Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Baptism of Christ

If your church is not celebrating Epiphany today, they may be marking the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River (or, they might try to squeeze them both together). This story is told in Matthew 3:13-17, with Jesus' cousin John performing the rite, followed by a heavenly affirmation.

Praying by the riverside,
From the heav'n serenely wide
To thee, Savior, came the Dove,
Fullest life of peace and love.

Soft as water on the brow,
Softly, gently, comest thou,
Who hast gifts for every hour,
Endless grace and peace and power.

Faith and hope and holy love,
Fire and spirit of the Dove,
God, on this your church bestow;
Like the Savior may we grow.

Thomas T. Lynch, 19th cent. alt.
Orlando Gibbons, 1623

Thomas Toke Lynch was the controversial author of The Rivulet (1855), a collection of hymn texts which were denounced by many as insufficiently religious. This particular text must have been written later, as it does not appear in that book.

P.S. The fifteenth-century painting above is detail from The Baptism of Christ by Piero della Francesca, now held in London's National Gallery. 

Link to Compline Service with Hymns and Anthem (Peter Hallock's Baptism of Christ)

Eight (Liturgical) Years Ago: 'I come,' the great Redeemer cries

Eight (Calendar) Years Ago: Lowell Mason

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: O God, our strength in weakness

One (Calendar) Year Ago: Lowell Mason

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