Friday, January 15, 2010

Choir notes from Cassie

This Sunday, the choir will be singing an anthem by the 16th century composer Michael Praetorius. Edited down to four verses, this piece is an anthem for the season of Epiphany. What is very interesting is that the three verses omitted from the piece, when placed back in order, present the music as a nighttime offering. Here are the missing verses:

All-holy Lord, in humble prayer,
We ask tonight Thy watchful care.
Oh, grant us calm repose in Thee,
A quiet night, from perils free.

Our sleep be pure from sinful stain;
Let not the Tempter vantage gain,
Or our unguarded flesh surprise
And make us guilty in Thine eyes.

Asleep though wearied eyes may be,
Still keep the heart awake to Thee;
Let Thy right hand outstretched above
Guard those who serve the Lord they love.

With these added verses, it is restored to a prayer before bed, in darkness, with the contrast and comfort of Christ as Light. We look forward to presenting verses 1, 5, 6, and 7 at the 8:30 service.

Personally, in our household, we have started a tradition of lighting lamps and candles at sundown to remind us of Christ, our Light and Day. The picture above is our kitchen table. What traditions do you have that remind you of this?


  1. Cassie - I find it interesting that the practices of lighting candles and bedtime prayers are so nearly universal among religious traditions. Personally, I always find that a morning jog best reminds me of the beauty of the new day and the morning light (that is, when I can actually drag myself out of bed!).

  2. It is easier to drag oneself out of bed now when the sun does not rise until 7. However, the daily and seasonal light changes are certainly a part of the universal human experience. Is this becoming less true as people spend more time in climate-controlled environments?

  3. I think that the studies of chronobiology, circadian rhythms, and thermoregulation are all very interesting. Alan, your question is very germane. Our bodies have the ability to maintain homeostasis with our environment (weather, daily light rhythms, etc.). The way I see it, when winter time came, (pre-climate control), we would settle into survival mode: we would fight to stay warm and fight to fill our bellies. Now, with forced air heating, and a smorgasbord of food readily available from warmer climates, we don’t have to fight for life much in the winter. I think that humans learn, adapt, and grow through challenging situations, and that the current mainstream culture of the standardizing and corporate control of basic human needs causes us to plateau, - even dip into deep valleys - which separate us from the rhythmic renewal that God has created self-sufficiently in our beautiful, natural world.

    My apologies for my run-on sentences and for straying so far from the subject of sacred music, but it all does connect! We need our liturgical rhythms also.

    Readers, what is the meaning to you of “Sacred Time”?