(Offertory for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, 1 May 2016)
Summer is passing, even as our climate here in Massachusetts clings to a pattern of dry yet humid weather that has dominated for much of the season. The sun tells the tale without ambiguity: this morning it rose after 6:00, and it will be dark by the time my child is tucked into bed this evening.
Autumn leads us into times of harvest and work, thanksgiving and celebration, new endeavors and a new year in many traditions. As we make our preparations, listen below for a memory of the preceding season in the church year, Easter. The anthem is the second of Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Trinity Parish’s choir returns for the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 18 September).
Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authority,
But is composed of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:
Give to your Mother, what you would allow
To every Corporation.
It ‘s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
In both let ‘s do our best.
Who goes in the way which Christ has gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
Who travels the by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
May strengthen my decays.
Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast
As may our faults control:
That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.
— From Lent: Ash Wednesday by George Herbert (1593-1633)