Happy Easter! While the Sunday of the Resurrection only lasts 24 hours, the great season of Easter lasts for 50 days. Within these 50 days, our music ministry will offer music designed around Easter themes, of which there are many. The list seems to go on forever-baptism, water, love, resurrection, redemption, sacrifice, triumph, victory, even springtime are all fair game for Easter themes. There are two very special events for us here at the cathedral during Easter, also. Namely, we will have our Cathedral Celebration Sunday on April 24, and our observation of Ascension Day will combine with Mother's Day on May 8. Of course, our focus in this article will be our April music and themes of Easter.
Everyone knows the old saying, "April showers bring May flowers." Easter Sunday was quite early this year, but Easter season always partially falls in April. I would submit to you that this imagery of April showers is rather poetic. Rain has always been acknowledged as a life-giving force, and Easter is our Christian equivalent of a spring festival-a festival celebrating new life. Like water raining down and bringing new life from the earth, Easter celebrates God's grace raining down upon our souls, hopefully causing them to stir and to be renewed themselves. A hymn we will sing during April, There's a wideness in God's mercy, illustrates this idea nicely. The third verse, especially, is poignant.
For the love of God is broader
than the measure of the mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.
~Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)
This idea of life being "thanksgiving" is important during Easter, and the image of God's grace as broader than what we can imagine is quite appropriate. Music for Easter is always uplifting whether it is loud and triumphant or introspective and sensitive, and it washes over us like so much rain. During Lent, our music incubated and grew, and now we hear it in full flower.
Our Cathedral Celebration on April 24, is an especially good time to hear our Easter music. The choir will be joined by guest instrumentalists, and our music will center around the idea of Christ as the Good Shepherd-fitting for the celebration of our identity as the cathedral church of our diocese. Before all of this, however, it is important for us to take time to rest and be rejuvenated by the refreshing rain of Easter graces.
In closing, I wish to thank all of our music ministers who worked so hard to provide beautiful music for our Holy Week and Easter services. Honestly, starting in Advent, our musicians have been hard at work creating music in concert and service, and I am very grateful to them. The Cathedral Choir, Handbell Choir, and guest musicians were all a huge part of what give our program its unique identity and commitment to excellence. As Easter day is seen in the rearview mirror and Easter season is all around, we pray our music will continue to be an inspiration in this most joyous season of the year.