Sunday 29 January 2023


 Today I was in the cathedral again, for Candlemas, the service that commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple (and the Purification of the BVM, if you like that kind of thing), and is also the hinge between Christmastide and Easter. It was a beautiful service, as ever, with the choir on top form. They sang, among other fine things, Tallis's O Nata Lux and Nicolas Gombert's Hodie Beata Virgo, a lovely piece which I don't remember hearing before. The Old Testament readings were, as so often, rather troubling, but the story of Simeon and Anna, as told in Luke, was as moving as ever: 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word...' We all processed with lighted candles to the font for the collect and Britten's A New Year Carol. The paschal candle was lit, the final prayers said, the organ struck up a Bach prelude and fugue (BWV545), and we were out into the chilly evening. There was still light in the sky, and the western horizon was turning a beautiful carmine pink. 

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