This Year’s New Church Day Pageant

I wish we had a record of all the different ways New Church Day Pageants have been done over the years. People have done so many different, creative things to depict the visions from the book of Revelation and to celebrate the coming of the New Church. Many of you will remember that people used to ride live horses around the east lawn of the cathedral for the scenes depicting the white, red, black, and pale horses (Revelation 6:1-8) and that people used to throw balls from the cathedral tower to depict hail and fire being thrown to the earth (Revelation 8:7).

All the props, costumes, and sets that we currently use also have so much creativity and care that have been put into them over the years. It’s an honor to get to use these materials and to get to continue the tradition of trying to think creatively about how to depict these important visions from the Lord’s Word.

This year we will be making small tweaks to the pageant that has been done in Bryn Athyn for the past few years. We will be highlighting the recurring sevens in the book of Revelation—the seven lampstands, seven letters to the seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven plagues. We will be modifying one of the key costumes in a dramatic way (it’s a surprise, you’ll just have to come to the pageant to see it); and we will be adding in two short selections from Handel’s Messiah. We had selections from Part I of Handel’s Messiah at Christmas, from Part II at Easter, and so it just felt right to have a selection from Part III on New Church Day.

There are a couple of visions in the book of Revelation of people singing to the Lord. These visions are, perhaps, not as memorable as some of the others but there is something very powerful about imagining hearing countless angels singing their hearts out in grateful praise to the Lord, even as many terrifying visions are yet to come.

[The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders] sang a new song…. Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

To receive power and riches and wisdom,

And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

                                                                                          (Revelation 5:9, 11, 12)

If you would like to be a part of this tradition this year, please let us know. We could still use a couple more people. Call Rachel Martin at 267-737-9411.