Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Eagles' Wings Up To The Sky

As fewer and fewer churches conduct any sort of midweek services, the Thursday celebration of the Feast of the Ascension (forty days after Easter) is more and more often moved to the following Sunday (that is, today).

This text may be by Henry More (1614-1687), appearing in a collection with the very long title: Divine Hymns. Upon the Nativity, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, &c. Written By the late Reverend and Learned Dr. Henry More ... At the Request of a Person of Quality.  Some sources indicate that this was originally a German carol that was only translated by More. (The tune here, though also German, is my own choice.)

God is ascended up on high
With merry noise of trumpet’s sound,
And princely seated in the sky,
Rules over all the world around.

In human flesh and shape he went,
Adornèd with his Passion’s scars,
Which in heav'n’s sight he did present
More glorious than the glittering stars.

Lord, raise our earthly minds therefore
Up to our promised country dear,
And purify us evermore,
To fit us for those regions clear;

So we may mount to heav'n's bright hosts
On eagles’ wings up to the sky,
And be conducted to the coasts
Of everlasting bliss and joy.

Henry More, 17th cent.; alt.
Gemein­den Russ­lands, 1914

More's text was originally in twelve stanzas, but several of them are very unlikely ever to be sung again, such as these two:

Captivity he captive led, 
Triumphing o'er the pow'rs of hell, 
And struck their eyes with glory dread 
Who in the airy regions dwell. 

Let our converse be still above, 
Where Christ at thy right hand doth sit; 
And quench in us all worldly love, 
That with thy self our souls may knit.

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