Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Exultet

Fr. Dale Matson

It is early Easter Morning here as I reflect on this marvelous and ancient hymn of the church. Since we have no singing deacons as Fr. Carlos our dean would say, I elected to sing the Exultet (Easter Proclamation). again this year after a two year hiatus. There is something primordial and mystical about the experience. The The Pascal Candle is lit from a fire and processed by the deacon into a dark church. The congregation follows with candles lit from the Pascal Candle. The deacon is blessed by the bishop (Bishop Eric), and then the censer is handed to the deacon by the thurifer. The deacon censes the Pascal Candle. The deacon then stands before the Pascal Candle and sings the Exultet.

This hymn is a history telling of all of God’s people united by faith. It is also the Gospel message expressing the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Anglican Exultet is as follows:

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.
Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.
Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.
All you who stand near this marvelous and holy flame,
pray with me to God the Almighty
for the grace to sing the worthy praise of this great light;
through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
Answer And also with you.
Deacon Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Answer It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our
whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the invisible,
almighty, and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who
at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin,
and by his blood delivered your faithful people.
This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children
of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the
Red Sea on dry land.
This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered
from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness
of life.
This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell,
and rose victorious from the grave.
How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your
mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you
gave a Son.
How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and
sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy
to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings
peace and concord.
How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined
and man is reconciled to God.
Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this
candle in your honor. May it shine continually to drive away
all darkness. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no
setting, find it ever burning—he who gives his light to all
creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Here is a performance of the Exultet in China demonstrating the universality of this great hymn.
The Lord is Risen Alleluia.


Dale Matson said...

It is one year later. I sang the Exultet again last night. One tricky part is censing the Paschal Candle before singing. The air becomes thick with incense.
Oh to have a voice as good as Fr. Tim Hepburn. The Roman Catholic Exultet is a bit different than the Anglican version.

Dale Matson said...

I sang the Exultet again last night and had a few wrong notes. My eyesight has deteriorated and in the dim light, it was difficult to see the music. I announced last week that this would be my final time. We'll see if anyone else is willing to take it on in 2016. Happy Easter. He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Dale Matson said...

Our Cathedral dean Fr. Carlos Sang the Exultet this year and did a fine job. He has a good voice and we still have no "singing deacons". God bless you Father Carlos.

Dale Matson said...

I was unable to attend last nights Easter Vigil as I continue to recover from anemia and assume Fr. Carlos again sang the Exultet. I truly miss the days of Bishop John David Schofield where we began the Easter Vigil Service before dawn on Easter Sunday. I was ordained a deacon my first year at St. James but was not prepared to sing the Exultet. Fr. Bill Gandenberger did a nice job which I inherited from him when he departed the diocese. I remember practicing with a recording of it on my IPod Nano in the back pocket of my running shorts and ear buds as I ran the trails of Woodward Park in Fresno. After Bishop Eric Menees was enthroned he wanted the evening service in the Cathedral. I always preferred it in the Chapel of the Innocents on our campus. We now celebrate it as guests at another church since TEC won the lawsuit and is in possession of our former campus. We hope to have our new location at some point in the future. Happy Easter! He is Risen, He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!

Dale Matson said...

This year, I was led to come out of 'retirement' and once again sing the holy and mystical Exultet. It was a joy and a privilege. For those of you who are Anglicans, There is a good version of the Exultet on YouTube performed by Todd Marchand here.
Happy Easter to you all! He is risen. He is risen indeed!