Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hail, bright Cecilia

Today the church celebrates Cecilia, virgin martyr and accidental patron of music...
It being a Saturday, no doubt hundreds of concerts will have been held in her honour in churches across the world - and I was more than slightly disappointed to discover that there is nothing even remotely resembling a Collect for her in Common Worship.
At the moment, neither of my churches has a strong enough choir to make this feast day something we can celebrate in house, but it was through Choral Evensong as much as the poetry of Herbert and Donne that I found myself awakened to faith, and I've always known the deep truth of Augustine's words
"(S)he who sings prays twice"
So here, with gratitude for all those who make music in our churches and those who dedicate their creative gifts to produce music in tune with the songs of heaven, is the prayer of the Royal School of Church Music.
Next year maybe I'll take time to write my own

We give thanks to God for all his blessings.
We give especial thanks for the music of the church in this place
and for the work of the Royal School of Church Music throughout the world.

God our Father, supreme Creator
we give you thanks
for the skills and imagination
to shape sound and silence into music.
Enriched by your Holy Spirit,
may our song always tell of your love and saving power,
and may our lives be ever committed to your service.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Susan O said...

I always expected to name a daughter Cecilia. I have always liked her.

JP said...

Do you know this one?

Creator Spirit, who with the making of music hast given to us thy servants a delight for the mind and a solace for the heart, of thy bountiful goodness resolve the discord of our lives, that we may sound forth thy praise in what we do and what we are, to the glory of thy great and wonderful name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We used to use this prayer at the admission of choristers in Durham, and I did hear it said that it had been written by the former dean, Peter Baelz - but I'm not certain of this.