Sunday, 2 December 2012
Advent begins with services of light in Christ Church Cathedral
Advent began in Christ Church Cathedral this morning [Sunday 2 December 2012] with the Cathedral Eucharist for the First Sunday if Advent, sung by the Cathedral Choir, at 11 .a.m., and, later in the evening, the Advent Procession at 5 p.m.
The Cathedral Eucharist this morning was celebrated by the Dean, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, and the preacher was the Revd Celia Grace Kenny, a Presbyterian Minister of the Church of Scotland. She was ordained in Saint Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, has served on the Board of World Mission in the Hungarian Reformed Seminary in Chuj, and has been a postgraduate student in the Irish School of Ecumenics. The setting was William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices.
I served at the Eucharist as Deacon, reading the Gospel (Luke 21: 25-36), assisting at the administration of Holy Communion, and lighting the first of the candles on the Advent Wreath immediately before the Gospel reading.
The Advent Wreath has four candles – three violet and one pink – around a central white candle.
The four candles in a ring are lit one-by-one on each of the four Sundays of Advent. This morning’s violet candle reminds us of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The second candle next Sunday is reminder of the Prophets of the Old Testament. The third candle is pink and reminds us on the Third Sunday of Advent or Gaudate Sunday, is a reminder of Saint John the Baptist, who calls us to prepare for the coming of Christ. The fourth candle recalls the Blessed Virgin Mary. The central, white candle is lit on Christmas Day to mark the celebration of the Incarnation.
As I lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath this morning, the choir sang:
Blessed are you, Sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors, to you be praise and glory for ever! You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for you are our light and our salvation.
The sung response was:
Blessed by God for ever.
This evening, the Advent Procession begin with the cathedral in darkness and then move to light as candles were lit one-by-one in the procession, in the congregation, and then throughout the cathedral.
There were traditional Advent carols, biddings, collects and readings and prayers, working our way through the Advent themes, from the Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11: 1-5), Looking for the Light (I Thessalonians 5: 1-11), the Witness of the Prophets (Malachi 4), John the Baptist (Malachi 3: 1-6), the Year of the Lord’s Favour (Isaiah 61: 10 – 62: 3), Mary’s Response to God (Luke 1: 39-46 with the canticle Magnificat, to the Four Last Things (Revelation 22: 1-7).
The collects and prayers were lead by Archbishop Michael Jackson, and I was asked to read the Fourth Reading (Malachi 3: 1-6).
The Advent season continues in Christ Church Cathedral in the coming weeks, including the Sung Eucharist each Sunday, the Cathedral Choir Concert (Thursday 13 December), the Service of Five Lessons and Carols (Sunday 16 December), the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols (Monday 17 December), the Midnight Eucharist at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and the Festival Eucharist at 11 a.m. on Christmas Day.