Advent 2017

Compline Choir - Advent 2017 (photo: Kevin Johnson)

Compline Choir – Advent 2017 (photo: Kevin Johnson)

Last Sunday began a new year in the Christian calendar. At St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, the Compline Choir joined the Cathedral choirs in the “Advent Procession,” a service of readings, prayer, and music that was initiated by Peter Hallock in the 1950s.  In 1986, it took on its current structure – built on the seven “O Antiphons.”

St. Mark’s has been undergoing serious renovation on three sides – including cladding the exterior in limestone and replacement of the windows, installation of a five-floor elevator, and reconstruction of the entrance patio. The window installation and removal of the interior scaffolding was completed in the week before December 3, and the return of the acoustics was truly awesome. I’d honestly been in a funk since the windows were taken out, and we heard nothing but the relentless din of Interstate 5. With the silence restored and then some, it was like a part of me that was lost and now returned – with a realization that the SOUND was an element in my attachment to Compline over more than five decades.

Another remarkable thing this year, is that the services at St. Mark’s Cathedral are streamed live and archived, both at the cathedral’s website as well as on YouTube. Here’s a link to the beginning of the Advent Procession with the music Let my Prayer come up as the Incense, by Peter Hallock (1924-2014). The Compline Choir sings the words in Latin, and the Cathedral Choir in English:

Let my prayer come up as the incense: And let the lifting up of my hands be as an evening sacrifice.

This time of Advent comes with the invitation to take some time in quiet reflection, and this service of readings, prayer, and music is an excellent remedy for what can be a frenetic time. You can watch and listen to all or parts of the service at any time you choose, as well as download a PDF of the service booklet at the St. Mark’s streaming site. What a wonderful gift.

I also recommend “Dancing with Time: An Advent Prelude,” by Jim Friedrich.

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