Wood carvings showing religious scenes

Online Reflections and Music

Throughout Trinity term, the Chapel community will continue to meet online in a weekly series of written reflections, prayers, and recordings of music performed by members of St Peter’s College Choir.

Each week, a new reflection will be uploaded to this page along with a video. The contributions of individual singers from St Peter’s, recorded in their own homes, are gathered together in synchronized performances.

The most recent week will appear directly below. If you wish to access reflections and recordings from previous weeks, these can be found in the drop down sections further down the page.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the Chaplain, Revd Dr Elizabeth Pitkethly (elizabeth.pitkethly@spc.ox.ac.uk).

Eighth Easter Reflection

Leavers’ Sunday: St Peter’s College Chapel
Rembrandt’s ‘The Flight into Egypt’

The eighth Sunday of Trinity term is the occasion when we say farewell to those who leave our college community. This year we are not able to say farewell in person in the way we would love to so I have picked up on themes of leaving and flight in this recorded reflection on Rembrandt’s painting, ‘The Flight into Egypt’. 

Although Rembrandt’s paintings on this theme are perhaps more obviously associated with the season of Christmas or Epiphany, the theme of sudden flight seemed appropriate given the way our college community dispersed so suddenly last term when the COVID lockdown became necessary.  Whilst we cannot presently come together to say the goodbyes we would like to in person, we look forward to welcoming back as many of you as possible as soon as we are able. In the meantime please keep in touch and be assured of our love and prayers as you move on from college to pastures new. 

I recorded this reflection using my memory of the painting I had seen in the Ashmolean Young Rembrandt exhibition and I see that I remembered the painting from 1634 rather than the version from 1627.

A Prayer for Leavers

Words based on Joshua chapter 1 verses  5-7: ‘The Lord goes before you. He will neither leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and take courage’.

Almighty God we thank you for all those who have contributed to the life of this college of St Peters. We thank you for their friendship and service and for all that they have brought to this community. We give thanks for knowledge and skills acquired and pray that you will direct their paths as they seek to use their training to foster the common good. May they know your strength in the coming days: in uncertainty give them your peace; in discouragement perseverance and may they ever give thanks for all your good gifts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


This week's remote performance is of Anton Bruckner's Locus iste

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) is best known for his lengthy, some say sprawling symphonies.  His motet Locus iste reveals him also as the perfect miniaturist.  All the same, the 48 bars of this motet convey a surprising spaciousness.

We find poise and drama, tranquility and intensity, all drawn together in masterful concision. Bruckner takes his text from the Gradual chant for the Dedication of a Church. It seems appropriate at this time, as we continue to exercise virtual worship and reflection, that we recall our places of worship, and look forward to the time when they can re-occupied. The College is also approaching its Founder’s Day Service, the occasion on which we celebrate the very stones of the College alongside its life as a prospering community. This motet will also have its place in the Founder’s Day Service.

Translation: This place was made by God, a priceless mystery; it is without reproof

This week's reflection is written by Rev Canon Geoff Maughan, who compares Rembrandt’s Annunciation (1635) with Fra Angelico’s portrayal of the Annunciation (1425-6).

Seventh Easter Reflection (Week 7 June)

The music is a remote performance of Sergej Rachmaninov's "Praise the Name of the Lord", part of the "All-Night Vigil" sequence

This week's reflection, written by Rev Dr Richard J Ounsworth OP, Fellow at Blackfriars, focuses on El Greco’s  ‘Pentecost’.

Sixth Easter Reflection (Week 31 May)

The music is a remote performance of Thomas Attwood's "Come, Holy Ghost" 

This fifth reflection considers Rembrandt's painting ‘The Ascension of Christ’, one in a series of five paintings of the Passion of Christ  commissioned from the Dutch court in about 1628 through Constantin Huygens, secretary to the Prince of Orange.

Fifth Easter Reflection (Week 24 May)

The music is the complete remote recording of Wesley's, Blessed be the God and Father

Last week's reflection focused on the tragic tale depicted in Rembrandt’s painting ‘Judas Repentant Returning Pieces of Silver’ (1629), while this week's will consider the gospel narrative that inspired Rembrandt’s ‘The Denial of St Peter’ (1660). 

Fourth Easter Reflection (Week 17 May) 

The music is the first and second parts of Wesley's, Blessed be the God and Father.

The next two reflections will focus on Rembrandt’s paintings ‘Judas Repentant Returning Pieces of Silver’ (1629) and his painting thirty or so years later, ‘The Denial of St Peter’ (1660). 

Third Easter Reflection (Week 10 May) 

The music is the first part of Wesley's, Blessed be the God and Father.

This week's reflection focuses on Rembrandt's painting ‘The Supper at Emmaus’.

Second Easter Reflection (Week 3 May)

In the final reading in our advent carol services, the Chaplain read the traditional words from the Prologue to John’s Gospel, ‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it’. The phrase encapsulates the hope at the centre of the Christian faith that God breaks into the darkness of the world in the person of Christ. 

First Easter Reflection (Week 23 April)

The music is Marenzio's Quia vidisti me.