Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trinity Sunday

Mighty Creator, merciful and tender;
Jesus our Savior, co-eternal reigning;
Spirit all-kindly, Advocate, Defender,
Light never waning;

Trinity sacred, Unity unshaken;
Deity perfect, giving and forgiving,
Light of the angels, Life of the forsaken,
Hope of the living;

Maker of all things, all your creatures praise you;
Lo, all things serve you through the whole creation:
Hear us, Almighty, hear us as we raise you
Heart’s adoration.

To the all-ruling Triune God be glory:
Highest and greatest, help our souls' endeavor;
We, too, would praise you, giving honor worthy
Now and forever.

Latin, 10th cent.;
tr. Percy Dearmer, 1906; alt.
French church melody; Paris Antiphoner, 1619

Four Years Ago: Holy! Holy! Holy!

Three Years Ago: I bind unto myself today

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Feast of Pentecost

Hail, festal day! through every age divine,
When God's fair grace from heav'n to earth did shine.
Lo! God the Spirit to th'apostles' hearts
This day in form of fire herself imparts.

Hail, Breath of Life! Hail, Holy Fount of Light!
Life-giving Fire of radiance ever bright!
Thou Good all good containing, Peace Divine!
Fill with thy sweetness all these hearts of thine.

Some foretaste grant us of thy secret things,
The overshadowing of angels' wings;
To love divine our lips and hearts inspire,
By flying seraph touched with altar fire.

Venantius Fortunatus, 6th cent.;
tr. Theodore A. Lacey, 1884; alt.
Tune: FIELD (
Calvin W. Laufer, 1918

This ancient hymn for the birthday of the church is is similar to one seen before heretwo years ago, but this is a different translation and musical arrangement.  As often discussed here, the concept of the Holy Spirit as female is not a modern one.

Five Years Ago: Joy! because the circling year

Fout Years Ago: O prophet souls of all the years

Three Years Ago: Above the starry spheres

Two Years Ago: Hail thee, festival day!

One Year Ago: O God, the Holy Ghost

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.

Five (Liturgical) Years Ago: Alleluia! sing to Jesus

Four (Calendar) Years Ago: Frances E. Cox

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: A hymn of glory let us sing

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: Hail the day that sees him rise

One (Liturgical) Year Ago: On Olivet, a little band

It's Also Mother's Day: Motherhood, sublime, eternal

Sunday, May 5, 2013

In New, Bright Raiment Clad

Another hymn for Rogation Sunday and a general celebration of the Eastertide themes of spring and renewal:

The glory of the spring, how sweet!
The new-born life, how glad!
What joy the happy earth to greet
In new, bright raiment clad!
Divine Redeemer, thee I bless;
I greet thy going forth;
I love thee in the loveliness
Of thy renewèd earth.

But O! these wonders of thy grace,
These nobler works of thine,
These marvels sweeter far to trace,
These new births more divine:
This new-born glow of faith so strong,
This bloom of love so fair,
This new-born ecstasy of song,
And fragrancy of prayer!

Creator Spirit, work in me
These wonders sweet of thine;
Divine Redeemer, graciously
Renew this heart of mine.
Still let new life and strength upspring,
Still let new joy be given;
And grant the glad new song to ring
Through the new earth and heaven.

Thomas Hornblower Gill, 1867
George Job Elvey, 1887

P.S. - In my church today,. one of the scripture readings included the story of Lydia (Acts 16: 11-15), which always brings to mind this hymn and the additional stanza that I once wrote for it.

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: For the beauty of the earth

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: O day of light and gladness

Four (Calendar) Years Ago: T. Tertius Noble

Four (Liturgical) Years Ago: O Jesus, crowned with all renown

Five (Cslendar) Years Ago: T. Tertius Noble