I left off writing my blog as the choir was practising the music for the Mass which would bring our weekend at the Diocesan Retreat House, Wychcroft, to a conclusion – well, to be honest there was a lovely lunch of chicken pie and plum crumble which brought it to a delicious ending!
The Eucharist was lovely. Some had prepared the readings, others the intercessions and others the music. That may not sound very adventurous to some but given that in a Cathedral there are ‘professionals’ doing everything for us it’s good to give members for the congregation the opportunity to shape the feel of the celebration. It was interesting that Merbecke was chosen as the Mass setting we would use – perhaps it was influenced by the fact that there was a very limited choice of music! But Merbecke is a good choice given that he was tried and condemned to death for heresy in the Marian Trials held in the retrochoir at Southwark. The good news is that the sentence was commuted as the judge decided that as he was a ‘mere musician’ he therefore ‘knew no better’!
But what was so good was bringing together all that we had been thinking about into the Eucharist and to the altar. The Gospel reading we chose was the story of the ‘Road to Emmaus’ (Luke 24.13-35) and the verse
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24.32)
stood out for us in terms of what we had been thinking about as we discussed ‘Flame’. It also gave us the opportunity to think about Bishop Christopher’s follow-up to ‘Faith, Hope, Love’ which is called ‘Hearts on Fire’. I think we all left Wychcroft with hearts on fire and ready to deepen our discipleship and faith in the Living God, who shields us in the rain, pours riches into our hearts which are set on fire with divine love.
This is the ‘Hearts on Fire’ prayer – please pray it with us.
Stay with us Lord,
open our eyes and set our hearts on fire,
as you open your word,
as you break your bread,
as we live your life.
Enrich us with your grace,
empower us by your Spirit,
enfold us in your love,
as we walk the journey of faith with you.