Vicar’s Blog ~ August 2019
Well what a Patronal weekend we had! A stunning and well-attended Organ Spectacular at which John Rippin, Keith Beniston and Jonathan Marten played wonderfully, including a topically themed improvisation on ‘Blue Moon’ by Keith. After delightful fizz on the lawn, we adjourned to the Hall, where Judy Smith had prepared a bumptious dinner of cold salmon and wicked deserts, which, combined with the thoroughly excellent company made for a splendid kick off to our Patronal celebrations. Many people have commented on what a wonderful evening it was.
On Sunday morning we enjoyed the organ is full liturgical colours, played again by John Rippin with Jonathan directed Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’, with Caroline Smith placing some lovely solos, especially in the Benedictus. Stanford’s Te deum in B flat gave us the ancient tradition of singing a Te Deum in celebratory thanksgiving – a great work to get one’s lungs behind!
And then on Sunday evening we were joined by friends from St Andrew’s, Enfield and St George’s, Letchworth for a full-blown Choral Evensong, with anthems taken from Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia. We heard of how:
But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ’s praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above.
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:
When to her Organ vocal breath was given
An Angel heard, and straight appeared –
Mistaking Earth for Heaven.
The new trumpet stops blared forth as we sang:
As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the blest above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.
Bishop Rob preached and dedicated the new organ, with these words, interspersed with words from a hymn by Fred Pratt Green (When in our Music God is glorified):
Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, King of peace, we dedicate this king of instruments to your glory and ask your blessing upon it. May its jubilant chords always re-echo the deep tones of praise as we sing spiritual songs and make melody in our hearts…. be in the hands and feet and hearts and voices of all who lead your praise and extol your glory from the manuals and pedals of this organ. Bless it to our use in your service that it may be an instrument of grace and joy to inspire us in faith, hope and love.
Another glass of fizz followed and we felt we had truly blessed, and been blessed by our wonderful investment in a newly refurbished organ, and will continue to be so for decades to come.
You can read and listen to Gordon’s Patronal Sermon ‘Moonstruck Mary Magdalene’ here.