When I entered high school – now a frightening twenty three years ago – the syllabus for music had us study medieval music. This was my first introduction to plain chant and to the sequence we will hear this evening as part of the Requiem service for those departed this past year. Our teacher was so effective that you would have heard 12 year old boys chanting the first line of this sequence at any opportune moment: Dies Irae, dies illa solve saeclum in favila teste david cum sybilla – and I am still humming the tune as I write. We will hear it this evening in the setting Mozart wrote and it is quite a terrifying movement both as listener and performer, conjuring up into our imagination the day of wrath and judgement.
Today we enter the last part of the Church’s year as we celebrate All Saints. Today we will hear how Jesus was moved by the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus wept for Lazarus and at the sight of his friends’ distress. Jesus has compassion for Mary and Martha.
We begin a season of Remembrance. We remember those who have gone before us in faith – this morning those who are examples to us in their life of faith, this evening those who have inspired us personally by sharing part of this earthly life with us. They had experienced Jesus compassion and understood that it had conquered the darkness of the day of judgement.
I hope you join us this evening for our Commemoration Service as we hear Mozart’s Requiem and listen to the names of the departed read out. Let us remember that Jesus shares in our grief as he shared with Mary and Martha. Let us rejoice with all the saints this morning that we have a share in God’s kingdom.