Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saint Luke

Today is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist. Though not one of the twelve disciples, Luke is believed to be the author of two books of the New Testament: his own Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He was a follower of Paul; he uses the word "we" in those parts of Acts that describe Paul's journeys.

Luke's writings are respected for their accuracy by many. As archaeologists and historians have discovered more about New Testament geography and custom, Luke's books have been proven correct, providing many details that would only have been noticed and recounted by someone genuinely living at that time.

Luke was a physician himself, and thus made the patron saint of physicians in some traditions. Many towns and cities across the country have a hospital or other medical facility named for St. Luke. The Order of Saint Luke the Physician, established in 1932, is an international, nondenominational Christian healing ministry.

Hymns about Luke generally describe him as a physician, and evoke a healing theme. This year we are continuing with Come sing, ye choirs exultant as we have previously used for St. Mark and St. Matthew, with a new tune.

Come sing, ye choirs exultant,
Those messengers of God,
Through whom the living Gospels
Came sounding all abroad!
In one harmonious witness
The chosen four combine,
While each his own commission
Fulfills in ev'ry line.

As, in the prophet's vision,
From out the amber flame
In form of visage diverse
Four living creatures came;
Lo, these the fourfold river
Of paradise above,
Whence flow for all earth's people
New mysteries of love.

For Luke, beloved physician,
All praise, whose Gospel shows
The healer of the nations,
And sharer of our woes.
Thy wine and oil, O Savior,
On bruised hearts come to pour,
And with thy Spirit's unction
Anoint us evermore.

Adam of St. Victor, c.1170;
tr. Jackson Mason, 1889; alt. (v 1 & 2)
Horatio Bolton Nelson, 1864; alt. (v.3)
Tune: LAUFER (
Emily S. Perkins, 1924

For more about composer Emily Perkins, tune in tomorrow (which happens to be her birthday).


Dorothy said...

Ah, St. Luke. As a graduate of St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in N.Y.C., I love the choice of hymn you made for his special day, C.W.S.

C.W.S. said...

I had forgotten that you had told us of your St. Luke connection back when we were talking about Wm. Muhlenburg, the founder of that hospital in NYC.

It was only when writing this that I finally realized why I knew of so many hospitals named for St. Luke.