Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saint MIchael and All Angels

The feast day of Saint Michael and All Angels, also known as Michaelmas, is one of the very few church feasts which is allowed to be transferred to the nearest Sunday in the Episcopal Church, so we will observe it tomorow at my chuirch with appropriate hymns, though we will not be singing this one, which I rather like, by two masters of English hymnody, Reginald Heber and Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

O Captain of God’s host, whose awesome might
Led forth to war the arm├Ęd seraphim,
And from the starry height,
Subdued in burning light,
Cast down that ancient dragon fierce and grim.

Saint Michael, Christ, we laud in solemn lays,
And all the angels of the crystal sky,
Who ’mid thy glory’s blaze
Their ceaseless anthem raise
And gird thy throne in faithful ministry.

Therefore with angels and archangels we
To thy dear love our thankful chorus raise,
And tune our songs to thee
Who art, and art to be,
And, endless as thy mercies, sound thy praise.

Reginald Heber, 1837; alt.
Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1872

The (brief) story of Saint Michael and the dragon is from Revelation 12:7-12, one of the scripture readings for the day.

P.S. The image above is from a painting fo St. Michael fighting the dragon by the fifteenth-century painter Jean Fouquet.

Four Years Ago: Saint Michael and All Angels

Three Years Ago: Saint Michael and All Angels

Two Years Ago: Saint Michael and All Angels

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Emma L. Ashford

I have written about Emma Ashford before on this date (see links below), but unfortunately have not unearthed anything new about her since.  However, in recent months a few people who are also interested in her work have visited the blog and left comments. (I now get many more readers who are searching for a particular writer or composer than those who are looking for the new material.)  One of those commenters has recorded several performances of Ashford's organ compositions and posted them on YouTube.

This is known as Emma Ashford's voluntary on Abide with me (a favorite of many), though of course it's really based on the tune EVENTIDE by composer William H. Monk rather than the text.  Chris S. performs it on a reed organ.

I have been having computer problems for a while now which have mostly curtailed posting but I hope to be back soon.

Four Years Ago: Emma L. Ashford

Two Years Ago: Emma L. Ashford 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hymns in the News

According to an article in Salt Lake City's Deseret News, a hymn was spontaneouly sung yesterday afternoon  at a meeting during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.  US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was addressing the LDS Democrats Caucus and asked the group to join him in singing Have I done any good in the world today?  While this song is apparently well known in Mormon churches, it was actually written by gospel song writer Will L. Thompson, who is best known as the writer of Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.  You will probably be able to tell that there are some similarities in the two melodies.

Here's the song performed by (who else?) the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with the text below.

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

Will L. Thompson, 19th cent.

Four Years Ago: Amy Beach

Three Years Ago: Amy Beach

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lodestone of Thy Love

It's the last unofficial weekend of summer and many churches all over will be starting their program years next week. Attendance is often down in the summer months and some people who haven't been around since June will return again. So today's hymn is a sort of gathering song for the busy times ahead as Sunday school teachers prepare to meet their classes and choirs and music directors look ahead to a busy Christmas season. 

Jesus, united by thy grace,
And each to each endeared,
With confidence we seek thy face
And know our prayer is heard.

Make us into one spirit drink;
Baptize into thy name;
And let us always kindly think,
And sweetly speak, the same.

Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other’s burdens bear;
Let all their friendly aid afford,
And feel each other’s care.

Touched by the lodestone of thy love,
Let all our hearts agree,
And ever toward each other move,
And ever move toward thee.

To thee, inseparably joined,
Let all our spirits cleave;
O may we all the loving mind,
That was in thee receive.

And when the fullest joy is given,
The same delight we prove,
In earth, till when we rise to heav'n,
Our all in all be Love.

Charles Wesley, 1742; alt.
Tune: ST. FULBERT (C.M.)
Henry J. Gauntlett, 1849

Four Years Ago: Queen Liliuokalani

Three Years Ago: Queen Liliuokalani