Festival Mass in St John's Church, Buxton sung to Mozart's Missa Brevis in D by the Buxton Madrigal Singers with soloists from the Buxton Festival's Young Artists Programme directed by Michael Williams. The celebrant is the Rector of Buxton, the Revd John Hudghton, and the preacher is Bishop Jack Nicholls. Organist: Ben Morris. Producer: Stephen Shipley.
Sunday Worship - Buxton Festival
Now it’s time for Sunday Worship which today makes its annual visit to the Buxton Festival for a Eucharist in St John’s Church. It’s sung to Mozart’s ‘Sparrow’ Mass by the Buxton Madrigal Singers with soloists from the Festival Opera Company. The celebrant is the Rector of Buxton, the Reverend John Hudghton* and the sermon is preached by the Bishop of Repton, the Right Reverend Humphrey Southern. The service begins with the hymn: ‘Christ whose glory fills the skies.’Hymn: Christ, whose glory fills the skies (Tune: Ratisbon)
Welcome by the Revd John Hudghton
Welcome to the Parish Church of St John the Baptist here in Buxton on the edge of Derbyshire’s Peak District. This is one of three special services during our annual Festival of Music and the Arts which together with the Fringe sees many thousands of people visiting our attractive spa town. Today we’re particularly remembering the Transfiguration of our Lord, and we hope that all of you joining us for this broadcast will, like those first disciples, be granted a glimpse of Jesus’s divinity which strengthened their faith and sustained them.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
When Christ appears, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is. As he is pure, all who have grasped this hope make themselves pure. So let us confess our sins that mar his image in us.
Please sit quietly
Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) Mozart
Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest) Mozart
Father in heaven, whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain, and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem: give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross that in the world to come we may see him as he is; who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The New Testament Reading
A reading from the second letter of Peter:
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)
This is the word of the Lord
All: Thanks be to God.
Hymn: ’Tis good, Lord, to be here, (Tune: Carlisle)
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke
All: Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)
This is the Gospel of the Lord
All: Praise to you, O Christ.
The Sermon: Bishop Jack Nicholls
I was born at 20 Booth Road, Waterfoot in the Rossendale Valley of East Lancashire. The house is no longer there. It was demolished in a slum clearance project when I was ten years old and we were moved to the brand new council housing estate nearby. Nothing remains of 20 Booth Road. It is just an empty space. There isn’t even room for one of those blue plaques to denote that someone as important as me was born there!
We do like to have something tangible to remind us of the important occasions in our lives. Nowadays the simplest way to capture the moment permanently is by photograph. We can then show our families and friends and tell them that this is where it happened and talk about the significance of it all. But there is a danger in this. Sometimes we can be so busy recording the event that we miss its impact and its meaning, something that can never be recaptured. I heard of a young father who recorded the first minutes of his new child’s life. He took great care to get everything right so that he could share the good news with his family and friends but when he got home he realised with great sadness that he had been so busy marking the moments on film that he had forgotten to hold his newborn child in his arms. It was a moment that could never be repeated, it was lost forever.
Today’s gospel story is about a very special moment in the life of Jesus and a chosen few of his disciples, Peter, James and John. The disciples never forgot that moment, it was life changing. Peter said “ It is good Lord to be here” but then ruined it as he often did, having a mouth like the Mersey Tunnel, by adding “Let us build three shelters here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” In other words let’s capture the moment and keep it. His words broke the spell and they were covered in a cloud. They almost missed the glory by trying to capture it and keep it.
Glory comes in glimpses and the glimpses are always unexpected, never prearranged by us. I am always suspicious of religious experiences, which are manufactured by experts in religion.
For most of us glimpses of glory are few and always unexpected. They happen in the strangest places, often the last place one would expect to encounter the Glory of God and they cannot be recorded.
I suppose the desire to mark the spot with a blue plaque or the occasion with a photograph is a way of possessing the place or the occasion when real freedom comes not from possessiveness but in letting go. This is the most difficult of lessons for us humans. Letting go of people, things and occasions is a way of laying down our lives, of losing ourselves in order to be found by Life with a capital L, Life in all its fullness and the possibility of glimpses of Glory here and Glory to come.
So let’s not try to pin down God into a box or even a Church. Let God be God, a God full of surprises and Transfiguring glimpses of Glory. Amen
Credo in unum Deum (I believe in one God) Mozart
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
All: And also with you
All exchange a sign of peaceHymn: Love divine, all loves excelling, (Tune: Blaenwern)
Lift up your hearts
All: We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God:
All: It is right to give thanks and praise.
It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy, at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise, holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you, and singing:
Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy) Mozart
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who, in your tender mercy, gave your only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; he instituted, and in his holy gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of his precious death until he comes again. Hear us, merciful Father, we humbly pray, and grant that we receiving these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine, according to your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood;
Who, in the same night as he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper, he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. Amen.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.
All: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.
Agnus Dei (O Lamb of God) Mozart
Christ Jesus, the splendour of the Father and the image of his being, draw you to himself that you may live in his light and share his glory; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Organ Voluntary: Prelude in C BWV 547 Bach