Monday, November 26, 2012

Catholic Mass and a Brass Quartet

Ironically in my last post I wrote about how fortunate I’ve been that my work has not kept me from worshipping in my LDS ward each Sunday. Well, that’s usually true, except this past weekend.

As it happened, I had to make a quick trip to Germany for a work assignment this week, and so I spent most of Sunday travelling to Cologne. I arrived at my hotel about 6 pm, and was thrilled to enter my room and see the Kölner Dom directly across the river. I quickly arranged myself in my room, and took off across the bridge to see if I could peek inside the cathedral. There was a schedule mass beginning at 7 pm, and I arrived a few minutes before that. I listened to the early comments of the priest and heard the singing of the Kyrie eleison from my spot standing near the door at the back. After the singing of the Kyrie I left, feeling warmed by having heard it.

I had just recently attended a concert of Bach’s B-minor Mass with my lovely wife (she was writing a paper on Bach and mass for a music history class she’s taking); without that training, I would not have recognized the Kyrie, the opening of the mass, proclaiming, “Lord, have mercy.”

As I left the cathedral, I went around the corner and heard the strains of brass instruments playing Bach. At first I thought it was still coming from inside the cathedral, but that didn’t make sense. As I rounded another corner, I found a brass quartet from St. Petersburg playing a movement of one of the Brandenburg concertos. They were in a bit of a tunnel formed by different buildings of a museum and the acoustics were pretty cool.

How fortunate I was to have those two musical experiences to end my Sabbath day of travel.

How fortunate I am also to know that although I would prefer to be in my own sacrament meeting (or some sacrament meeting) renewing my own covenants each Sunday, that I can also draw near to the Lord in other settings as well. I can reflect on my relationship to Him wherever I am. I can draw strength from Alma’s teaching to the poor Zomamites, that I need not only call unto God in my synagogue, but I can call upon Him wherever I am.

That said, I look forward to being home next weekend and to going back to my home ward.

BTW, you can check out my latest post at Real Intent, "Bearing the Vessels of the Lord," here.

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