One of the great ironies of Advent and Lent is that sometimes we spend so much time preparing for the seasons of Christmas and Easter, that when these two joyous seasons arrive, people are often tired - even exhausted. It is so contradictory because Easter is the greatest season of the church year, and Christmas is extremely important too. How is it that when we get to Christmas, many churches seem to go on vacation, and when we get to Easter, fifty whole days of celebration can be viewed as an endurance test? I hope this is not the case at St. Mark's. Ideally our Advent preparations have rested us up to celebrate the 12 days with great vigor. Even though the secular version of the holidays seems to have depleted a great majority of people, we continue to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with the enthusiasm they deserve.
On New Year's Day we had a comfortably full church for our Solemn High Mass of the Holy Name. Epiphany Episcopal Church joined us, and their rector, Mother Irene Tanabe, gently challenged us to think about how a whole community would have been present for our Lord's circumcision and naming. Always on the eighth day after Christmas, when Jewish boys were circumcised, the Holy Name is one of three feasts that replaces an actual Sunday if the celebration falls on a Sunday (BCP p. 16).
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 3, at 10:00 am we gather for a Solemn High Mass of Requiem for the repose of the soul of David Stuart Kayner, sometime choirmaster of St. Mark's. David was a man full of the faith in his own way, and when he was choirmaster, he never tired of celebrating the feasts of the church. His death is a real loss to the sacred music community of Honolulu. I always appreciated that he could translate the Latin propers with immense ease and without any lexical aids. His knowledge of the sacred choral literature was extensive, and his death continues the anxiety-raising vacuum of quality sacred arts in the city of Honolulu. All are invited to the requiem; a potluck follows in his honor.
On Sunday Christmastide continues as the choir sings for Solemn High Mass, and after high mass we have a reception for our new musicians. Mike Dupre has been officially named as our choirmaster, and Sam Lam shall continue as our organist. The word "interim" has been dropped from their titles. It is rather interesting that in one weekend we shall remember David Kayner's contribution to music at St. Mark's, and we shall honor Mike and Sam who shall lead us into the future.
Christmas ends with the great feast of the Epiphany, celebrated with a Procession and Solemn High Mass on the actual day. The choir will sing, chalk for homes will be blessed, the Proclamation of the Date of Easter will be chanted, and Father Dan Leatherman will be our guest preacher. The day is often called the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. As we heard on Christmas Day how the light of Christ is coming into the world, now the light of Christ is beginning to spread throughout the whole earth. Tuesday night will be a celebration of the Magi at the crib. On Sunday, January 11, we will celebrate the three traditional epiphanies - the magi, the baptism of Christ, and the wedding at Cana - with Evensong, an Epiphany Procession, and Benediction. Both Epiphany celebrations promise to be absolutely beautiful.
Father Paul Lillie+