Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Today is Ash Wednesday and all over the world, these words will be spoken as ashes are imposed upon the foreheads of the faithful. They are a reminder that all are mortal, and everyone will face death one day. These words were also spoken only a few days ago, at the funeral of Ruth Ann Johnson, wife of Pastor Donald Johnson, who served LCH for over 30 years.
This is also the day that thirty-one years ago, we learned of the death of Carl Crosier’s mother, and not an Ash Wednesday goes by that we don’t remember her passing on this day. A few months later, our first-born child also died only two hours after birth, and we were tragically reminded about the fragility of life.
In keeping with the solemnity of the service, there will be no organ prelude, no organ postlude, and no organ music during the distribution of communion. Neither will I play any of the liturgy — everyone will get the pitch from a pitchpipe and the Sursum Corda, Sanctus, Lord’s Prayer and Agnus Dei will all be sung a cappella. The only music I will accompany on the organ will be the hymns and the psalm.
You may want to re-read my Ash Wednesday post of last year — and the only difference will be the music chosen for the choir.
The choir will be singing a plainsong chant as they process into the church, “Audi benigne,” a motet by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), “In jejunio et fletu” by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) at the offertory, “Emendemus in melius” by Cristobal de Morales (1500-1553), and “Miserere mei Domine” by Orlando de Lassus (1530-1594) — all somber music on this most penitential of days in the church calendar.
We will end the service in silence.