Sunday, September 29, 2019

Saint Michael and All Angels

O God of all, we give thee praise,
Thanksgivings unto thee we raise,
That angel hosts thou didst create
Around thy glorious throne to wait.

They shine with light and heav’nly grace
And constantly behold thy face;
They heed thy voice, they know it well,
In godly wisdom they excel.

They never rest nor sleep as we;
Their whole delight is but to be
With Christ the Shepherd, and to keep
Thy little flock, thy lambs and sheep.

The ancient dragon is their foe;
Whose envy and whose wrath they know.
It always is his aim and pride
Thine earthly people to divide.

But watchful is the angel band
That follows Christ on every hand
To guard God's people where they go
And break the counsel of the foe.

For this, now and in days to be,
Our praise shall rise, O God, to thee,
Whom all the angel hosts adore
With grateful songs forevermore.

Philipp Melancthon, 1534
tr. Emanuel Cronenwett, 1880; alt.
Nahum Mitchell, 1816

P.S. The window above is from St Michael and All Saints Church in Herefordshire.

Eleven Years Ago: Around the throne of God

Ten Years Ago: Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright

Nine Years Ago: They are evermore around us

Seven Years Ago: O Captain of God's host

Five Years Ago: High on a hill of dazzling light

Two Years Ago: Life and strength of all thy servants

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Feast of Pentecost

O heavenly Fount of light and love,
Adoring praise to thee we pay;
Pour down, blest Spirit, from above
Fresh streams of grace this day.

At Pentecost thou camest down
As sound of rushing wind went by,
With tongues of heavenly fire to crown
That glorious company.

Thou on each new-born child of grace
Dost now in hidden power descend
To strengthen for life’s daily race,
To comfort and defend.

Thou in each meek and lowly heart,
With streams of living waters bright,
Sweet Fount of strength and gladness art,
Fresh Spring of life and light.

William Walsham How, 1871; alt.
Tune: DERRY (
John Bacchus Dykes, 1875

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

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

Nine (Liturgical) Years Ago: Above the starry spheres 

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

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

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

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

Four (Liturgical) Years Ago: Come, O come, thou quick'ning Spirit

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: Our blest Redeemer, ere he breathed

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: Come, Holy Ghost 

One (Liturgical) Year Ago: Come, Holy Ghost, my spirit fill

Sunday, April 21, 2019

All Doubt and Fear Is O'er

Awake, awake, my heart, and sing!
For Christ is ris’n today!
Behold a gleam of angel wings;
The stone is rolled away!

Awake, awake, my heart, and sing!
The gloom of death is o’er;
And Mary hastes, the news to bring,
He lives forevermore!

Awake, my heart, the morn is bright,
All doubt and fear is o’er!
For Christ is ris’n in power and might,
He lives forevermore!

Behold the joyous Easter day
That brings the news to earth
Of Easter morning far away,
When life from death had birth.

Alice J. Cleator, 1900; alt.
Tune: MAGNIFY (G.M.)
Calvin W. Laufer, 20th cent.

P.S. The fourteenth-century fresco above is from one of the chapels in the Santa Maria Novella convent in Florence. The artist Andrea da Firenze depicts scenes from the Resurrection, including the women coming to the empty tomb on the left side, and Mary's encounter with Jesus on the right.

Ten (Liturgical) Years Ago: Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Nine (Liturgical) Years Ago: The strife is o'er, the battle done

Seven (Liturgical) Years Ago: Jesus Christ is risen today

Six (Liturgical) Years Ago: Lift your voice rejoicing, Mary

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: Jesus Christ is risen today (but not the one you think!)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Gleams of Eternity Appear

As another Holy Week comes to a close...

Sunset to sunrise changes now,
For God has made the world anew;
On the Redeemer's thorn-crowned brow,
The wonders of that world we view.

E'en though the sun withholds its light
Lo! a more heav'nly lamp shines here,
And from the cross, on Calvary's height,
Gleams of eternity appear.

Here in o'erwhelming final strife
The Lord of Life has victory,
And sin is slain, and death brings life,
And earth inherits heaven's key.

Clement of Alexandria, 3rd cent.;
para. Howard Chandler Robbins, 20th. cent.; alt.
Tune: KEDRON (L.M.)
attrib. Elkanah Kelsay Dare, 19th cent.

Saint Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) was originally Titus Flavius Clemens, a Greek theologian and a convert to Christianity who became the intellectual leader of the Christian community in Alexandria. His sainthood was revoked by the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, but he remains revered in Anglicanism, as well as the Coptic and Ethiopian branches of Christianity.

Howard Chandler Robbins (1876-1952) was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1904 and served parishes in New York and New Jersey before serving as dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan from 1917-1929. Following that position, he became a professor at the (Episcopal) General Theological Seminary. He was a member and was eventually made a Fellow of the Hymn Society of America, as well as a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. He served on the committee that produced the Episcopal Hymnal 1916, and several of his hymns (including today's paraphrase) appear in the subsequent Hymnal 1940. My own particular favorite of his hymns is Put forth, O God, thy Spirit's might, for which he also composed the tune CHELSEA SQUARE, one of the finest tunes of the twentieth-century, in my opinion.

One of the earliest published American composers, Elkanah Kelsay Dare (1782-1826), was also a Presbyterian minister who was pastor of the Union Presbyterian Church in Colerain Township (now Kirkwood), Pennsylvania (his middle name is sometimes given as Kelsey). His ten hymn tunes appeared in the Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813) edited by John Wyeth.  (The most well-known tune that also appeared in that volume is NETTLETON, which everyone here has undoubtedly sung.)

P.S. - While putting this entry together, it occurred to me that the tune ST. CLEMENT is also a Long Meter tune, so I tried to match this text with that Anglican tune (suggestive of the original author) but sadly the word stresses don't line up correctly. And anyway, it appears that KEDRON is the only tune used for this text in the thirteen hymnals where it appears, as documented at, so, OK.

Eleven (Liturgical) Years Ago: O sorrow deep

Ten (Liturgical) Years Ago: All the sacrifice is ended

(Liturgical) Years Ago: When Jesus was convicted

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: Resting from his work today