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"The Choir"

 

 

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Empty Choir

            When I am praying the Divine Offices and attending Mass as a monk I sit in the area known as “The Choir.” This area takes up the single largest area of the chapel. There are two rows of seats that face each other from opposite walls. In front of the each seat is a two tiered rack that holds four different books and other papers that will be used during the services. I will describe each of those later. Each seat is like a cubical is the shape of square wing backed chair. The seat folds back allowing the monk it sit or stand in this space. We stand and sit in equal parts for the 15 minutes to an hour that the different offices take to perform. The next largest area is the chancel with the altar where mass is said. Behind the altar is the chair in which the presiding priest sits. It looks a lot like a throne which sits at the top of several steps which puts the priest even when seated above the altar. Since there are 15 or so priest who are brothers, a different priest presides at the Mass each morning. The smallest area is the nave where outsiders who come to worship and pray are seated. There is a fence between the choir and the nave with a gate. The gate is only opened during two of the 8 services. It is open for Mass and for the nightly blessing at Compline. Only at that those times is the audience able to come into the choir. A fairly large space comes between the fence and the beginning of each row in the choir. On your right when facing the later is the organ. The chapel was completely redesigned in 1977 and won major architectural awards. The furnishing are of a modern cubist design while the room is of rough 100-year-old stone that has clear class gothic windows. The ceiling rises three stories above your head. It is a beautiful space in which to worship God.

St. David's Day

daffodilIs First Christian Church, Peoria, the only Disciple of Christ church that celebrates St. David’s Day??  Quite possibly!

On a Sunday close to March 1st, I take a day of personal privilege.  I have a strong Welsh heritage from my father’s side of the family. St. David, (Dewi Sant in Welsh) was to Wales what Patrick was to Ireland.  He walked the countryside bringing the good news of Christianity to towns and villages.  He eventually chose Glyn Rhosyn, a sheltered valley, as the place for a new monastery.  He and others there helped the poor and the sick, ate simple meals of bread, water and vegetables and prayed and preached.  David died on March 1st 589.  His last words to his followers were in a sermon he preached the previous Sunday. 'Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.' 'Do the little things in life' ('Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd') is quoted often in Welsh life.

Wipe your feet before entering Easter...

Lent is the 40 days (not counting Sundays) of preparation for Holy Week, leading up to Easter. Does “40 days” sound familiar? Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness preparing for his ministry. He had the opportunity there to become the “wrong” kind of messiah…and rejected that possibility. The Hebrews spent 40 years wandering the wilderness because they needed to learn trust. They saw the promised land very early in their trek, but didn’t trust God enough to enter and claim the land and were destined, then, to forty years of practicing trust. Forty days of flooding cleansed the earth of the wickedness that had permeated the world during Noah’s days.