All Souls’ Mass

Tonight the Renaissance Group had its first performance by being the choir for All Saints’ Church during their All Souls’ Mass. If you have ever been inside an Anglican or Catholic church, imagine a modest setting such as that, a small parish church with the altar raised above the nave, and the choir loft split in half with the choir facing each other. The service was wonderfully high church, and was refreshing to me, as I haven’t gone to a liturgical service since Easter. I’m a liturgy nerd and love the smell of incense (the choir was immersed in it tonight, my hair still smells likes it) and the preparation of the Eucharist. We sang the mass a capella in Latin. The priests wore their vestments, chanted the collects. The parish church still has an actual, real bell in its steeple and an acolyte rang it at various moments during the service. What is significant about the All Souls’ Mass is that it commemorates those in the parish who have died. So there is a point in the service where the priest reads aloud all the names of people who have died over the past year. May light perpetual shine upon them.

I enjoy going to the Baptist Church, but I am still drawn to the liturgical tradition of our faith, continuing with my exploration. I’m a good Protestant in that I don’t believe that such “trappings” are necessary to faith, for worship, or for salvation. However, I have yet to experience such reverence, respect or contrition in the more mainstream Protestant churches. We have much to learn from each other. In the past I would go to a liturgical service in the morning, a contemporary one in the evening, a really good Bible study, and had a strong Christian fellowship—only these varying circles did not overlap. I wish someday they will. I guess I really am just ecumenical at heart.

I was waiting to discuss my experience with rereading The Sparrow until today, as it seemed fitting to do so on All Souls’, but I’m still not quite ready. Soon.

I just realized that I will now be working in four (4) dead languages: reading Middle English, learning Latin and Old English, and transcribing Old Scots. My first Old English class meets in two weeks and I’ve already got homework.