Advent started today.
Being at a cathedral it may be viewed as quite traditional inthe way this is celebrated, and I think this morning it pretty much was with the lighting of one of the candles in the Advent Wreath.
One of the thing that has ‘challenged’ me is that during the gradual hymn (I don’t know … google it!) some who are presiding stay seated while the congregation and choir stand. The rest of the ministers follow what the priest presiding does. I have felt uncomfortable with the sitting thing and so when presiding I would always stand. This week that changed as everyone sits as, I learned today, this particular hymn is to be sung as we relfect on the reading we have just listened to. The sitting thing make ssense now.
This evening we celebrated Advent again and the service, although traditional in a setting of nine lessons and Advent hymns and antiphons was stunning in its creativity and journey. Neil, the Precentor (person in cathedral responsible for all worship – and very good at it) designed a service where the boys and girls choirs sung from different parts of the cathedral, came together, and then separated again …. causing us to think and notice the journey from west to east and we thought about Mary and Joseph’s journey of similar direction.
The music and choreography tonight was quite stunning and powerful and gave an excellent example of how space can be used both powerfully and meaningfully. It also illustrated how spolit we are in the cathedral with the standard of choirs that we are blessed with.
Tonight I was excited because I came away with ideas that I think would work in a traditional building but in a pioneering or fresh expression setting. As a pioneer I am often mistaken as someone that wants to throw everything out and bring in totally new stuff, when actually I think it is more about looking at our tradition and reframing in a way that is meaningful and engaging for 21st century people that are searching for God but don’t normally feel able to find him in church as it is.