All of the glory, none of the angst

Its Ascension Day today. (Its always a Thursday, you know).

One of the best of the Feast Days to celebrate. All of the glory, none of the angst.

Bishop Gregor is keeping it in St Mary’s tonight at 7.30. The music will include the lovely Little Organ Mass by Haydn.


  1. ChickPea says

    I confess that I was pleased to see the candle extinguished this evening. Always seems to me to be a particularly appropriate symbol at this service. And, yes, a certain poignancy…… after all, what DID it feel like for them left behind to await the next promise ?
    (Perhaps there could be an extinguishing of ALL liturgical candles until Pentecost………. that’d make us think a bit………).

    • Yes – I like the symbolism. These days, most modern liturgists tell us that the Pashcal candle should be lit for the 50 days of Easter, which culminate on the Feast of Pentecost. Its one of the few times when I disagree and think the former practise to be much more evocative and moving.

  2. The smell is certainly most evocative! The candle produced more smoke than the thurible last night.

  3. Well that’s how the choir like it, no?

  4. ChickPea says

    (Hmmmnnnn………….. The Padre appears to be playing with matches again PamB……… )

  5. Rosemary Hannah says

    I always think it is an intensely sad day. There he goes, scarred now, and yes, home, at last – but we who wave him off? We who know that we will never truly see him, with the eyes of the flesh, never again hold or be held by him, until we too pass into changes we can barely imagine? We who so need him at times, and can never touch however urgent out need? Ah glory, of course, but like most glory – at a terrible price.

  6. Elizabeth says

    I agree with Rosemary, ascension can make me feel quite bereft.

    I must also admit to great liturgical confusion. 50 days of Easter, but 40 days from Easter to Ascension. Why are we in Eastertide between Ascension and Pentecost and not Ascensiontide or Ordinary Time?

    • This article from the US Prayer Book Society throws a little light on the confusion and how we have ended up where we are with the calendar as it is at the moment.

      The fifty days of Easter notion does seem to be a relatively modern liturgical invention that was claimed to be a reconstruction of “definitive” early chruch practice now lost.

      Like the Easter Vigil then…

      I’d be interested in hearing in further comments, from anyone who has better knowledge of the history of these changes than I have.

  7. Elizabeth says

    Oooo . . . modern reconstructions (i.e. inventions) of definitive ancient practices – my favorite! What’s the point of having a liturgical tradition if you can’t embroider it a bit from time to time?

    • I could tell you that the 40 Days/50 Days paradox is part of the Celtic tradition.

      Would that help, Elizabeth?

  8. Elizabeth says

    Better and better! (I mean it, I really do love modern re/complete/inventions of practices of varying degrees of ancientness)

  9. I could tell you it was all to do with the Knights Templar….

    Or the masons….

  10. Elizabeth says

    *claps hands*

  11. Elizabeth says

    I bet there was a war between the 50 day people and the 40 +10 day people. And spies!

  12. and I again, Elizabeth, there is a novel in it…

  13. Zebadee says

    Kimberly– You are the person to write the novel

  14. Elizabeth says

    I agree with Zebadee.

  15. bound by confidentiality, as you know.

    But there’s a thought: ‘dear difficult parishioner, you really should be nice to me, because if I were to give up on this way of life, my next project would be…’

  16. Rosemary Hannah says

    Gosh – only the thought of that would ever make me suggest you reconsider your vocation!

  17. Elizabeth says

    What about wildly inaccurate historical fiction? Knights Templar, feuding Ascension factions, etc.? I feel the bunnies in the Dunblane Cathedral window could play a crucial role. Surely that doesn’t violate any vows?

  18. but that takes real work and knowledge, Elizabeth. History and I never got on very well.

  19. Rosemary Hannah says

    Having on occasion attempted to read books like that presented by kind friends. let me tell you that it so does not take any kind of research or understanding. Not even at higher levels – Jill Paton Walsh’s ‘Knowledge of Angels’ starting with a premise on the breastfeeding of babies which I could have proved in two minutes was contrary to established facts. Sadly I could not throw it through the nearest window as I was illicitly reading it in Mount Stuart’s drawing room where it had been left to provide a lived in feel to the room.

  20. Ritualist Robert says

    It always seems to me to be a contradiction that the priests who tell us that the paschal candle represents Christ at the Easter Vigil are the same priests who tell us that the candle should stay in situ and lit till pentecost.

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