Sunday, January 02, 2005

Bright and glorious

Sometimes, working behind the scenes in a church, you overhear and see disappointing words and actions. Other times, you get a glimpse of heaven. Today I had the joy of witnessing the latter. I was on a ladder replacing the 62 burned down Christmas candles in the windows (32 candles) and pew candelabras (30 candles) with all white Epiphany candles, which we celebrated today in advance of the actual feast day on January 6.

A woman who had emigrated from Denmark at least 50 years ago was preparing the altar with bread and wine. The pianist was practicing the hymns for today. He started playing "Bright and Glorious is the Sky." The woman exclaimed in her still-accented English, "Oh, that is a Danish hymn that we always sang at Christmas and Epiphany in Denmark!" Then, spontaneously and a cappella, she sang from the altar the first verse in Danish. It was beautiful.

[Note: the tempo of the electronic version of the traditional hymn tune linked to above is way too slow.]

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