Each year on the feast day of St. Michael and All Angels (29 September), my thoughts turn to a grand woman I knew, Jane Luce Yeats. She was organist and mistress of the choir for thirty-eight years in our small, rural parish. Jane wasn't one of "those" organists; she was really, really good. In fact, she was good enough to have played for services at West Point.
Jane's favourite hymn was Ye Holy Angels Bright. Consequently, after Easter Day, Michaelmas was her favourite feast day. We always had Evensong on this day, and the closing hymn was always Ye Holy Angels. I can still her diminutive form sitting at the console of our 1862 Wm Stevens' tracker organ, beatific smile on her face, as we sang "her hymn" at the top of our lungs. We did it that way because we weren't singing for God at that moment, we were singing for "our Jane. Jane has been "gone" for a long time now, but she is not forgotten. Her birthday is tomorrow.
So today, on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, while TEC contemplates the events coming this weekend, this post is for you, Jane. May you continue to go from light to light, in that land of perfect freedom.
I still love you, Jane. Thank you for all you shared with me, and gave me, and taught me about music and about God' love.
or through the realms of light fly at your Lord's command,
assist our song, for else the theme too high doth
seem for mortal tongue.
Ye blessed souls at rest, who ran this earthly race
and now, from sin released, behold your Savior's face,
his praises sound, as in his sight with sweet
delight ye do abound.
Ye saints, who toil below, adore your heavenly King,
and onward as ye go some joyful anthem sing;
take what he gives and praise him still, through good or ill,
who ever lives!
My soul, bear thou thy part, triumph in God above:
and with a well-tuned heart sing thou the songs of love!
Let all thy days till life shall end, whate'er he send,
be filled with praise!