Sunday, March 6, 2016

The True Heart's Friend

The Fourth Sunday in Lent has a number of other names in various churches.  Perhaps most traditionally it's known as Laetare Sunday, the Latin word meaning 'rejoice' (which is not a sentiment one usually thinks of during Lent).  In England it is sometimes known as Mothering Sunday, because laborers were given the day off to visit their families and their 'mother churches.'  This slackening of strict Lenten observance (combined with the 'rejoicing' concept) also led to the name Refreshment Sunday.  And it's sometimes called Rose Sunday because the clergy may wear rose-colored vestments.

Spring is coming too, to which many people look forward, so this hymn combines a number of these ideas for the day.

Lift up your heads, rejoice,
Redemption draweth nigh;
Now breathes a softer air,
Now shines a milder sky;
The early trees put forth
Their new and tender leaf;
Hushed is the moaning wind
That told of winter’s grief.

Lift up your heads, rejoice,
Redemption draweth nigh;
O note the varying signs
Of earth, and air, and sky;
The God of glory comes
In gentleness and might,
To comfort and alarm,
To succor and to smite.

God comes, the world to save,
God comes, the true heart’s friend,
New gladness to begin,
And ancient wrong to end;
God comes, to fill with light
The weary waiting eye;
Lift up your heads, rejoice,
Redemption draweth nigh.

Thomas Toke Lynch, 1856
Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1872

Five Years Ago: Alleluia, song of gladness

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