Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

This is the Night!

on March 30, 2013

Happy Holy Saturday! Tonight’s liturgy is absolutely hands-down my favorite liturgy of the entire year. We get to do all sorts of cool stuff that we don’t do any other time of the year:

a. Light a bonfire.

b. Process around holding little candles.

c. Sing songs in the dark.

d. Listen to up to seven readings taken from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Romans, a Gospel, and maybe some other books I can’t remember off the top of my head.

e. Use lots and lots of incense, bells, candles, and holy water.

f. Sing the Litany of Saints and the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation).

As for the Exsultet, I just lovelovelove this piece of music. Tonight is the only time it is ever sung during the entire year. It is liturgically most appropriate for a priest or deacon to sing the Exsultet, but it can also be done by a lay person cantor. If the cantor is a lay person, they omit a small section of the text that should only be sung by clergy. The music is a cool chant that I don’t think comes around for any other music or prayers. So, it’s really special and such a treat to hear and to sing. I’ve been fortunate enough to sing it myself several times in my career as a church musician, and I just love it. I even got a little sad last year when the priest at the church where I worked was able and excited to sing it himself! I’m so happy that he wanted to do it, but I was sad that I didn’t get to!

The text pretty much says: tonight is really awesome because tonight is the night Jesus rose from the dead and saved all humanity, through his gift of love perfecting God’s covenant that was established with Adam. We are so excited about this night, that we made this huge candle to offer to God, with the help of the bees who produced the wax. This candle is a blazing torch that represents the glory of Christ among us and we hope it burns forever! Amen!

Here is a real excerpt from the text, taken from the beginning of the hymn:

“Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph! Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples. Therefore, dearest friends, standing in the awesome glory of this holy light, invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty, that he, who has been pleased to number me, though unworthy, among the Levites, may pour into me his light unshadowed, that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.”

100_1447Tomorrow is Easter and I made us a special treat. It’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake from The New Best Recipe Cookbook by the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. I believe I did utter the words, “I’m never making this again! It’s too hard!” while I was assembling the cake, but when I tasted the o-so-yummy batter I may have revised my decision. I would just do a few things differently since I don’t have the straight sided tube pan the recipe asked for. I ended up going out to buy a pan, and I couldn’t find a tube pan! So I bought a large springform pan instead. I think that’s what made the assembly so tricky. You put some batter in the bottom, then a layer of streusel  then more batter, more streusel  more batter, the topping. The batter is so thick it wouldn’t really spread out over the streusel  It was frustrating, but I am confident the cake will taste amazing. It’s been taunting us all afternoon with its delicious aroma and toasty nutty appearance. I can’t wait.

I think I’ll be able to post tomorrow but if I don’t make it, have a happy Easter!

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