Sunday morning music


It’s Easter Sunday in most of the Western world, so I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite memories from my days as an active pastor.

The “Exsultet” is an ancient chant of rejoicing and praise for the resurrection of Christ.  “The regularity of the metrical cursus of the Exsultet would lead us to place the date of its composition perhaps as early as the fifth century, and not later than the seventh. The earliest manuscript in which it appears are those of the three Gallican Sacramentaries: — the Bobbio Missal (seventh century), the Missale Gothicum and the Missale Gallicanum Vetus (both of the eighth century).”

I used to chant the Exsultet each year, during the midnight service known as the Easter Vigil.  It wasn’t easy, because I don’t have the world’s greatest singing voice, but it was expected and required, so I coped.

Ah, yes . . . many memories, and deep spiritual meaning.  When chanting it, I couldn’t help feeling a link in my mind to the untold millions of other priests, deacons and others who’d done so before me over the years.  Hearing it today renews that link, somehow, even though my days of chanting it are long past.



  1. Peter, if I may ask, in what denomination did you pastor? It is idle curiosity on my part.

    Thank you for this moving post. It marks a true victory of good over evil, and of the greatest liberation of captive peoples from bondage. How wonderful it is to have a God who does not require us call him "master" and ourselves his slaves, but rather allows us to call him "Father."

    Being a father is hard. Being The Father is, I imagine, far harder still.

  2. Last time I went to my mom's church the priest had cut the canting or chanting out of the service, just spoken.

    Same words, just not as powerful.

    And they are doing the same thing everywhere, well, at least in my AOA.

    Why, oh God why is the Catholic Church so intent on removing all the pageantry and mystery out of the service?

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