Adapted from a personal blog March 2013)
How holy is this night,
when wickedness is put to flight,
and sin is washed away.
It restores innocence to the fallen,
and joy to those who mourn.
It casts out pride and hatred,
and brings peace and concord.
Jesus rose from the dead in the “dead of night” (sweet irony!). That’s why Mary Magdalene, arriving at the tomb “while it was still dark” (John 20:1), found the stone already rolled away. And so, Christians of the ancient church started their Easter service on Saturday night, and didn’t finish until the sun rose on Sunday.
Taking our bearings from ancient practice, Christians in the liturgical tradition recapture the wonder of what we call Great Saturday. In anticipation of the joy of Easter morning, we keep Vigil on Saturday night. During the Saturday night service, we light the Paschal Candle (which had been removed from the sanctuary before the Ash Wednesday service), read large blocks of Scripture that rehearse God’s redemptive plan, baptize new believers, reaffirm our own baptisms, and share a celebratory Eucharist. Some churches, like ours, include “The Great Noise”: a very, very loud Easter acclamation involving church bells, organ, and informal noisemakers (“More cowbell!”).
A few years ago, I committed to memory the “Exsultet” the mid-1st millennium-chant that opens the Saturday night Easter Vigil service. Ever since, I have found myself constantly ruminating over the “Exsultet’s” profound words of hope. The chant reminds me of how many ways Christ’s death and resurrection impact us.
How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. The ancient church’s instinct was to take the Exodus as the central motif for Easter. Christ’s resurrection destroys our enemies – sin and Satan and death – in the same way the collapsing walls of water demolished Pharaoh’s army. Christ’s resurrection means we pass through judging waters on dry ground; and the waters close behind us, washing away all guilt and shame, all “consciousness of sin” (Heb 10:2).
It restores innocence to the fallen… Imagine three of the “fallen women” of Jesus’ ministry: the woman at the well in John 4, the woman who washes his feet in Luke 7, and Mary Magdalene (contrary to tradition, not necessarily a “working woman” – simply, according to Luke 8:2, possessed by seven demons; which to me, is “fallen” enough). No wonder that on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene wanted to embrace the One who had gone into Hell to silence those demons forever (John 20:17). Imagine how tangled were the relationships of the woman at the well (“you’ve had five men, and the man you have now is not your own”) – we’re spared the details. We don’t know how much got untangled in this life. We do know Jesus gave her boldness to go and bid her neighbors to come and consider Who he had shown himself to be to her. Like the woman of Luke 7, she has been forgiven much, and thus loves much (Luke 7:47). Part of the gift his resurrection secures is the restoration of purity.
… and joy to those who mourn. Not too long ago and just after her 92nd birthday, my senescent mother died. During her long decline, there were many bouts of “sundowning,” with weeping and regret. The sad thing about watching her go during her last few months was that hers had been a remarkable life – one of joy and service and fulfillment, and of faith in Christ and hope of resurrection. Her slow demise and recurrent unhappiness put me in mind of so many traps of joylessness: bitter divorces, marital infidelity, wayward children, gossip’s fruit, schedule stress, substance abuse, church infighting. Jesus’ resurrection means gloom and sin and sorrow do not win – senescence is but temporary, bitterness will give way to dancing, and earth’s shackles will yield to a “new earth’s” freedom. There’s good news for my mom and for the rest of us: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Because Jesus rose and now reigns and will one day return, every tear will be washed away (Rev 21:4). The curse of the Garden’s tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be lifted (22:3; see Gen 3:17), and we will have access to the tree of life, with its “leaves for the healing of nations” (Rev 22:2; see Gen 2:9; 3:24).
Deep down, my mom knew that. Every day during her last year we would read Psalm 23 together, and no matter how bad the day’s funk had been, she would slow down and say with emphasis: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me AAALLL the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forEVER!”
It casts out pride and hatred and brings peace and concord. The voices in an increasingly contentious and fractured society are self-righteous and pugnacious and vitriolic. Dear Lord, may theological discourse and church government – from the blogosphere to classrooms, and from pulpits to church board meetings – refuse to ape the pride and pretense of secular politics. How blessed, by contrast, to be reminded that Christ’s resurrection promises that a church built by the blood of martyrs and by the good news of peace will eventually prevail.
Exsultet! Rejoice! More cowbell! How wonderful and beyond all knowing is the mercy and loving-kindness of a God who makes all things right. Praise be to the Father who began the right-making at Jesus’ rising in the “dead of night,” who, by the Spirit, is working it out in the now, and who will bring it to perfect completion at Jesus’ return and the inauguration of eternal day.
Thursday, in the second week of Lent, Father Rob from St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, offered the following homily during the weekday Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend Eucharist during the week, Lent is a good time to try. Monday through Friday, beginning at 12:05 p.m., this quiet, reverent, intimate service gives us time to pray and celebrate Holy Eucharist with clergy from all over the Central Florida Diocese. This past Thursday, Father Rob’s homily was as poignant as it was charming. Don’t miss the quote at the end by the band 4 Him. It’s gorgeous!
Ashlie Darley, Librarian
The Yergey Library
Billy Ray Valentine rolled up to Randolph and Mortimer Duke on an old piece of plywood with wheels on the bottom, and cried out, Merry Christmas, Viet Nam did this to me but I’m not bitter; spare change? Then one of the Duke Brothers smacked him on the head and said, I have no money to give you. And a doorman rolled Billy Ray away from the entrance while Billy Ray protested, I really don’t appreciate this.
That’s the opening scene from the movie Trading Places starring Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy. I thought about that scene when I read this parable. Lazarus, broken and battered, at the rich man’s gate, While he, in his purple robes ate well, All the while, refusing to help the poor man at his doorstep. And like Lazarus, in the end of the movie, Billy Ray is given a life of luxury, a beautiful yacht in the Caribbean While the duke brothers end up out on the street and homeless Absolutely convinced that they did nothing wrong .
It seems that even when they lost everything, they still didn’t get it. I read this passage to a friend the other day and asked them what they thought it meant. The rich man didn’t take care of Lazarus so he was banished to hell. But then they paused and continued, Wait, that can’t be right. That sounds like the rich man had to earn his way into heaven Isn’t that works righteousness? That is the potential problem that people sometimes glean from these words We know, absolutely, that our entrance into heaven cannot be earned. It cannot be bought. But no matter...
For followers of Jesus...
The price has already been paid...
We are guaranteed a place at the table of the heavenly banquet Jesus Christ did that for us on the cross
So why is this rich man in Hell? Martin Luther described "the him" as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A man who appeared one way on the surface, but underneath was quite different. He looked nice, elegant clothes, beautiful home, great wealth, but he was missing a spiritual life. He could have read the scriptures. He could have listened to the teaching of the prophets. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to savor his riches and ignore God’s law. He was not what he appeared to be.
The great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon said Those who choose evil shall have their choice. Men who hate divine mercy shall not have it forced upon them, but unless sovereign grace interpose, shall be left to themselves to aggravate their guilt and ensure their doom. They have loved darkness rather than light, and in darkness they shall abide. Eyes which see no beauty in the Lord Jesus, but flash wrath upon Him, may well grow yet more dim, till death which is spiritual leads to death which is eternal.
We get what we ask for. If we live in darkness, and embrace lust, pride, greed, envy, pride, and gluttony as the touchstones of our lives, we will go where that leads us. If we live in the light and embrace wisdom, understanding, courage, knowledge, reverence the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us by God, we will go where that leads us.
Live in the light... Or live in the dark... It is our choice... And in the end...
We will get what we ask for. We will get what we want. We will end up where we are headed. Let’s hope and pray, that we will not end up like the rich man Because you see, he just didn’t get it. Even as he burned in the fires of hell he demanded that Father Abraham, send Lazarus over here with a drink for me. Even in his greatest misery, he still saw Lazarus as worthless. Just another way to satisfy his selfish desires. He just didn’t get it. Because you see, Lazarus is important; Very important. In all of the parables of Jesus, Lazarus is the only one who is given a name. The rich man has no name, nor the prodigal son, or the woman at the well, or any other characters from the parables Lazarus stands alone... living in grace. One of Christ’s own... forever.
Jesus tells us in this passage, that in Lazarus received evil things during his life, but is now comforted in heaven.
Our God is merciful
And he grants comfort to the lowly
To the suffering... to the poor...
Not always on earth... but certainly, for all eternity
This isn’t the only time that Jesus gave this message to his followers. Earlier in the gospel of Luke, ten chapters back, he said this...
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. ‘But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. ‘Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. ‘Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
We do get to choose sides, and enjoy all the blessings or curses that come with our decision. And once that decision is made final, there is no turning back. We will get exactly what we ask for... When this rich man finally became aware of his eternal plight he made one final plea:
Send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment. And father Abraham said, No! Your brothers have Moses and the Prophets They have free will. They can decide what they want. They can live in darkness or they can live in light and they will receive whatever they ask for.
And still the rich man didn’t get it. And neither did the rich man’s brothers. What is it that we really need? Is it possible for us to be truly satisfied with what we have? What is it that really matters? There was Christian hit song from 2001, recorded by the band 4 Him featuring Jon Anderson from the band Yes. And it has this wonderful refrain... And when I heard it again today, I couldn’t move. I felt so full. So loved... So amazing... So true.
The only thing I need I already have. The fullness of your mercy in my hand. The only one who loves me as I am. The only thing I need I already have.
With Permission from Fr. Rob Goodridge, Rector
St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church
Beloved Cathedral Family,
As Christmas approaches and 2016 closes, I want to tell you how grateful I am for you. This Cathedral became family to my family and me the moment we walked through its doors nine years ago this coming February. Your respect for God’s Word and your heart for worship that is rich in sacrament and symbol converted me to “the Anglican way.” You have persisted in loving one another through the national economic hardships of the late 2000’s and through our own local controversies in the mid-2010’s. In all that, you have done what the apostle Paul asked of the church in Rome: to hear Christ singing among the nations, and answer back “with one voice” in worship (Romans 15:6,9).
Lately I have been pondering the early American Quaker Edward Hick’s painting The Peaceable Kingdom, a scene that he rendered perhaps 100 times. Over and over, he sought to capture the essence of Isaiah’s vision of the Messianic era when enemies would become friends. Although Quakers were known for their belief in pacifism, they quarreled among themselves and experienced painful schisms. Frustrated even with himself for being a part of the problem — he knew himself to be a cantankerous and contentious “lion” —, Hicks nonetheless kept painting and preaching peace through Christ.
This Christmas I find myself grateful for your persistence in modeling peace and in offering the welcoming arms of Jesus to me, to one another, to those impacted by Pulse, to Ugandan and Honduran orphans, to both the homeless who line up for appointments with Deacon Nancy and to well off neighbors who find in you a friend who knows there’s more to life than “stuff.”
As you ponder God’s gift of his Son this Christmas and if you are in a position to do so, I ask you to consider making a gift to the Cathedral.
The Cathedral’s finances were hit hard in the late 2000’s, and only recently have the Chapter and the Endowment Board felt they could make decisions to set some things aright financially. Starting this next year, the Chapter has decided to budget a surplus to begin replacing savings that had been reduced during lean years. And last year the Endowment Board decided to move more aggressively to pay down our mortgage — if they can stay on track, we will be debt free in nine years.
I believe that the Lord has allowed us to assemble an amazing team of priests and deacons — one of the most gifted I know of — that bears promise for seeing great things happen in the next few years. And our lay staff is energetic, omni-competent, eager to support you and one another … and frugal. But you need to know that our efforts to return to financial stability mean that all our staff — clergy and lay — are having to work under severe budget constraints and with programming cuts. Thankfully, due to the tight control on spending by the Chapter and staff, and due to the extra-generosity of parishioners, the end of November found us at a break-even point for 2016.
Typically and historically, we receive about 20% of our annual income from plate, pledges, and Christmas offerings in December. This year, not only do you have the opportunity to help us end the year a little ahead, but to do so knowing that you are helping to restore us to long-term financial stability and health.
If you are looking for alternate ways to give to the Cathedral before year end — such as donating appreciated stock or doing a direct charitable distribution from your IRA if you are 70 ½ years old or older — , please contact the Cathedral Administrator Anne Michels before the end of the year. She would be delighted to hear from you!
Whether you are able to make a year-end gift to the ministry of the Cathedral or not, my heart’s desire for you this season is to know, increasingly, the surpassing richness of God’s gift of His Son, the peaceableness of his Kingdom, and his unchanging love and care for you.
Yours in Christ’s service,
Reggie M. Kidd+
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus." Amen. -Henri Nouwen
Christian worship is fundamentally about union with God. That is, God gives himself to us in worship. And as we receive him- not merely by hearing his word, or making mental assent to a set of doctrines about him, but as we eat and drink him in Holy Eucharist- we are transformed into the image of Christ, unified with God, and brought into the very life of the Trinity! And all of this happens by his grace, mysteriously, every time we gather to sing and praise, pray and preach, confess sin, receive absolution, share in the peace of Christ, and celebrate the sacraments. This is Christian worship!
One of the unique ways the Church has learned to open herself up to the transformation that God offers, is through the observance of different liturgical seasons. Basically, the Church says "Christians, let your worship of God be so pervasive and defining of your identity that even your calendars remind you of the gospel."
I love this! And I find the observance of the liturgical calendar to be one of the most beneficial practices in my relationship with God.
Currently we are in the season of Advent, coming upon the season of Christmastide. Let's use these as examples of how God shapes us in worship. We'll ask: what parts of our human identity will be brought into union with God by Advent and Christmas? I see three ideas here: Advent teaches us to be aware of our existential longings, and to point them in the right direction (toward Christ). And Christmas- Christmas reminds us that union with God is a reality of joy and hope. It is the fulfillment of our human longing! The two liturgical seasons work together in this way.
In Advent we set out on a journey. It's a journey of LONGING. In the hymns and collects (prayers), the assigned scripture readings, the greenery around the church, and the progressive lighting of the Advent candles, we rehearse the plight of Israel in the First Testament as they waited for their Messiah to come and rescue them from slavery and oppression. So we sing hymns with lyrics like this:
O Come, O come, Emmanuel, to ransom captive Israel.
Of course, the Messiah did come! And so our longing during Advent is actually directed in large part toward the second coming of Christ! It is a season layered with meaning and truth. This is why sing:
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.
Even the colors of Christian worship help us tell the story of the gospel. During Advent you'll see purple and blue vestments and linens around the church. Purple is the color of royalty, but also of lament and repentance (purple is also used during Lent). Blue is used in some churches, and it represents the anticipation of the season, like the deep blue color of the sky, just before dawn. It is also the color of the Blessed Virgin in Christian iconography.
So the colors blue and purple remind us that, in Advent, we are longing and lamenting, waiting with anticipation, making repentant preparations for a Savior-King! We don't have to leave our longings at the door of the church. We can bring them with us to worship, knowing that God desires to meet and fulfill them in his coming.
Henri Nouwen, in his monastic diary, gives us these words about longing: "An important part of the spiritual life is to keep longing, waiting, hoping, expecting. In the long run, some voluntary penance becomes necessary to help us remember that we are not yet fulfilled. A good criticism, a frustrating day, an empty stomach, or tired eyes might help to awaken our expectation and deepen our prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come. (Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary).
Christmastide: Joy and Hope
Then? Christmas comes! The blue and purple vestments and linens turn to gold and white, colors of celebration, joy, and light. The dawn from on high has broken upon us! The Church celebrates Christmas not with a single day, but with an entire season called Christmastide- twelve days of reveling in God's coming. This means that, even when the stores take down their decorations on the 26th of December, Christians continue to linger in the joyful mystery of the incarnation. Christmastide is an exuberant and vibrant time of worship as God shapes us into a people characterized by joy and hope.
The emotional uplift that comes with Christmas shouldn't be missed in the sentimentality of the moment. We need to lean into the joy of Christmas just as we did the longing of Advent! In a world as broken as ours, joy and hope are precious realities that can sometimes be covered up in the Advent waiting. Christmas gives voice to the truth, at least once every year, that our ultimate destiny in union with God is joy, hope, and fulfillment.
So my prayer for all of us during this season of Advent and Christmas is that, through the self-giving of God in Christian worship, we may become a people who know our longings, and know the hope and joy that comes with the God who fills them with himself.
- The Rev. Canon Josh Bales
The Association for Episcopal Deacons has presented a national award to Nancy in recognition of her “Ministry to the Marginalized.”
At the Cathedral, we have come to love Nancy’s skill and heart in caring for the homeless; and we were inspired by the way she ministered to family and friends of Pulse victims on June 12. It is gratifying to see her receive national recognition for the way she models a deacon’s role in living at the intersection of Christ’s healing and the world’s wounds. The award notes the way Nancy works with developmentally disabled adults, ministers in her local jail, helps recently incarcerated men and women find jobs, and advocates for the restoration of voting rights to those who have served their time.
As her certificate of recognition notes, “Nancy has a deacon’s heart for people who are often despised by the larger society. Her willingness to walk beside such people, offering presence and help when needed is an outstanding example of Christ’s ministry.”
Always believe! That's harder than it sounds. Canon Ben Lane introduced the Imani Milele Children's Choir last Sunday, with this question, "Do you believe you can change the world?" Everyone in the audience responded with a resounding, "Yes!" But, what happens when it becomes hard? What happens when our calendars, and our attention become filled with distractions; when our finances are spread thin from over involvement? We must continually, faithfully, believe. We must always believe in a God that can supply provision for a world that is in danger, and a merciful Lord that will grant us all that we need to care for the most vulnerable. In the 1970's the Ugandan people, especially Christians, suffered under the brutality of an inhumane dictator. Since then, the road to democracy and freedom for Christian expression has been difficult and the children of this small African country have suffered immeasurably. We saw a small group of these children last week as the Imani Milele Choir performed at the Cathedral. We heard first hand about the suffering in Uganda. Yet, how have these children responded? They sing! They sing with joy of the incredible gift of salvation offered by a mighty God. A God whose faithfulness they will Always Believe.
Dear Cathedral Family,
Our Cathedral bears the name of St. Luke, the beloved physician. Our Book of Common Prayer celebrates him as the one who “set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of God’s love.” During this past year, you the people of the Cathedral Church of St Luke have embodied the spirit of our patron saint in countless ways. Simply to highlight a few:
In the wake of the Pulse massacre, you expressed love to grieving members of our
city — Deacon Nancy Oliver personally ministered to families at the hospital on the day of the shootings, and you hosted a healing funeral for one of the victims, as well as an extraordinary vigil service for all the victims.
On the occasion of Canon Musician Ben Lane’s 25th anniversary of service to the Cathedral, you poured out your a ection for him, encouraged the community of artists in Central FL, and donated to the OneOrlando fund to aid the victims of the Pulse shooting.
When we appealed for additional support for our Cathedral Charities, which provides assistance for those among us in need, you responded spontaneously and generously.
You also worship the Lord not only on Sundays but throughout the week, and your lives re ect the love of a gracious Savior to a watching world. You may not be aware of how often we hear of your kindnesses to people within and outside the Cathedral community. Thank you.
One of the ways that you have made all this — and more! — possible is through your gracious nancial support of the Cathedral’s ministry. Thank you for your giving. It is an honor to serve as Acting Dean and Senior Warden to a congregation that understands God’s mercy, and responds generously.
We ask you now to consider your giving for the coming year. We plan to invest more focused attention to ministry to our families and youth, and to new ventures in mission. We are updating our communications both in print and social media.
We hope to put together a budget for 2017 based on $800,000 in pledges. For last year, 200 units (families or individuals) pledged $734,000 total, averaging $3,670 per unit. For this next year, if 18 additional units were to pledge at the same level, we would meet our goal. At the same time, it’s possible that some families or individuals would be able to increase their pledge. If you have pledged in the past, would you give thought and prayer to increasing your pledge by an additional 10%?
We want to continue to provide programs worthy of financial support. While we urge you to be active participants in the life of the Body of Christ, we also ask you to consider your financial response to the God who “so loved the world that he gave....”
Therefore, as those called to care for your souls, we urge you to tithe (give 10% of your income to the Lord’s work), or to take a step towards tithing if you are not yet there, and to move beyond mere tithing if you are able to do so. You're able to complete a pledge card on our website here, or you'll find a card inside your Sunday bulletin to complete and leave in the offering plate. Sunday, November 20, will be our Ingathering Day.
May God richly bless us all – called to experience, embody, and extend the timeless love of Jesus Christ.
The Very Rev. Dr. Reggie M. Kidd, Acting Dean
Mr. Greg Leonard, Senior Warden
I have a friend at the Cathedral who every year for her Lenten devotion, she posts something daily on social media that she is grateful for. Some posts were the simple, obvious things, like family and good health, but others were random like the Publix fried chicken dinner meal package (which I am also thankful for). She was also thankful for non-tangible things like, a peaceful evening, or the mercy of an encouraging word from her husband. It was interesting and made me reflect to watch her journey unfold on facebook.
What would happen if we, as a parish, made that journey over an extended season? Can you imagine giving thanks daily, purposefully over the course of an entire year? That is the focus of the Cathedral’s Season of Gratitude. We’ll endeavor together, to be mindful of our blessings every day until our next celebration of the Feast of Saint Luke in September 2017. With each parish event or programing plan, we’ll be mindful of how we are representing and reflecting our gratitude for God’s gracious blessings.
I’ll begin today with giving thanks for St. Elizabeth Guild. This group invited me to speak at their luncheon last Wednesday about my involvement with Our Little Roses in Honduras over the past 16 years, and more especially about the little girl they sponsor, Daysy. She’s not little anymore. SEG began sponsoring her when she was five years old, now she’s about to be 18.
I so admire the ladies in St. Elizabeth Guild. They are a beautiful, admirable bunch, each with their own personality of kindness and good fun. And, they are devoted to doing God’s good work however they can. I don’t know of another ministry at the Cathedral that has a smaller budget than SEG, yet they are faithful in stewarding the little they have, including caring for the girls at Our Little Roses. Currently, the ladies are taking orders for Christmas greenery to raise money for the projects they support. You will be buying greens for your home anyway. Please consider placing an order. The wreaths are gorgeous, and you have until November 1. Contact Susie for more information at email@example.com.
Next I’ll give thanks for the Book of Common Prayer. Second only to the Bible, the BCP is a rich resource for words of prayer when mine seem inadequate. It is a treasure for the Anglican community.
Ashlie Darley, Librarian
The Yergey Library
Prayers For the Parish, Book of Common Prayer, page 817
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
25 years: a Silver Anniversary, so let's celebrate with music! For our Sunday matinee concert on October 2nd, let's hear a lot of local musicians, friends who have performed countless times at the Cathedral, some for as long as 38 years. Call it "Orlando Tribute!" and celebrate our strong connection with all the wonderful music-making around Central Florida. Even invite Bishop Brewer to speak about our Cathedral as a famous patron of the arts. Our awesome Dean, Reggie Kidd, will be the host. My closest friend and co-worker, Claire Hodge, will be the emcee.
Some special music for a special day? How about five world premieres! Commission David Brunner to compose a new choral work "Unnameable God" and ask his UCF University Chorus to sing it. They'll also premiere a new piece by former Cathedral singer Alan Gerber. Invite our resident ensemble Brassworks to play, and they'll premiere a new fanfare "Silver Anniversary Flourish" by long-time colleague Joe Kreines. Dear friend Peter Mathews, who once directed our Cathedral Choir, will present the premiere of a song he wrote years ago. And commission local church musician Andrew Walker to arrange a joyful song for us all to sing together in harmony... "'Tis music that has joined us in life's sweet master song."
In addition to David Brunner's chorus and John Almeida's brass quintet, we'll hear three violinists (Mati Braun, Lisa Ferrigno, Rob Kerr), four pianists (Rick Robinson, Michael Miller, Holly Small, Peter Mathews), three singers (Claire Hodge, JoAnne Stephenson, Brian Bruder), three organists (Carl MaultsBy, Michael LeGrand, Andrew Walker), Shannon Caine's "Beautiful Music" chamber ensemble with harpist Victoria Schultz, also Mike Barr on French horn, Eladio Scharron on classical guitar, Andrew Lane on string bass, Ryan Higgs on bagpipes, and then Dan Witucki playing accordion at the festive reception after the concert. And with so much focus on local artists, let's also raise money for the city's OneOrlando Fund to help create a permanent Pulse Memorial. Can you believe it, all the musicians agreed to perform gratis.
Now, what about the Cathedral's choirs? Let's bring them all together on that Sunday morning for our 10:15 service. Call it "Cantate Domino" Sunday: "Sing to the Lord". Sing six of the many choral anthems I've composed over the years, add a couple of my solos for our singers, plus some of my service music and hymns for the congregation, and include instrumentalists Ture Larson, Debbie Clifton, Maureen May, and Andrew Lane. This music is for family.
25 years: it's been a good gig, and it's not over yet! But really it's not about me. It's about the music, and the people, and our Cathedral, and of course our God. So let's make it a party, and be thankful for everything.
Canon Ben Lane
I miss Ellen Smith. Sometimes so much so, my heart aches. One of her paintings (the most beautiful, I believe) hangs in my dining room. I see it continually, giving thanks for the blessing of knowing her. Ellen had the remarkable ability of genuinely loving people with sincerity, honesty and joy. She was always kind, always hopeful, and when she prayed with you, it seemed the earth stopped for a moment while the Lord listened.
I met Ellen at the Wednesday noon Eucharist after my youngest daughter, Chapel, was born. I loved coming to the Cathedral for weekday Eucharist with Dean Littleford (1914 - 1999) and Ellen. Members of the Order of St. Luke, they would meet every Wednesday morning and pray through the list of people asking for healing. Dean Littleford would pray over the list of names at noon, placing his hand on the paper during Prayers of the People.
In 1998, Ellen approached me with a question, “Would you put together a group to pray especially for expectant parents and unborn children?” This was not a question. The only reasonable response to Ellen was, “Yes, ma’am.” As a mom with two young children, I organized the prayer group so members could pray at whatever time was best for their schedule. We receive updates to our list through email and pray independently. Our group is small but devoted. I once met Neide Nantkes unexpectedly in an airport in Nashville. From her purse, she pulled out her list of expectant parents. She takes it everywhere.
Ellen’s prayer legacy lives on as The Order of Saint Luke continues quietly, reverently, and faithfully to pray and intercede for those who ask for healing. Shepherded now by our Deacon Carolyn Petersen, you’ll find the prayer ministers every Sunday in St. Mary’s Chapel and the Resurrection Chapel. Their prayers are sweet, and holy, and constant.
Ashlie Darley, Librarian
The Yergey Library
If you're interested in becoming a prayer minister at the Cathedral, or a member of The Order of St. Luke, contact Theo for more information.