Tonight, at 6:30, The St. Andrew's Academy Choir will sing an Evensong service for us. They're on their way through town, and in the time-honored tradition of youth choirs, they called to ask, "Can we sing for you? Can we sleep in your parish hall on the floor?" Yes to both questions. It's been a long time since I've heard kids sing in a choir. I'm looking forward to it.
Then, next weekend, the Oregon Chorale will come on Sunday evening. This is the second year for this event, and I hope we do it every year. We have a very acoustically live place, and it's not every choir director who would know what to do with it. The brick walls and the high, Gothic ceiling, the lack of carpet or cushions in the nave, and the wood of pews and glass of clerestory ... the vault of the room ... it's designed on purpose for sound to travel in the old fashioned way. Bounce, not microphones. When the Oregon chorale came last year, I heard what might have been the most perfect use of those acoustics - not commanded or tamed, but used as a means to the most beautiful music possible. It was rather amazing.
Autumn is the time for hearing this sort of music, I think. At the end of the summer, as the season turned, we asked St. Michael and All Angels to accompany us into the coming darkness. The time of waiting for The Baby has not yet come. This is the time in between. The battle is pitched, and the struggle engaged. Every year this is true. This year, the whole of the world wonders at the fight. Banks and financiers ... political powers and those who want them ... Speculation and greed, and both the innocent and the guilty are crushed in the path of it. Is this a struggle of rich vs. poor? Is it black vs. white? The powerful vs. the helpless? Is this the time for "some new messiah?"
This is the fall of the year. The music holds French horns and cellos. The song rises into the smoke-darkened rafters and the prayer soaks into the brick. The story seems to taunt us in the fall. What is my name? What is my name? We are being asked to spin straw into gold and we need its name. We need to be able to speak the silly absurdity, Rumpelstiltskin.But how to do it? We aren't archangels. We're just people.
We are just people, but we can speak the name. We know the archangels win the war. In the fall, we brush the dust of battle off our shoulders and we bow our heads and weep at the sounds of the fallen, but we know the archangels win the war. We hear the music of it. We catch the echoes. And when we laugh at Rumpelstiltskin, the straw on the wheel turns gold once more.