The Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University is something of a wondrous space. It is a combination of simplicity and complicated beauty and was a joy to attend services and events there. My freshman year at Valparaiso was a struggle and I was a pill at best, but mostly I was over matched. I got the wind better in my sails the following year before I went on to Michigan State and Columbia but it remains the best and most challenging years of my life. On a cold and windy night - well a similar night half a century ago is more than vidid.
Every evening at sunset we celebrated Vespers. You didn't have to go but once you did, you got hooked on it. The service was quiet with not a lot of stomping around, up and down, 5 verse hymns. On special days, like this time of year approaching Thanksgiving Eve, we got some special music together and really did it right or as close to right as we could.
Most services at a Lutheran University urge and keep the Spirit entirely contemplative. We were told, rightly or not, that Vespers, the evening service was a time to reflect on how one spent the day and to reaffirm the faith for the time until the next service, Laudes, at sunrise.
We had recently performed Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and did so about now at Vespers, on a night 50 years ago. 630pm Central - right about now in fact. We just performed the last movement and in that cold yet wonderfully warm light, in that Chapel, with fall approaching winter on the outside - dark northern Indiana, Robert Frost silent, and in preparation for a 5 hour drive home, cramped in the back seat of a VW bug, WLS-AM from Chicago until we got to WJR-AM range in Detroit and then up north in Michigan and in the middle of the night to Bay City, a fire still but in embers, father asleep on the sofa "resting his eyes", the Chapel now half a dozen hours away, Stravinsky still in my ears...the Chapel, Vespers, fellowship and good will.
The contemplation is overwhelming. Enjoy this masterwork of spirit.