Clergy Notes for the Second Sunday in Advent — December 6, 2020

As many of you know, I have been learning sacred music with Gerald these past months, and of course it should come as no surprise that it has been a truly blessed experience. Not only because Gerald is an extraordinarily talented musician and a genuinely gracious and wonderful human, but also because the music has entered my life, my heart, and my soul in a way I never anticipated it could.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate music before; it is for me as it is for most of us – an integral part of both secular and religious life that helps us express things mere words cannot. I also revere the Benedictine tradition that informs our Anglican faith and have long understood intellectually that sacred music – particularly chant – makes up a great part of that.

But none of that prepared me for how deeply the music would transform me interiorly. With each Psalm and antiphon; each Alleluia; each Marian antiphon I learned, I have gained new expression for my love of God and a way to carry my devotion and prayer into the everyday tasks of life that were otherwise barren before. I have found myself singing while doing dishes, in between Zoom meetings, when I awaken and before I go to bed. I sing when deadlines are looming and sometimes when I should be doing other things. Sacred singing is a magical practice that has brought me immense peace, comfort, and joy when everything else is chaos all around me.

St. Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, exhorts believers to “pray without ceasing” and Psalm 119 exclaims, “Seven times a day will I praise you!” These Scriptures are amongst those that informed the practices which shaped monastic life, and eventually became our Daily Office. In our modern busy lives that are – even amidst a pandemic – so full that prayer could easily become an afterthought, we might look to our Benedictine predecessors for inspiration, and wonder how we might discover new ways to praise God continually while we go about all the other tasks that life demands of us.

As we approach the second Sunday of Advent – a time when we are supposed to be still, patient, and wait for the coming of Christ, I hope we may all find more peaceful moments away from the busy-ness of our schedules to stop and praise God, and perhaps, inspired by our Benedictine heritage, invite the psalms and sacred music to shape our prayer and sanctify the work of our hands.

Deacon Amanda Ruston

Download the service booklet for Sunday, December 6 here: Liturgy at Home Advent 2 Dec 6 2020