The Epiphany (2013)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Entrance As with gladness men of old
Gloria Gloria de Noël (Thomas Niel)
Psalm Ps 71 (Monaghan/Dean)
Gospel Acclamation St Agatha Alleluia (mcb)
Preparation of the Gifts O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God II (mcb)
Communion Laudate Omnes Gentes (Taizé) & Reges Tharsis (chant)
Postcommunion Here is the little door (words: Frances Chesterton, 1869-1938; music: Herbert Howells, 1892-1983)
Recessional The First Nowell

The poet and playwright Frances Blogg Chesterton lived and wrote in the shadow of her more famous husband (G.K.); so much so that information about her is hard to come by. Both Wikipedia and the Dictionary of National Biography relegate her to a couple of mentions in articles about her husband. Her poetry is striking, however, not least in Here is the little door, where gifts offered tenderly to the infant Christ are returned as the trappings of battle and death:

Here is the little door, lift up the latch, oh lift!
We need not wander more but enter with our gift;
Our gift of finest gold,
Gold that was never bought nor sold;
Myrrh to be strewn about his bed;
Incense in clouds about his head;
All for the Child who stirs not in his sleep.
But holy slumber holds with ass and sheep.

Bend low about his bed, for each he has a gift;
See how his eyes awake, lift up your hands, O lift!
For gold, he gives a keen-edged sword
(Defend with it thy little Lord!),
For incense, smoke of battle red.
Myrrh for the honoured happy dead;
Gifts for his children terrible and sweet,
Touched by such tiny hands and
Oh such tiny feet.

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