SUNDAY (Fourth Week of Advent)
Now salvation history is revealed. In the story of the Incarnation, it becomes clearer. Is it really, then, just a fairy tale? A legend?
Mary’s peon of praise:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour.”
Travelling down from Lincolnshire, I arrive just in time for Communion. It is enough.
I love this scene from the Baptism of John:
“The father [Zachariah] asked for a writing tablet and wrote ‘His name is John’.” (Luke 1:57)
So firm is his opinion, and so final.
Too much shopping to do. How often do we go to the Mass of the 24th December. It is a pity. Zechariah says his might prayer, the power of speech restored:
“And he has raised up for us a power of salvation, in the house of his servant David, even as he proclaimed by the mouth of his holy prophets.”
THURSDAY – Christmas
Midnight Mass. I was nervous. They asked me to read the first reading of Mass in the Cathedral. I talk for a living, but reading a text to 2,000 people in the Cathedral and many more on radio. And this is for God. I don’t want to read too fast or too slow. At the rehearsal, the BBC man tells me I am reading a little too fast and too loud, my besetting faults.
It goes ok, and afterwards I promptly get a nose bleed, the blood dripping on the service sheet.
But what poetry from Isaiah 9:1-7: “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow, a light has shone.”
And always reminiscent of Handel:
“For there is a child born for us: a son to govern us, and dominion is laid upon his shoulders. And this is the name they gave him: wonder counsellor, mighty god, eternal father, prince of peace.”
A glorious Mass. At the end one walks out into the London night, the service overcome with beauty, smell, incense, prayer, and music, and the word.
FRIDAY – St Stephen
I love this Mass. The tree and lights and flowers still up, but the Cathedral now quiet and nine-tenths empty. A beautiful reminder that the crib leads directly to the Cross.
“But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into Heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand.” (Acts 6-8)
Later we drove up through a blizzard of snow into the Wolds, the car sliding, but mercifully arriving at our cottage.
SATURDAY – St John the Evangelist
Another beautiful Mass. Father Mark Vickers says it for us in the Holy Rood, and the Gospel is the defining moment. As John writes into the empty tomb “He saw and he believed.”