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Dear Friends,
 
If Sunday’s anthem came from the relative stability of a Church of England most definitely established, then today’s speaks from within the very rubble of the Reformation itself. Thomas Tallis, the finest of English composers whose life spanned the reign of five monarchs (Henry VII to Elizabeth I), must have been something of a canny operator to make it through such turbulent times without scratch or dent - especially as he remained an ‘unreformed Roman Catholic’ to his dying day. What was his secret? We find the answer in If ye love me, an unaccompanied four-part anthem that we might have heard sung this evening during that most evocative of the Maundy Thursday ceremonies - the washing of feet. Long gone are the florid, multi-layered lines of Tallis’ early work that had made him famous across 16th-century Europe; long-gone the Latin text, replaced with the common tongue ‘understanded of the people’ and, with it, a theology rooted in the Protestantism of the day. It would be easy to believe that the compromise for Tallis would have been too much to bear, but the music of his later period suggests that he was able to find beauty in an uneasy dispensation.
 
Compromise does not sit all that easily within the events of the coming three days (we are, after all, recalling the full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice of Christ in his body on the tree), but it does characterise something of the contemporary life we lead as Christians. We exist in the ‘now, but not yet’ of salvation history, and we are all too aware of the sad divisions existent within Christ’s own body, the Church. These days, of all days, we live with the compromise of our not being present in church as these beautiful days unfold. But the work of God’s new creation goes on, and as we participate in it so we also find ourselves looking forward to that day ‘when sacraments shall cease’ and we will be one with the Church throughout time and place. I like to think that Tallis, all those years ago, would have been doing something pretty similar. You can listen to it by clicking here 
 
As we go deeper into the heart of Holy Week, we recall not only the events of that one week but of all of salvation history. This is nowhere better summed up than in St John Henry Newman’s great hymn, Praise to the holiest, which you can listen to it by clicking here.
Look out for more music from me tomorrow
With love,
Simon
 
Our Lady, S.Pancras and all the Saints Pray For Us
Copyright © 2020 Parish of Old St Pancras, All rights reserved.


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