Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gaudete Sunday--with liturgical puzzle

Today is Gaudete Sunday. We were, however, snowed out of church today, so the only signs of Gaudete will be here at home, where we would have been lighting two purple candles and one pink today anyway.

The snow has stopped at something like six inches plus drifting, which really isn't too bad for this part of the world. And now the sun has come out gloriously. Hurts your eyes on all that beautiful snow. It's all very well for me to say "beautiful snow," of course. It's my husband who is going out to get milk and bread, if any is left in the store after storm-spooked shoppers were there yesterday. And it was Eldest Daughter who--for a wage she considers somewhat inadequate--shoveled the walks and driveway and brushed off her Dad's car. The hardest labor I'm doing today is laundry. But it looks pretty out there anyway.

Gaudete Sunday is the source of a small liturgical puzzle that no one I've ever talked to, nor some googling I've done in the past, has been able to solve: The introit contains the words, "Rejoice in the Lord alway," and that's why it's Gaudete Sunday. But those words appear nowhere in the readings for the day in the Book of Common Prayer. Now, that might not be so puzzling. The introit is often unrelated to the readings. The real oddity is that next week the Epistle reading in the Prayer Book is exactly that passage in Philippians 4, beginning "Rejoice in the Lord alway...the Lord is at hand." It seems to me like these must at some time have come on the same Sunday. After all, why consider one Sunday "Rejoice Sunday" in virtue of the introit but put the entire passage with those words on a different week when you're back in purple vestments again? But if so, when and how did they get separated? And which week was the original Gaudete--the third or fourth of Advent? (My bet is on the third.)

Just to be confusing and difficult, I'm going to put here next week's collect. This week's collect is about John the Baptist. Not a bad fellow, but not as great a collect as next week's. And I might be feverishly wrapping presents next week and not have time to blog. So, the collect for Advent IV:

O Lord, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.


Jeff Culbreath said...

That's a good question. Sounds like more Cranmerian mischief to me. :-)

In the traditional Latin Mass the Epistle for this Sunday is taken from Phil 4. 4-7:

"Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Jeff Culbreath said...

I just checked the Novus Ordo lectionary (which is a 3-year cycle), and it appears to have the same cohesiveness problem as the BCP.

Lydia McGrew said...

That's interesting. So the old Latin lectionary brings the "rejoice" introit and Gospel together, but the NO one separates them. I wonder why the NO did that. Weird.

I wonder how old the lectionary order is in the traditional Latin mass. Obviously, the traditional Latin mass itself is super-old, but I know nothing about the lectionary order for it.

Jeff Culbreath said...

Well, with a three-year cycle, I suppose the NO could match them up once (don't know if it does), but the other two years would still be off.