Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. Ps. 90:12
Different liturgical observations call for liturgical distinctives to heighten the observation of specific seasons.
The Advent Wreath – A circle of greenery, marked by four candles that represent the four Sundays of the season of Advent. An additional candle is lit as each new Sunday is celebrated in Advent. Advent wreaths are used both in churches and in homes for devotional purposes. The candles may be blue, purple, or lavender, depending on local custom. Some Advent wreaths include a white candle in the center known as the “Christ Candle,” which is lit on Christmas Eve.
Wreaths beneath the clerestory windows – A wreath of evergreen, shaped in a perfect circle is intended to symbolize the eternality of God.
Wreaths on the front doors of the Chapel – Bows on wreaths during the Advent season are a color called Sarum blue. At Christmas, the bows are changed to red.
Antiphonal Seating for Advent Lessons and Carols – Arranging the chairs directly across from one another, or antiphonal seating as it is called, is part of ancient church tradition. It likely dates from the early monastic period, chairs arranged such for the singing of psalms and antiphons. It unavoidably reminds us that, positioned this way, we are looking at the Body of Christ. For Lessons and Carols, the seating is patterned after King’s College Cambridge, where the congregation sits in the midst of the choir for the service.
Creche – In the Christian tradition, a creche, also known as a nativity scene, or a manger scene, is an exhibition, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the birth of Jesus Christ. The Creche is pictured without the figures.
Creche Figures – Included are the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, cows, and sheep. The Magi, the three wise men or kings, are not added to the creche until the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates their arrival after following a star.
The Advent Wreath at Christmas – The Advent wreath is refreshed and a Christ Candle is added to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve.
In The Ceremonies of the Eucharist Howard Galley writes: “During Lent, it is desirable that the church itself reflect the austerity of the season. Where there is a mural or picture behind the altar, it is appropriately concealed from view by a veil of a color that does not call attention to itself.” (p.42) At the Chapel, our icons are veiled, our carpet at the altar is removed, our vestments are Lenten array, made of unbleached linen, and reflect the austerity of the season.
Veiled Icons – At the Chapel, our icons are veiled during the season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday – Ashes for Ash Wednesday are traditionally made by burning the palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Ashes are imposed on the forehead in the shape of a cross.
Palms for Palm Sunday: The Sunday of the Passion – Palm Sunday is the day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At the Chapel, we observe the feast with a blessing of palms and a procession in which the whole congregation carries palms. Palms can be folded into Palm crosses to reflect the dual theme of Palm Sunday of the triumphal entry and Christ’s Passion.
Veils for Palm Sunday – On Palm Sunday, veils in the Chapel are oxblood in color.
Pitcher and Basin for Footwashing on Maundy Thursday
Veils for Good Friday – On Good Friday, veils in the Chapel are black in color.
Crucifix for Good Friday – The Book of Common Prayer instructs that a wooden cross or crucifix large enough to be clearly visible throughout the church is brought into the church. The Chapel uses a Crucifix.
Easter and the Great Fifty Days of Easter
Firepit for the new Paschal Fire – The congregation assembles near the unlighted fire and are given unlighted candles. The Paschal Candle is lighted, and we process into the Chapel from the church yard.
The Paschal Candle – A new Paschal Candle is presented to the gathered assembly at the beginning of the service and is lighted from the new Paschal fire.
Vigil Candles – Candles for the vigil are distributed to the gathered congregation prior to the service.
Veil for Easter Vigil and the Great Fifty Days of Easter – The cross at the Chapel is veiled for Easter Vigil through the end of the Great 50 Days of Easter.
Easter Day Flowering Cross – The flowing of the cross at the Chapel invites our children to participate in the Easter Day liturgy by flowering a cross.