Candlemas to Lent:
A Meditation in Words and Music

Its all too easy to forget that an enormous amount of music, and poetry and prose too, can be a vehicle for thought, meditation and even prayer, if we can only find the time and space to let it have its effect on us.

Much of the finest English verse expresses some of the deepest human experience in vivid and telling language of the search for meanings in life, for belief and faith. But the usual round of church services allows few opportunities for reading it and quietly listening to it.

Similarly, over the centuries a vast amount of music has been written, especially for the organ, which has been intended to lead our thoughts and aid our prayers and devotions. Present-day services are often so busy that even when we hear it we tend to ignore it and relegate it to the background; and much of the best such music is rarely played because it refers to melodies and ideas which are no longer common or well known.

But if we can only find out what it is supposed to be about, it all becomes clear and makes its true effect.

With this in mind we initially devised a short meditation, which focused on the period from 'Candlemas to Lent', in which readings and suitable organ music alternated - a brief period of stillness, as a vehicle for quiet reflection and private thought. It was not a service at least in the usual sense: there were no hymns, sermon or ceremony. Words and music, we trust, spoke for themselves.

Gill and Michael Frith


Copyright All Saints' Church, Doddinghurst 2010