Easter Joy

Resurrection of ChristChrist is risen, alleluia!  The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!

Easter is the greatest celebration of the Christian year.  As befittting this and other great occasions, we begin Compline with a procession from the chapel behind the main altar of the Cathedral, down the side aisle, to the corner where we sing the office.  It’s been an Easter tradition since 1970 to sing the Easter Canticle by our founder and director from 1956-2009, Peter HallockHe wrote it for choir and handbells — specifically the “Flemish” type of handbells that St. Mark’s Cathedral bought in the 1960s.  We play the bells as we walk and sing;  we walk carefully, since the company that made the bells went out of business, and they are irreplaceable.

The words of the Easter Canticle are from three passages of St. Paul: I Corinthians 5:7-8, Romans 6:9-11, and  I Corinthians 15:20-22.  You can listen to it here (click the “Play” button to start) and follow along with the text:

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
Therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and evil,
But with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
Death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once:
But in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,
But alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Christ is risen from the dead,
And become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death,
By man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die,
Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

The period of Easter will last for fifty days until Pentecost, and for all the Sundays at Compline during this time we sing “Alleluia” after the antiphon (“Preserve us, O Lord, while waking…”) of the Nunc Dimittis.  On Easter Sunday we sang, as a second anthem, the Regina caeli laetare in a setting by the sixteenth-century English composer Robert White (ca. 1538-1574).  This is one of the four Marian Antiphons, chants to the Virgin Mary that are sung at the end of Compline in the Roman Rite during the four seasons of the church year; Regina caeli is sung from Easter Sunday until Trinity Sunday.  Also, we sang the sequence (a medieval type of hymn) Victimae paschali laudes.  But Victimae paschali is a special favorite of mine — so I will wait for another entry to describe this beautiful chant.

Next Sunday, May 1, Seattle’s Renaissance Singers will be streaming their Compline service at 7pm PDT from their website; I hope you can join them.

Christ is risen, alleluia!  The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!

  1. #1 by Elaine Russell on February 24, 2012 - 4:47 am

    You are really on a roll with this blog site now, Ken. It is beautifully done. I didn’t know you had surgery. Will ask about that on Sunday.

  1. A month of Easters « Compline Underground

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