Monday, 17 January 2011

Preaching and teaching

I was fortunate the other day to be given the opportunity to preach a sermon at a celebration of Solemn Vespers in Magdalene College, Cambridge, where I am on placement. This new year celebration first happened last year. 

It was exceptionally daunting, partly because the Chapel was full of eager listeners, both goodly parishioners and university intellectuals alike, but also because my name was enshrined in the programme, and so I couldn't chicken out at the last minute!

I decided to preach about the Crucifixion and forgiveness from the perspective of St Mary Magdalen, the patron of the college. This is quite powerful stuff for a parish fundraising social event! But it seemed to go down well.

In order that I may recycle this sermon, I shall say no more about it!

The Chapel of Magdalene College, Cambridge

The parish choir sang beautifully, as, I have discovered, they always do. As the smoke of incense rose into heaven from the sanctuary steps, we were treated to my favourite Magnificat, octavi toni, by Lassus, and other movements were covered by some fine organ playing.

Mgr Leeming was the coped celebrant, assisted by Fr Christopher and myself.

Vespers was followed by a formal dinner in the College Hall, which, I was very happy to discover, does not have electric lights, and so there was a dim, orange hue of candlelight illuminating the paintings and green panelling. 

After dinner, the President gave a very witty and amusing speech, and gladly announced the evening to be a tradition, and a worthy one too. I hope I'll be able to join in again one day in the future!

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