Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sun. July 8, 2012 (Ruth Enns)

Ruth Enns spoke on the medieval chant, Dies irae, a poem (sequence) written c. 1250 by Thomas Celano. Dies irae was quickly appreciated, being added to the Mass for the Dead (removed only in the late 1960s as a result of the reforms of Vatican II). The poet imagines a fearful day of judgment when "all" will be revealed.  The poet then asks, "What am I going to do", if even the righteous have reason to be fearful? Hope is offered when we are reminded that Mary Magdalene and the 'thief on the cross' were forgiven, so perhaps there is hope for the likes of me. The poem's final lines ask that "Gentle Jesus, grant them rest", praying for the souls of all humanity. It is interesting to see that, as Christendom faded from the cultures of the 18th and 19th centuries, interest in this particular medieval chant went viral, with Europe's leading composers quoting from its opening melody when writing for orchestras, the piano, the organ, and of course for choirs.  The chant soon became a signature tune denoting death to all who heard it. Even contemporary culture, as it explores Armageddon, the end of the universe, etc., has been intrigued by this theme--whereas the present church tends to downplay a final judgment, eternal torment, and even the notion of there being a hell.  [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, July 8th, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.



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