Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise

We're still in the liturgical season of Easter with yet another Sunday beyond today (Easter V) before Ascension, but I know that many churches have slipped into the "General Hymns" section of their hymnals. It's not as though there aren't enough Easter hymns to sing during the season, but somehow they lose interest. You don't still have to be singing about the stone being rolled away or Mary in the garden; the resurrection theme is a broad one.

At the Lamb’s high feast we sing,
Praise victorious echoing,
Who hath washed us in the tide
Flowing from his pierc├Ęd side;
Praise we Christ, whose love divine
Gives us sacred blood for wine,
Gives us manna for the meal,
Christ, whose presence here we feel.

Where the Paschal blood is poured,
Death’s bright angel sheathes the sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal Victor, Paschal Bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.

Mighty Victor from the sky,
Hell’s fierce powers beneath thee lie;
Thou hast conquered in the fight,
Thou hast brought us life and light;
Now no more can death appall,
Now no more the grave enthrall;
Thou hast opened paradise,
And in thee thy saints shall rise.

Easter triumph, Easter joy,
Nothing now can this destroy;
From sin’s pow'r do thou set free
Souls reborn, O Christ, in thee.
Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Maker, unto thee we raise;
Risen One, all praise to thee,
With the Spirit ever be.

Latin, 1632; tr. Robert Campbell, 1849; alt.
Jakob Hintze, 1678; harm. J.S. Bach, 18th c.

(Yes, that J.S. Bach)

Back when we were working on the possibility of a denominational hymnal (see blog entry for February 5) I always knew that the title of today's entry up there was what I would like to call the finished volume. Apparently it's not even in the original text/translation of this hymn -- must be someone else's "alt." from generations past, but it was particularly appropriate for our collection which encompassed a (very) wide range of both hymns and songs. And you'll probably note that our "alt." in this hymn is quite extensive.


Dorothy said...

Thanks for a very informative blog in general and this post in particular. I wish that we didn't give up the theme of Easter so quickly. It is really our timeless theme and there is such comfort in these words.

C.W.S. said...

Thanks for stopping by!

It's still Eastertide here at C.W.S. until next Thursday, though you're right that we should be happy to sing about resurrection year-round. Even some Lenten hymns remind us of the promise of Easter in their final verses.

Come back again.