Saturday, February 23, 2008

Simon Hoggart's remarkable feat of endurance

Simon Hoggart's diary often features references to his atheism.

Today he notes that last weekend he sat through not one, not two, but three Evensongs at Salisbury Cathedral.

He deserves a medal. There are many devout Christians who would draw the line at sitting through three Choral Evensongs over one weekend. For those who aren't familiar with the routine (I used to be in the choir at a church so I enjoyed many an Evensong, including singing the Te Deum, which of course we never, as school boys, referred to as the Tedium) here is what the service includes:

-A penitential introduction, including the General Confession and the Lord's Prayer.
Preces — a series of responsory prayers.
-A portion of the
psalter, usually two or three psalms.
-Two lessons (readings) from the
Bible. The first is usually taken from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament. Each lesson is followed by (one of):
canticles, usually the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, but the various Books of Common Prayer from different countries often offer an enlarged list of options.
Apostles' Creed.
prayers and responses, including the Kyrie eleison and the Lord's Prayer.
anthem following the third collect ("In quires and places where they sing, here followeth the anthem," in the famous phraseology of the 1662 edition of the Prayer Book).
-Further prayers

Mind you, I note that last Saturday's Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral included the Edward Heath Memorial Piano Recital by John Lill, so that would have been worth listening to. Dear Old Simon was staying in a flat in the cathedral close, so it sounds like a wonderful weekend.

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