Monday, May 30, 2016

We Will Remember Them

This anthem's text by Robert Laurence Binyon was written in 1914, following the earliest casualties in World War I.  It's part of a longer text, but this particular verse, the first written by Binyon, was set to music by English composer and choirmaster Douglas Guest in 1971. for the choir of Westminster Abbey in London.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trinity Sunday

Creator holy, merciful, and loving,
Jesus, Redeemer, ever to be worshipped,
Life-giving Spirit, Comforter most gracious,
God everlasting.

Three in a wondrous unity unbroken,
One perfect God-head, love that never faileth,
Light of the angels, succor of the needy,
Hope of all living.

All of creation serveth its creator;
Thee every creature praiseth without ceasing;
We, too, would sing the psalms of true devotion;
Hear, we beseech thee.

Great God almighty, unto thee be glory,
One in three Persons, over all exalted;
Thine, as is meet, be honor, praise, and blessing,
Now and forever.

Latin, 11th cent.; tr. Alfred E. Alston, 1903; alt.
Poitiers Antiphoner, 1746

Eight Years Ago: Lead us, great Creator, lead us

Seven Years Ago: Holy! Holy! Holy!

Six Years Ago: I bind unto myself this day

Five Years Ago: O Trinity of blessed light

Three Years Ago: Mighty Creator, merciful and tender

One Year Ago: Sound aloud our highest praises

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Feast of Pentecost

Our blest Redeemer, ere he breathed
His tender last farewell,
A Guide, a Comforter, bequeathed
With us to dwell.

She came in semblance of a dove,
With sheltering wings outspread,
The holy balm of peace and love
On earth to shed.

She came in tongues of living flame
To teach, convince, subdue,
All pow'rful as the wind she came
As viewless too.

And hers that gentle voice we hear,
Soft as the breath of ev'n,
That checks each fault, that calms each fear,
And speaks of heav’n.

Spirit of purity and grace,
Our love, we plead thee, see:
O make our hearts thy dwelling place
And worthier thee.

Harriet Auber, 1829; alt.
Edmund S. Carter, 1874

This text by Anglican hymnwriter Harriet Auber (somewhat amended here) is cited by John Julian in his Dictionary of Hymnology as one of her most well-known, and it did still appear in twentieth-century hymnals, though perhaps not as often in the present day.

The much less famous Edmund Sardinson Carter (1845-1923), another Victorian member of the clergy with musical tendencies, probably wrote more tunes than the few currently mentioned online.

Eight (Liturgical) Years Ago: Joy! because the circling year

Seven (Liturgical) Years Ago:  O prophet souls of all the years

Seven (Calendar) Years Ago: Samuel Webbe

Six (Liturgical) Years Ago: Above the starry spheres

Six (Calendar) Years Ago: Austin C. Lovelace    

Five (Liturgical) Years Ago: Hail thee, festival day

Four (Liturgical) Years Ago: Hail festal day! through every age

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: O God, the Holy Ghost

Three (Calendar) Years Ago: Samuel Webbe

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: Spirit of grace and health and pow'r

One (Liturgical) Year Ago: Come, O come, thou quick'ning Spirit

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lift Our Hearts Above

In most Christian churches, today marks the observance of the Ascension of Jesus, though technically the feast day was this past Thursday, forty days after Easter.  Most hymns for the day are written around the "lifting up" of Christ into heaven (as related in Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11), but there are other possible themes for the day as well, including the commissioning of the disciples as witnesses to the life and work of Jesus.  Today's hymn includes another possibility: the hope that we would eventually be lifted up ourselves to join Jesus and the saints.  The last stanza looks forward to next week's celebration of Pentecost.

O Christ, who hast prepared a place
For us around thy throne of grace,
We pray you, lift our hearts above,
And draw them with the cords of love.

Source of all good, thou, gracious Lord,
Art our exceeding great reward;
How transient is our present pain,
How boundless our eternal gain!

With open face and joyful heart,
We then shall see thee as thou art:
Our love shall never cease to glow,
Our praise shall never cease to flow.

Thy never-failing grace to prove,
A surety of thine endless love,
Send down thy Holy Ghost, to be
The raiser of our souls to thee.

Jean B. de Santeuil, 1686
tr. John Chandler, 1837
Tune: ILLSLEY (L.M.)
John Bishop, 1710

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

Eight (Calendar) Years Ago: How shall we praise thee, Lord of light

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

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

Four (Liturgical) Years Ago: On Olivet a little band

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: God is ascended up on high

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

Another Mothering Hymn: Like as a mother comforteth

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saint Philip and Saint James

May 1 is the feast day of Saint Philip and Saint James, two of the less well-known Apostles who are commemorated together apparently only because they were buried together in a church in Rome (though there is now some doubt about that).

Today's hymn is from the Book of Common Praise (1909), published for the Church of England in Canada.  Author William Edgar Enman (1869-1950), though born in Canada, worked for several years in U.S. publishing houses.  He wrote articles for several journals including The Living Church, an Episcopal publication (still in existence) which also published several of his hymn texts.  After returning to Canada, Enman published privately One Hundred Hymns and Sacred Lyrics (c.1945).  This book seems to be largely unknown, as only three of his texts are available on the Cyber Hymnal and

Jesus Christ, we offer highest praise to thee,
Who didst free thy people from captivity;
Sending thine apostles to convey thy grace
Unto every nation, unto every race.

Two of those apostles we remember now,
Whom thou didst so freely with thy grace endow.
Thou unto Saint Philip hast thyself revealed,
Maker, Christ, and Spirit, though in flesh concealed.

O how can we thank thee for the light conferred
By Saint James, thy servant, in his faithful word.
Like these two apostles, faithful unto death,
May we love and serve thee till our latest breath.

Make us, dear Redeemer, more and more like thee,
Be the Way to lead us over life's broad sea;
Be the Truth to light us to our home on high;
Be the Life within us that can never die.

William Edgar Enman, 1908; alt.
George Job Elvey, 1881

The final stanza incorporates the "Way and the Truth and the Life" language from John 14:6-14, one of the passages where Philip is prominent.

Unfortunately, George Elvey (1816-1893) is only known today for two familiar tunes: DIADEMATA and ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR but he wrote many more, as well as many anthems and chants for the church.

Four Years Ago: Saint Philip and Saint James

Seven Years Ago: Saint Philip and Saint James