Mass was absolutely gorgeous! Decent turnout--though not as large as we had thought it might be. Guest preacher was good.
But the ending of Mass was spectacular. The post-communion hymn was this:
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
[MamaT note: if those words don't give you something to meditate on, nothing will!]
Then, the choir sang Benjamin Britten's Festival Te Deum in C. Our choir was supplemented by voices from another parish and did a bang up job on this. It raised the hairs on my arms.
Then we ended with the prayer that means the very most to me out of my entire Anglican heritage, the Great Thanksgiving. I have this taped into my meditation notebook and pray it more or less regularly:
Almighty God, father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men. We bless thee
for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
Our great organist then played Karg-Elert's Nun Danket alle Gott. What an ending!!!!