Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Baptism of Christ

The Sunday after the Feast of the Epiphany sometimes commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by his cousin John, as told in Matthew 3: 13-16.  Infant or adult baptisms are often performed today in churches which mark this day, but even if there are no such celebrations the people of the congregation may renew their baptismal vows together.

O God, our strength in weakness,
We pray to you for grace,
Patience to trust your promise,
And speed to run the race;
When your baptismal waters
Were poured upon our brow,
We then were made your children
And pledged our earliest vow.

So we on earth are bless├Ęd
For we shall see the Lord,
Forever and forever,
By seraphim adored;
And we shall drink the pleasure
Such as no tongue can tell
From heav'ns clear crystal river,
And life’s eternal well.

Then sing to our Creator,
Who formed us with great love;
And sing to God the Savior
Who leads to realms above;
Sing we with saints and angels
Before the heavenly throne,
To God the Holy Spirit,
Sing to the Three in One.

Christopher Wordsworth, 1881; alt.
Tune: STOKE (
Mrs. G. E. Cole, 1889

Christopher Wordsworth wrote this text toward the end of his life, long after his major collection The Holy Year (1862).  He was Bishop of Lincoln from 1868 until his death in 1885, and apparently wrote this hymn for the handbook of the Lincoln Girls' Friendly Society.   Many of his other hymns have already appeared here (click on the tag below).

I am unable to find anything more about Mrs. G. E. Cole, whose tune first appeared in the 1889 supplement of Hymns Ancient and Modern (not even her name!).  It's likely that the initials belong to her husband.

Five Years Ago: 'I come,' the great Redeemer cries

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