In case I'd not been to church enough, the Dufflepud and I completed Advent Sunday by whizzing straight from the Christingle service up to Gloucester Cathedral for their Advent Carols. Both of us were pining for some really good music, and though we were sad to do without the Palestrina Matin Responsary, which for me is the essence of Advent Sunday, the whole service turned out to be quite wonderful.
I'd been more than a tad dubious as to the need to add this particular complication to our lives, but the Dufflepud was firm and I'm so grateful.
All I had to do was to sit there and receive - and oh, it was such a gift.
The service began, of course, in darkness - but for the first candle of the Advent ring (a starkly beautiful work of cast iron, in place of the reds and greens of most parish churches) and, glimpsed through the screen, a light on the high altar....The silence in the building was intense, loaded with expectation that stretched beyond the here and now to encompass the longings of the centuries.
Then, from the cloister came the plainsong Advent Prose
"Drop down heavens from above and let the skies pour down righteousness"
It was a moment outside time...The Cathedral choir and the monks who had founded the building might have been singing together. To be there was pure blessing.