This Sunday’s Readings:
Psalm 16:5, 8, 9–10, 11 (℟ 1)
Hebrews 10:11–14, 18
DIDN’T 2020 FEEL A BIT LIKE THE APOCALYPSE? The end of days described in today’s Gospel seems to represent that dumpster fire of a year. The tribulations of pandemic, racial injustice, sexism, political unrest, poverty, and violence fed our sense of doom. By the end of that year, we were tired of being vigilant and exhausted by the unknown.
In these last weeks of the liturgical year, we enter into chapter 13 of Mark’s Gospel, sometimes called the “little apocalypse.” We started this liturgical year, during the worst days yet of the pandemic, with the concluding verses of the same chapter, which urged us to be watchful. From beginning to end, Mark asks: Where do we see God? And throughout, Jesus directs his disciples’ gaze: Look to the peripheries, the invisible ones, the powerless, the child, the widow, the cross. There you will see God’s glory. Today, Jesus exhorts his followers to be vigilant, to watch for the signs of God.
The thing about biblical apocalypses is that they always point to God’s nearness and fidelity. Even when we lapse in our vigilance, fail to see God’s presence in the chaos, or fall asleep when we should have stayed “woke,” the good news of the Gospel is this: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” God is faithful. You will see. The hard question we must ask ourselves is this: Is our motivation for the good that we do in line with the scribes or in line with Christ?
“Gird on the Gospel armor of faith and hope and love, and we’ll hear that trumpet sound in the morning.”
In the notes for this piece, Anne Heider recalls the history of The Singing Harp and the “singings” that took place most notably in the southern United States. These shape note sings – which continue today – are marked by two wonderful traditions: Everyone is invited to come forth from the group and be the leader of their song of choice. And a great communal meal is started by all. What is your sung prayer this week? With whom do you need to sing? Who needs to hear your song? What do you hope God will hear when you lift your voice in song?
More choral suggestions for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Gusten y Vean: Salmo 34(33) (bilingual) Pedro Rubalcava SATB, cantor, assembly, piano, guitar 012676
I Rejoice Kathleen M. Basi SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008337
I’m Gonna Ride the Chariot Arr. Edward Eicker SATB, solo, piano 008906
In God’s Time M.D. Ridge. SATB, descant, keyboard, guitar 008889
It Is Well with My Soul Philip Bliss, Arr. Carl W. Haywood G-6563
It Is Well with My Soul Philip Bliss, Arr. Nathan Carter SSATTB, piano G-5868
The Trumpet in the Morning Arr. Rory Cooney SATB, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. piccolo, trumpet, tenor saxophone, trombone G-4970
With the Alleluias Ringing to the Sky Timothy Dudley-Smith & Bob Moore. SATB, keyboard 005934
You Are My Inheritance Paul Lisicky SATB, descant, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, oboe 007741
You Are My Inheritance: Psalm 16 Craig Colson & Kristen Colson. SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 006358