Another quiet and moving liturgy today. Entering the church to the empty tabernacle never ceases to take me aback, and this afternoon was no different. The silent procession and the prostration of the priest and deacon are also very emotional moments.
St John’s Passion Narrative was read and the choir sang the crowd responses. An unaccompanied soloist sang the spiritual Were You There
while the offering was collected. This was followed by congregational singing of O Sacred Head, Surrounded
, one of my favourite hymns that regularly brings me to tears.
During communion, the choir sang When David Heard
by Thomas Tomkins
, an achingly beautiful piece that was somewhat under-rehearsed (and showed it). Check out this YouTube version. Warning: there are some heartbreaking images as you get in to the video. The text of the piece is roughly
When David heard that Absalom was slain,
He went up to his chamber over the gate and wept; and thus he said:
Oh my son, Absalom my son.
Would God I had died for thee.