Visit our new site at

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Video: Laudate Dominum

Today my community celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, complete with an asperges - a blessing of the water in our baptismal font and a sprinkling of the congregation with the new water. (My oldest, newly an acolyte, was shocked to discover that the water in the font comes from the tap in the back sacristy! Was I baptized in blessed tap water? Yep! )

This video, of thousands of people gathered to praise the Lord, made me wonder what the scene must have been like at Jesus’ baptism. A crowd, come to see John, and finding themselves simultaneously confronted by both God incarnate and God incarnator. Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes, alleluia! Praise the Lord, all you nations, alleluia!

The piece is a Taize chant. Taize is an ecumenical monastic community in France, found in the 1940s. The community’s charisms are service to the poor, as well as sung prayer. The prayer songs composed for the community are marked by their simplicity and meditative qualities. Many (including this piece) are structured as canons. It is music meant to center the soul. Taize’s music has a broad appeal, you can find their chants in hymnals both conservative and modern. The Episcopal Church about a mile from me has even a weekly Taize prayer service (to which I’ve never been, but maybe it’s time?).

How is your community marking the transition from Christmas to Ordinary Time? And are you relieved to be back to the plain times, or, as my spiritual director annually bemoans, does it arrive with a clunk?

If you want to add this to your playlist, find it on iTunes or at Amazon.


  1. I have this on CD and the music is very calming and meditative. Good choice, Michelle!

  2. Like Cathy I too have this on C.D.-and I love it! Thank you Michelle.

  3. I like to mark the transition with the Narrator's last monologue from Auden's "For the Time Being"...Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree, Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes--Some have got broken--and carrying them up to the attic..." It's full of wonderful, wonderful things.

  4. On of my all time favorite Taize's...beautiful...

  5. Today I preached in Little Church my mom attends. They do not necessarily follow the liturgical year. Never the less we had a Remembrance of Baptism. I didn't asperse - that would have thrown them completely for a loop. Instead they came forward to the water for their own remembrance. While it was a small group, several commented on finding the experience meaningful. I took that to mean Holy.

    I also enjoy Taize music and services. Several groups have gone from my seminary and from our conference. The music they bring back is always Spirit evoking.

  6. I've got that CD too, and would like more. We also heard about baptism in my church today, but the best "transition" was the children's time by one of my high school classmates (40+years ago) where she explained that Christmas is never really over as long as we keep thinking of others and giving. (Also the minister wore a stupendous glittery stole - the male minister that is!)

  7. I think the sort of "step-down" Sunday of Bapt. of the Lord helps me move into ordinary time. Not that it's a second-rate event to honor, but it helps me move from the high holy season into the "ordinary" season.

    I talked to my congregation this morning about that move a little bit. I know ordinary means more than plain when you look at alternate meanings of the word, but let's face it - - ordinary sounds ordinary. I prefer to count my non-preparatory and non-feast season Sundays by Epiphany and Pentecost. So many Sundays of or after E or P. For some reason it just seems so easy to get complacent when I just call them ordinary. Each Sunday is tied to the larger story of faith when I call them Sundays in E or P. That's just me, though.

    I don't really mark the transition with anything special, I guess, and it can seem to just drop off except when these transition days get focus. This year will be weird for me I think with Lent starting so early. I feel very pressured about it already since I just started my ministry in this call. I feel like I'm already behind since I am just starting that planning for Lent. Oi!

    Thanks for the video!

  8. mid-life rookie,
    My field ed pastor did the same at the first (smaller) service, asking each of us for our baptismal name before she made the sign of the cross with water from the font. At the second, she had us all remember our baptism by an affirmation of faith using the adult baptism questions.

    I'm 45 and I don't think I've ever been involved with a baptismal remembrance.

  9. I love Taize also.

    Our (TEC) tradition at Baptism (and on this Sunday, which did not include a Baptism) is to renew our own Baptismal Vows, which generally follow the Apostle's Creed. We did not get asperged (?) in this case, though I love that idea!

  10. I mentioned this on my blog, but I made the sign of the cross on the children's foreheads with water to help them remember that they are truly BELOVED. And then they did the same for me.

  11. I love all these ideas, from Auden to baptismal vows to signing with the cross in water. I can't wait to share them with our liturgy committee tomorrow night.

    grace and ordinary peace to you all!


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.