holding the daily patterns of the Office sacred for us all, whether or not we are present. What a privilege for our choir to be a part of that holy holding here, where so many have for so long. We are at home in those patterns, the words of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, rising up to God in this place. And we make home for others, who like us journey to make their prayer with the ancients in this holy place.
There is a stone in the ambulatory at Salisbury Cathedral, where first-year choristers undergo a ritual of initiation by having their heads bumped against the rock 7 times. (See the images below with choristers from Trinity’s choir.) The stone is indented, worn smooth and curved, by almost a thousand years of choristers’ heads. The choristers, like the residentiary clergy and staff, live here, literally making their home in service, prayer, community, and music.
While we are not living AT the Cathedral (rather, at a lovely inn nearby), there is particular joy to being called together as a community of faithful musicians dedicated to this work this week. After years of disease and distance, the Trinity choir is reveling in making music together daily. We were so far off for so long, but now we are drawn together, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to this glorious Cathedral, to prayer and praise and music again, and to Christ our true home.
Thanks be to God!