07 April 2010

The Easter celebrations continue

Then they told ... how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread

Patrick Comerford

Our Easter celebrations continued this evening with the mid-week Community Eucharist in the Chapel of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.

This was our last Sung Eucharist before the end-of-year exams later this month. I was the celebrant, and the visiting preacher was the Revd Dr Drew Gibson of Union Theological College, Belfast, who has been here for the day as an external examiner with the Year III B.Th. students.

During the afternoon we also had a seminar with the Year I M.Th. students on the Transfiguration, at which the speakers included Clare Amos, who is Director of Theological Education at TEAC (Theological Education for the Anglican Communion), the Working Party established by the Anglican Primates in 2003.

Clare Amos has studied both at the University of Cambridge and the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise in Jerusalem. A specialist in Biblical studies, she has lived and worked in Jerusalem, Lebanon and England.

The lectionary readings for Holy Communion on the Wednesday in Easter Week are: Acts 3: 1-10; Psalm 105: 1-9; Luke 24: 13-35.

As well as hearing the story of the disciples meeting Christ on the road to Emmaus, we sang as our processional hymn a version of one of my favourite Easter hymns, Hail thee, Festival Day!, by Vaughan Williams:

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed for ever;
Day wherein Christ arose,
breaking the Kingdom of death.

Ill it beseemeth that thou,
by whose hand all things are encompassed,
captive and bound should remain,
deep in the gloom of the rock. Refrain

Rise now, O Lord from the grave,
and cast off the shroud that enwrapped thee;
Leaving the caverns of death,
show us the light of thy face. Refrain

God of all pity and power,
let thy word be assured to the doubting;
Lo, he breaks forth from the tomb!
See, he appears on his own! Refrain

Jesus, thou Health of the world,
enlighten our minds, O Redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme,
only-begotten of God. Refrain

I had selected this hymn as one of my three pieces of music for the meditations in Whitechurch Parish, Rathfarnham, last Saturday, Easter Eve, and it was the Processional Hymn at the Festal Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral on Easter Day. What a pity that it is not included in the Irish Church Hymnal.

The Resurrection, by the 15th-century artist Piero della Francesca, is in the civic museum, formerly the town hall, in the Tuscan market-town of Borgo San Sepolcro

Our Gradual this afternoon was Jesus Christ is risen today (ICH, 271), based on the old Latin Easter carol, Surrexit Christus hodie, which dates back to the 14th century.

Our offertory hymn, The strife is o’er, the battle done, (ICH, 286) and our Post-Communion hymn was Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son (ICH 288).


Almighty God,
through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
you have overcome death
and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
Grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Post Communion Prayer:

Living God,
for our redemption you gave your only-begotten Son
to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
you have delivered us from the power of our enemy.
Grant us so to die daily unto sin,
that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

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